The Kellogg Collection, Washington, D.C.-based retailer with stores in Maryland and Virginia, is celebrating 40 years of success as an independently owned source for furniture, accessories, rugs, lighting and interior design services.
The retailer, which received its first nomination for an ARTS Award this year, is marking the anniversary this month with new branding and a sales event. The recognition as a top furniture retailer (in the multiple locations category) comes as the retailer finds a new — and growing — customer base among design-savvy millennials, many of whom grew up in Kellogg-decorated homes and visited the store as kids, and interior designers who relied on The Kellogg Collection’s customization capabilities and stocking capacity during recent supply chain slowdowns.
In this age of social media influencers and the cultivation of personal brands, owner/founder (and former Washington, D.C., attorney) Pamela Kellogg Green prefers to stay out of the limelight, keeping the focus on her stores’ offerings and customer service, and letting those speak for themselves.
Operating from four upscale brick-and-mortar locations in Baltimore; McLean, Virginia; Richmond, Virginia; and Washington, D.C., Kellogg Collection staffers and designers specialize in customer service and product curation. Each item — from family-size sectional sofas to beeswax dinner candles — is selected for quality, workmanship and adherence to an aesthetic that blends elements of traditional English, French country and Swedish design with the comfort and convenience of modern function and innovation.
The result is a sophisticated-yet-casual, elegant-yet-livable presentation so familiar to its customer base that it’s become known as “The Kellogg Look.” Whether it’s a pair of buffet lamps or line of furniture, it’s in The Kellogg Collection because the buying team deems it to be consistent with a timeless aesthetic, reflects an informed sense of style and is versatile enough to follow its owner from urban loft to townhouse to mini-mansion to Embassy Row.
In the nation’s capital, The Kellogg Collection has become the go-to source for the powerbroker-at-home look, dressing interiors on shows like “Veep” and “House of Cards.” More recently, Kellogg products dressed the halls of (fictional) Sen. and Mrs. Dave Wallace’s home in the new novel “The Cave Dwellers,” a gossipy satire of scandal, power and privilege set among Washington’s old guard “cave dwellers” and politically powered newcomer families. When it comes to furnishing their homes, they turn to The Kellogg Collection because, as author and native Washingtonian Christina McDowell says, the brand is uniquely “Washington.”
“I remember going to the flagship store on Wisconsin Avenue as a young girl with my mom; it always felt like a big occasion,” McDowell says. “The brand defines many of the upper-crust family homes in the district: classic, traditional, warm, elegant … a collection that, if hosting politicians, foreign dignitaries or royalty, one would feel proud to have in their home.”
Whether the customer is fictional or real, long-time resident or temporary transplant, The Kellogg Collection strives to make it easy for customers to shop. Merchandise is largely presented in vignettes, and the retailer’s product presentation has become so effective, it’s not uncommon for customers to purchase entire vignettes off the floor.
The Kellogg Collection keeps a large inventory, so if product is on a salesfloor it typically can go home that day or be delivered quickly. If the customer wants a different fabric or color, it’s more than likely in stock at one of the other stores or in the retailer’s 10,000-square-foot warehouse in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
“Merchandise is distributed from our warehouse. Anyone that comes into any of the stores can buy off the floor,” says Stephanie Horan, Kellogg’s buyer. “They don’t have to special order and wait, so they can get instant gratification. We typically can get things delivered in one or two days.”
Frequent product tweaks and turns mean shoppers, even regulars, almost always find new items and vignettes to shop.
The retailer got its start in rugs. In 1982, shortly after dhurries began gracing the pages of shelter magazines as part of the “classic yet comfortable” aesthetic, Green opened the doors of The Kellogg Collection’s flagship store on Wisconsin Avenue in northwest Washington and stocked it with the area’s first dhurrie rugs. Furniture and accessories soon rounded out the offerings, and then she expanded to additional stores.
Today, each product grouping (typically consisting of a sofa or sectional, chairs, accent tables, sideboard, lamps, chandelier, mirror, art and decorative objects) is matched to a selection from the company’s collection of hand-knotted and handwoven rugs. Where the store architecture allows, the rug is hung on the wall as a space-defining backdrop to the vignette, which allows for the overall design, natural dyes, individual motifs and silky wool sheen to be viewed in their entirety.
Just as Green eschews presenting herself as the face of the company, The Kellogg Collection bucks another trend: it hasn’t embraced e-commerce and sells in-store only. But enduring customer relationships have helped the store succeed for four decades, and the retailer stays engaged with customers, primarily through email, and showcases new product daily on social media.