She showed me a photo gallery of their mat production in the state of Kerala, southwest India. The pictures showed coconuts being split and soaked in water, the coir removed and arranged for drying before being turned on a spinning wheel into thread that is then fed onto looms.Designs made of water-based dyes are silkscreened […]
She showed me a photo gallery of their mat production in the state of Kerala, southwest India. The pictures showed coconuts being split and soaked in water, the coir removed and arranged for drying before being turned on a spinning wheel into thread that is then fed onto looms.Designs made of water-based dyes are silkscreened on tightly woven mats. The Kalafatideses say they are committed to an environmentally sensitive process.
Entryways mats are "the best quality in the industry," said Linda Moran, owner of Hill Co., a home-goods store in Chestnut Hill. "We sell them like crazy."Molly Kirchhoff, owner of Left Bank Home stores in Lahaska and Frenchtown, said Entryways also is unrivaled among competitors in customer service.When a French vendor Kirchhoff also bought from discontinued a popular "Bonjour" mat, Entryways account manager Susan Wallace had one made for its line. "We sold the heck out of it for years," Kirchhoff said.The business was known then as Imports Unlimited and located in Branchburg, N.J. Its owner of 35 years, a native of India, was on the verge of closing when a business broker called the Kalafatideses to gauge their interest.
When they bought it in 2004, they were running an underwater construction business in Hammonton.That was not doing much to satisfy Eirini Kalafatides' creative itch. After a short career in finance in New York, the 41-year-old native of Greece had earned a certificate in image consulting from the Fashion Institute of Technology before moving with her husband, 51, a marketing professional, to South Jersey to help with the construction business.The prospect of owning a doormat business had instant appeal.
She and a staff of in-house and freelance artists have produced 180 designs.Among the most popular: Wicked Witch's Shoes, featuring a pair of curly-toed boots and black-and-white-striped leggings against an orange-and-red background. Guy fave Go Away consists of just those two words outlined in black. A total bust was the ironically named Happy Harvest mat. Designed for Thanksgiving with an overflowing cornucopia, its sales have not been bountiful.The Kalafatideses spent a week in India in 2007 interviewing potential suppliers before deciding who would replace one that had been providing mats - unreliably, the couple found - to their business under previous ownership.