March 28, 2024 | Spotlights

Meganne Wecker, Skyline Furniture

by

Being Part Of The Change In The Industry

Meganne Wecker is the President of Skyline Furniture, a business that has been in her family since her grandfather founded it in 1946. She joined shortly after graduating from college and has been involved in the manufacturing and imports side of the business. In 2016, she became President, succeeding her father. Under her leadership, Meganne has transformed the company from a modest family business into a multi-million-dollar powerhouse by embracing e-commerce in the early 2000s and adopting upholstery-grade digital printing in recent years.

As a woman in a male-dominated industry, Meganne understands the importance of supporting women to ensure their ability to learn, grow, and contribute meaningfully. She is dedicated to continuing her family’s legacy of supporting women-owned businesses and sustainable practices, recognizing that there is still much work to be done

Q&A

WithIt: How did you get started in the home and furnishings industry? 

I went to school for international business and a minor in Spanish. My father was doing business in Mexico and asked me to come with him, so I started on the import side. I had a woman on the furniture side who taught me textiles. I would go with her to the textile markets and I just started gravitating towards the fabrics and the fashion side that Skyline Manufacturing in the U.S. had to offer. Our manufacturing business was very small at that point, our import business was the big side. My dad let me explore my creativity and design the showrooms with my aesthetic. I gravitated to more affordable, fashion-driven furniture options that would appeal to my peers who were transitioning into their first apartments. 

Around that time in the 2000s ecommerce started coming on the scene. We were selling to catalog businesses and those were the first retailers to go into ecommerce. We redirected the company’s focus to the online consumer, applying Skyline’s successful direct-to-consumer shipping model to the emerging world of e-commerce. The shift in strategy proved to be a winning combination. Our affordable fashion driven products appealed to the younger audience who were shopping online, and we started seeing significant growth happening on the manufacturing side. We’ve ridden a gigantic wave over the past 20 years or so. Today we have 460 people, which is a far cry from the little company I joined after school.

WithIt: What made you decide to stay with the family business? What do your days look like now? 

Looking back now, Skyline had almost a startup atmosphere, which kept me excited and challenged. We were nimble enough that I could jump into any area and try something new. Many of my college friends who had entered large corporations were experiencing financial and work related stress due to the recession at the time. The grass was not greener on the other side of the fence. At Skyline, I was learning a lot about business and the creative side of the design world, which I loved and hadn’t been exposed to in college.

WithIt: What makes you passionate about your work? 

Personally, I’m very excited to have the opportunity to work with the most creative and intelligent people in the industry. Whether it’s people from a design, retail strategy, or tech perspective, I’m continuously inspired. 

I’m also deeply passionate about our team, from the executive suites to the factory floor. To me, they are more than just colleagues; they are part of our extended family. Witnessing the growth of our company has been truly rewarding, especially knowing that the families within our organization have also benefited, alongside my own. Since our inception, we’ve employed many multi-generational families. It’s remarkable to see colleagues, some of whom I grew up with, learning from their grandparents just as I did, and now holding executive positions within our organization. The atmosphere of intergenerational collaboration is truly inspiring. I’m genuinely excited about the vibrant community and culture we’ve cultivated here.

Anything else about Skyline Furniture:

What I’m most proud of is that we’re a company with 75 years of history and yet we’re still at the forefront of the industry from a technology perspective. We’ve managed to honor our past, learn from our lessons, while adapting to innovation and embracing futuristic technology. On the sustainability front, we’re actively implementing eco-friendly practices. As a women owned business, we’re ensuring our clients recognize that point of difference and understand our unique brand story when buying our products. 

The furniture industry tends to be slow to change, and many companies are hesitant to adapt. However, change is essential, and while it may take time, I believe it benefits all of us when it happens.

How did you first get involved with WithIt? 

I was introduced by Jena Hall and Ellen Gefen – they were founding members of WithIt and mentors to me when I was starting out in the furniture industry. While there are many women in the home industry, there aren’t as many in the manufacturing side of the business. They were very influential to me growing up, and they were important advocates for women in the industry.

What are some of the things you’ve personally gotten out of your WithIt membership? 

Withit has given me a connection to more women in the manufacturing industry, which has been great because there are so few. When I was a young girl, there were a lot of “good ole boys,”  and there still is today. 

I was very underestimated coming into the industry. Everyone always looked at us like we were in this alternative furniture world. Nobody understood or cared about e-comm, and since I was a woman, we flew under the radar a lot. There are a lot of moments I look back on when women were undervalued. Making connections with other women in the industry is important, and I value those relationships even more now than ever.

Can you talk about the importance of supporting women in the home and furnishings industry? 

In our executive team, we have a good mix of genders, and supporting women continues to be a major initiative for us this year. One of our major efforts last year was to elevate more women in the factory. Historically, our factory floor has been predominantly male-dominated, especially in management roles. We’ve made concerted efforts to empower women to step into managerial and foreman positions, and are striving for a balanced company across all levels.

Beyond the walls of Skyline, we are active advocates in our industry, through organizations like WithIt, and we emphasize this commitment in our showrooms at market. It’s important to speak to the strong men who support women in the industry. I probably naively went into the industry thinking nothing could stop me and I could do whatever I wanted. I have been very fortunate to know many strong women in the industry and a lot of strong men who have supported them.

Why is that something you find important? 

I believe we still have a long way to go until our industry achieves balance. Despite the progress I’ve witnessed and experienced firsthand, there is still a way to go.

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If you’re considering WithIt membership for your professional journey, find out more about WithIt’s mission here or join today.

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