Jeanette Lam

A former advertising executive who helped create ads for Kodak, Nestle and other global brands, Jeanette Lam says she took a look at hardwood flooring and saw something missing. “People don’t care about wearlayers or how thick it is, they want to know how it will mix and match in their home,” says Lam.

The San Francisco-based company she formed, Struxtur, is set to launch Hewn, a hardwood brand that is promising a new approach to sales and marketing. Lam says she has been influenced by the way cosmetics and other fashion-oriented products are marketed. Along with product specs, for example, a new eye-catching in-store display created by the company offers design and decorating tips, as does a label affixed to the back of the product itself.

Plans call for the new brand, which features 28 decorator colors, to be rolled out this month in California followed by other major markets including New York and Texas. To help coordinate the launch, the company hired floor covering veteran Larry Allen as national sales manager. Prior to joining Struxtur, he worked for 25-years at the distributor L.D. Brinkman.

Lam says she is not apprehensive about launching a new hardwood brand in a challenging economy. “When the market is down, that means things are more competitive. A hardwood brand that offers a meaningful difference is going to attract attention. We prepared this launch for more than a year and when we spoke to retailers and distributors they said everyone is copying one another. We are doing something unique. We feel the decisions are made at the point of sale so we are focusing on the total experience of selecting hardwood flooring.”-Al Stewart