In a 100-year-old former sewing factory in Perkasie, there’s a hard-working business combining creative design and local Made-in-the-USA production to make products people love.
And, thanks to the persistence, hustle and teamwork of the folks who fuel Eric & Christopher, the small business was featured on “Good Morning America’s” popular segment “GMA Deals & Steals” on July 9.
The positive spotlight from Deals & Steals host Tory Johnson turned into a windfall for Eric & Christopher, which designs and manufactures decorative pillows, tote bags, tea towels, aprons and custom and private label textile products.
Of the 37 particular SKUs Eric & Christopher offered at sale prices through the Deals & Steals segment, 83% of them sold out and the business gained new customers around the country.
“I am so incredibly proud of our team here at Eric & Christopher. They have worked so hard, and we would not have been able to agree to being on Good Morning America without them,” said Chris Kline, co-owner, Eric & Christopher.
The opportunity was a few years in the making. It started when Jenna Tucker, director of business development at Eric & Christopher, met Johnson at a trade show.
As Tucker told it, there was interest from the Deals & Steals host on featuring Eric & Christopher back then. Still, there were some snags, one being that the segment requires a certain level of inventory to be on hand that wasn’t then feasible for the small business.
Tucker didn’t give up, though. She kept the lines of communication open with Johnson and Deals & Steals, sending periodic emails and even inviting Johnson to stop by an Eric & Christopher booth at a major show. Johnson indeed stopped by with her entourage.
All that helped keep Eric & Christopher in the minds of decision-makers at Deals & Steals. And so, when the time felt right this spring, Tucker reached out in earnest about being featured.
Again, the inventory issue reared, but the Eric & Christopher crew was determined to work together to up the product levels on hand to meet the show’s requirement. A contract was signed, and the Perkasie business was in.
From there it was an exciting whirlwind – producing the products, working with a GMA vendor to build an ecommerce-enabled microsite capable of handling the anticipated crush of customers, properly allocating warehouse space and production resources, ensuring shipping partners were prepared for the expected order onslaught and much more.
“We’re a small business that employs 15 to 20 people and everyone came together ... to make a lot of product in a very short period of time so we could be ready for this,” said Tucker. “It was more than a little stressful, but it was worth it.”
On the day Eric & Christopher was to be featured on Deals & Steals, orders began pouring in even before Johnson showcased the company’s products on her segment.
“It was pretty wild,” said Tucker. “The microsite went live at 6 a.m. and as we were getting into work we saw the orders just piling up.”
Kline noted that most of the products featured on GMA were from the company’s Life Is Better Local Collection, an Eric & Christopher brand focused on creating a community allegiance to support local products and services made by local people in the community. Kline added that a portion of sales from the collection go to Fresh Artists, an arts-based nonprofit organization for children.
Founded in 2012 by two artists keen to bring their artwork and curated collections of different artists’ work to people on tangible products, Eric & Christopher’s clients include high-end retailers, independent home and gift boutiques, museum gift shops, hotels and more.
A few well-known customers are The Plaza Hotel (New York, N.Y.), Beekman 1802 (Sharon Springs, N.Y.), the Hotel del Coronado (Coronado, Calif.), Elm & Iron (Columbus, Ohio), Big Picture Farm (Townshend, Vt.) and hundreds of others.
As has happened with nearly every business in the United States, Eric & Christopher has experienced negative economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
To help combat the virus’ spread, the creative makers that power Eric & Christopher’s production used their ample talents to produce more than 10,000 face masks during Pennsylvania’s lockdown this spring. Additionally, the business is staying nimble and adapting – having recently begun selling direct-to-consumer through its website ericandchristopher.com.
“The spot on GMA was a great morale boost, and we’re just really proud of the community of creative people we’ve brought together here in Perkasie that made it possible,” said Tucker.