|This article does not cite any references or sources. (July 2014)|
Kravet Inc. () is a privately held, fourth-generation American family business that services the interior design trade exclusively. Founded in New York City as a small decorative trimmings store in 1918, the company now has over thirty showrooms in the U.S. and Canada as well as warehouses and offices in Bethpage, New York and Anderson, South Carolina. Kravet continues to expand its showroom network with the 2009 addition of a new showroom in Stamford, Conn. To service the needs of overseas markets, the company also maintains offices and a distribution warehouse in Poole, UK. Today Kravet provides furniture, carpets, furnishings and the widest range of fabrics in the interior design industry.
From Apparel to Trimmings: 1903-1918
Samuel Kravet immigrated from Grodna, Russia to the United States in 1903 as an accomplished tailor, and he immediately began supplying tailored apparel to an upscale clientele in the New York metropolitan area. Recognizing in his clients a desire for interior design assistance as well, he began fashioning decorative trimmings such as tie-backs and tassels, which he would offer when he made house calls. With this subtle shift from the design of apparel to the design of interior design products, Samuel Kravet participated in the historical development of a then emerging interior design industry. His craftsmanship as a tailor and his skill with textiles are important hallmarks of Kravet Inc. today.
From House Calls to Store Fronts: 1918-1938
In 1918, Samuel Kravet opened a small trimmings store on Norfolk Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. In 1923, his four sons – Morris, Sam, Sol, and Hy – joined the business. They relocated to E. 21st St. and changed the company’s name to S. Kravet & Sons. In 1924, they began offering decorative fabrics.
From Business-to-Consumer to Business-to-Business: 1938-1991
While the craft of furniture and textile making and the art of interior decoration (now often referred to as interior design) have been around for centuries, the notion of the interior design professional only began to emerge in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Before then, interior design had largely been the role of upholsterers and architects. Yet the affluence of ‘the American Century’ and the growth of the middle and upper classes broadened the base of those willing to hire professional designers.
In response to these developments, S. Kravet & Sons relocated to 38 E. 30th St. and began selling to the interior design trade exclusively. The business grew quickly. In 1952, the company relocated to 104 E. 25th St. where it would have new offices as well as a warehouse for the storage and preparation of product. In the 1960s, the company changed its name to Kravet Fabrics, Inc. and expanded once again, this time moving to a larger warehouse and office facility in Woodbury, Long Island, New York. The company began exporting in 1965 and establishing showrooms nationwide in 1970. Further expansions to Anderson, South Carolina and Canada followed.
After years of supplying interior designers with the widest range of fabrics and trimmings in the industry, Kravet decided to expand its product offerings to include furniture in 1991, carpet in 2005, and lighting in 2007. It also acquired Lee Jofa in 1995 and GP & J Baker in 2001. To encompass this broader offering of products, in 2002 the company changed its name to Kravet Inc. In 2011, Kravet acquired Brunschwig & Fils.
Kravet’s high-end licensing division, Kravet Collections, began in 1993, as a way of showcasing the unique talents of certain gifted designers as well as the unique design accents of famous locations, lifestyles and brands. The Mark Hampton Fabric and Trimmings collections were the first license to join the Kravet family. Its success has brought forth numerous other licensed collections. These include fabric, carpet and trimmings collections created by taste-making interior designers such as Alexa Hampton, Barbara Barry, Michael Weiss, Vicente Wolf, Candice Olson, Michael Berman, Windsor Smith, and Barclay Butera as well as collections inspired by fashion brands such as Echo Design, Joseph Abboud, Calvin Klein Home and Thom Filicia.