Jamie and Ryan Duffield's East Grand Rapids home is getting a little bit crowded.
Filled with inventory and clothing racks, the two guest bedrooms look more like pseudo-warehouse space and the dining room has transformed into a conference room for their clothing business, Duffield Lane
, which they've operated out of their house since its late 2013 beginnings.
"I originally envisioned looking for an office space at the end of the year, but it was a necessity," says Jamie Loeks Duffield, designer and proud new tenant of 127 S. Division, which will open as the new Duffield Lane headquarters mid-May.
Jason Makowski and Mary Anne Wisinski-Rosely, brokers with the Grand Rapids-based commercial real estate firm NAI Wisinski of West Michigan
, represented Duffield Lane and landlord VandLende Lofts LLC with the signing of the lease on the 4,000-square-foot new office space.
Though it has always employed a few people part-time, Duffield Lane recently hired a new director of sales – its first full-time employee and a brand new position for the clothier, which has grown from humble beginnings in simple, classic, sleepwear designs to a line that now boasts a full inventory of timeless styles.
"What happened was that we sold it as luxury lounge wear/pajamas; it has a bit of nautical preppy look to it," says Duffield, adding that a lot of Duffield Lane's vendor retailers are located in coastal towns stretching from Palm Beach to Maine.
"People bought them to use as pajamas, but also started buying them as resort wear," she says. "They say the customer is always right and the whole idea was that the pajamas were incredibly versatile, so we kind of took that and ran with it."
She calls the look "classic with modern comforts," drawing on clean lines and solid colors to create an array of comfortable clothing, manufactured with soft, knitted, fabrics in India and Peru, and shipped directly to Duffield, who then does an inspection and inventory of every item before shipping purchases back out to customers.
Complete with a glass garage loading dock, Duffield plans to split the space at 127 S. Division into two sides – one with open shelving for easy access to inventory and the other half an office space.
"I just feel lucky we found it," says Duffield, who considered bigger warehouses located in industrial parks on the edges of town as well as smaller, more traditional office suites before having her own Goldilocks moment.
Duffield and her husband signed the lease on the new Duffield Lane headquarters just under two weeks ago, but will begin painting, installing shelving and moving furniture in on May 4. Her sights are set on a May 16 grand opening event, including a sample sale to familiarize new customers with the Duffield Lane brand.
"We're new to the area, so we're just kind of exploring a little, but I think there are a lot of new businesses opening up downtown and there's that start-up mentality here, so I'm really excited to get involved in the business community, too," she says. "Downtown Grand Rapids just gets better and better."
Written by Anya Zentmeyer, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Duffield Lane
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