After 26 years, Joanne & Company, a mother- and daughter-owned business, has sold its sales rep agency to Road Runners. The mother-daughter duo also own growing jewelry brand Splendid Iris. This year they will be expanding into clothing, and with this addition felt they could not do justice to both companies.
Jamie Ehrhart and Joanne Rackow started Splendid Iris in 2010 when they could not find an affordable on-trend jewelry brand for Joanne & Company to represent. 2010 was a time when many gift stores were just starting to carry jewelry. Jamie took the lead with Splendid Iris so that Joanne could continue to build Joanne & Company and help Jamie in the background. They began with a small four-page catalog, which has grown to more than 70 pages including their newest collection, Apparel Talk, sentimental t-shirts printed in their California warehouse.
Ehrhart and Rackow are looking forward having the time to build Splendid Iris. The company’s name came from Joanne’s mother, whose middle name was Iris. She had a passion for everything beautiful, so it seemed fitting to name the company after her. Ehrhart and Rackow were raised in a wholesale/retail environment. Joanne’s parents owned two furniture showrooms in LA Mart, and her dad, just like Rackow, was once president of the LA Mart association. Ehrhart started out very young in the business and remembers sitting on the floor in the showroom using a calculator to add up purchase orders, but she officially joined her mom in 2001 and says she quickly fell in love with the business.
Road Runners currently represents Splendid Iris in their Atlanta and Dallas Showrooms. Once the decision was made to transition away from Joanne & Company, contacting Road Runners was an easy choice, as they have a similar business model. All the sales reps that cover California, Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada and parts of the Pacific Northwest will be going forward with Road Runners and most of the Joanne & Company vendors as well. This will make for an easy transition into the new year.
Ehrhart and Rackow wish Richie, Angela, Tosha and the rest of their staff the best as they take over the West Coast operation. Road Runners can be found in Las Vegas showroom C-854. All of the reps will be there in January to welcome their buyers.
Lenise Willis, editor in chief; Anne-Marie Earl, managing editor; and Alex Herring, senior editor; make up the editorial team at Gifts & Decorative Accessories. The team stays on top of the latest product trends, market debuts, consumer insights and business news in order to keep retailers up to date on what’s happening in the gift industry. With the GDA team’s reports, retailers are able to raise customer engagement, diversify their product mix and more.