Eight years later, Cornerstone was purchased by the Home Shopping Network, where its division within HSN comprises Garnet Hill, Ballard Designs, Chasing Fireflies, Frontgate, Grandin Road, Improvements and TravelSmith. Claire Spofford, who has led Garnet Hill for almost three years, sees nothing but good things ahead for the company and the brand, which she described as premium, but accessible. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Spofford earned an MBA from Babson College but really grew up as a marketing executive with the Timberland Co., where she worked for a decade before moving to Orchard Brands, serving as president of several of its product lines. Upon arriving at Garnet Hill, Spofford said she felt that the brand had lost some of its luster by over-promoting discounts. She cut back on the multiple offers and re-focused on providing a solid product in the very demanding world of womens and childrens attire and home goods. Womens apparel is a very large industry and a very competitive industry, Spofford said during an interview on Sept. 7, adding I count ourselves lucky every day knock on wood that we continue to grow. The growth is made possible by a great product, a great brand and a great group of people who work at Garnet Hill, she said. In a crowded marketplace, Garnet Hill has an advantage over competitors in that the heritage of the brand is here in Sugar Hill and Franconia, and doesnt have to be artificially created. Although the scale is much larger than when Dowse and Kirschner owned it, Garnet Hill says it remains true to its commitment to provide high quality at a good price, ergo, value, even as it tries to increase market share. Toward that latter goal, Garnet Hill this year opened in Bridgehampton, N.Y., what is only its second retail store ever. Almost entirely an online and catalog seller, Garnet Hill also brought the tactile textile experience to customers through its mobile boutique, a shipping container transformed into a product showcase.
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