Giles Stewart with Jenny Bullock.
River Nile Linens has reopened its showroom in Warkworth. It’s now conveniently located between two bed shops at 8 Mill Lane, otherwise known as “sleep street”.
Wellsford’s Giles Stewart took over the business in April and his long-term goal is to make River Nile Linens New Zealand’s go-to linen brand.
He has been in the bedding industry for more than 10 years, and worked for Sleep Systems NZ as it expanded from a small family business in Ruawai to a significant wholesaler countrywide.
He says one of the biggest hurdles to buying a new bed is being unable to find linen to fit it. River Nile Linens solves this by producing custom-made linen – a service also popular among caravan and boat owners.
River Nile Linens is somewhat unique in having its manufacturing at the showroom, and customers can peek through a curtain to watch.
Giles says that in a covid-congested world, in-house manufacturing means the store is not hamstrung by when the next container of product might arrive – as long as the raw product is ordered in bulk.
River Nile Linens’ range remains consistent, stocking European bed and bathroom linens, as well as a range of throws, pillows and duvets.
Giles says the store will also start manufacturing with “100 per cent virgin” flannelette and chambray linens from next month, due to popular demand.
Chambray is a warmer winter fabric that lost popularity due to pilling. This issue has been remedied through the use of higher quality flannel.
The River Nile store has also become a showroom for Giles’ family business, Skyte Furnishings, which produces statement sofas and chairs. Skyte has been manufacturing in Wellsford for 30 years.
In the next five years, Giles would like River Nile Linens to have a dedicated manufacturing site and be retailing its product across New Zealand.
“The vision is for mom and pops across the country to be buying top-end European linen at a great price.”