Thursday, December 5, 2013
By J. Hemmerdinger firstname.lastname@example.org
PORTLAND - It's hard to find a room at Cuddledown's Portland headquarters that's free of down feathers.
Light and fluffy, they float throughout the space occupied by the Portland company, which makes high-end comforters and pillows.
Feathers even rest on the carpeted floor of the office of owner Chris Bradley.
But Bradley, who has owned Cuddledown for 23 years, said these days he interacts more with his computer than with the down feathers in his products.
"It's a whole lot of emails. (They) come at you like a firehose," he said of his work.
But there's more to Bradley's job than email.
A former Wall Street banker, Bradley, now 54, has a knack for numbers. He studiously tracks sales, revenue and other financial data, and studies the effectiveness of different marketing campaigns.
"I like to be able to quantify things, and sales are trackable," he said. "I know the costs and the gross margins and the return on investment on a granular level."
Bradley also examines the rate at which shoppers hang up on his customer service agents, or close their Internet browser, before placing an order.
"I am always looking at (operations) reports. If something looks out of whack, my response is to ask questions," he said.
As chief editor of Cuddledown's catalogs, Bradley has the final edit before the catalogs ship. (The company prints catalogs 8 times yearly and mails roughly 15 million.)
A native of Rochester, N.Y., Bradley attended Colby College in Waterville, graduating in 1978 with a degree in American studies. He then worked at Snowbird ski resort in Utah and earned an MBA at the University of Utah.
Next, Bradley embarked on a Wall Street career, taking a job in the bond trading group at Shearson Lehman Brothers. He later worked at Chase Manhattan Bank.
Bradley lived on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and later moved to a co-op home across the Hudson River in Union City, N.J.
He said the bond work was fast-paced and stressful, his days filled with many short-term projects, some lasting only hours.
He soon realized he wanted to use some of the business management skills he learned in graduate school. He was interested in branding, marketing and management.
In the late 1980s Bradley moved to Maine, where he began searching for a manufacturing company to purchase.
He settled on Cuddledown, which at the time was struggling. Over the next 23 years, Bradley said he expanded the company from 10 to 100 staffers, and increased sales 30 times.
Bradley and his wife, Matti, live in North Yarmouth and have two children.
Haven, 19, is studying literature on an ROTC scholarship at American University in Washington, D.C. After school, he'll spend four years in the Army.
Maggie, 17, is a junior at Greely High School and plays volleyball on the Maine Juniors 18 Gold travel team. The team won a tournament last weekend in Quincy, Mass.
Bradley enjoys biking and fishing. And he recently bought a new Bowtech Destroyer 340, a bow he uses to hunt deer in the Maine woods.
Jonathan Hemmerdinger can be reached at 791-6316 or: email@example.com