Roman Inc. Christmas Decorations and Religious Goods
In operation for more than 40 years, Roman Inc. is the inspiration of Ron Jedlinski. His business was born in 1963 with $500 and an old station wagon full of inspirational products. With a family background in retailing – his father operated Roman's Art and Gift Shop – it was nearly inevitable that Jedlinski would enter the giftware field. With an office behind his father's store, Jedlinski christened his company Roman's Religious Goods in honor of his father who had given his blessing to the venture. He quickly carved his niche in the religious articles and giftware marketplace, and subsequently expanded into wedding, anniversary, baby, christening, and retirement products. As his organization grew, the company evolved into Roman Religious Goods, Inc., followed by the current Roman, Inc. The double "R" in the firm's current logo commemorates those early days.
President: Ronald T. Jedlinski
Roman, Inc. is a leading producer and exclusive distributor of more than 12,000 gifts and decorative accessories. Among the largest privately owned and operated firms in the industry, Roman offers nearly everything imaginable in Christmas decorations, including pre-lighted artificial trees and a wide range of inspirational, special occasion, and year-round giftware. In addition, Roman is known for its award-winning collections that include the Fontanini® Heirloom Nativity®, the Millenium® Collection, the Valencia™ Collection, Seraphim Classics®, and Jingle Buddies®. Roman products are sold through specialty retailers, upscale department stores, select mail-order catalogs, and gift shops.
In 1979 Roman debuted Adoration by Fra. Filippo Lippi, which was initially viewed as a religious wall plaque. Within six weeks, all 5,000 plates were sold and Roman was in the collectibles business. During this same period, Roman commissioned well-known commercial artist Frances Hook to produce artwork featuring children for figurines and plates. Within two years, her work helped Roman double its sales. Hook's protegee Abbie Williams continued the tradition of excellence at Roman and eventually designed one of Roman's all-time best-selling images, The Christening.
Fontanini Heirloom Nativity
During the company's tenure in collectibles, few lines have sustained growth like the Fontanini Heirloom Nativity, exclusively distributed by Roman since 1973. With this world-famous name in Italian craftsmanship, Jedlinski positioned Roman as the singular North American source for the sought-after collection, prized for its lifelike sculpting, meticulous hand painting and attention to detail. The Fontanini product line includes figures and accompanying structures in seven different sizes ranging from tiny miniatures to nearly life-size pieces; and a wide selection of ornaments, musicals, and other gifts featuring Fontanini art.
The Valencia Collection
Since 1980, the Valencia Collection, exclusively by Roman, Inc., has been counted among the Company's signature brands. It is crafted of glazed porcelain and hand-painted in the palest of hues. A testimony to the Company's roots in religious merchandise, Valencia includes portrayals of Jesus, biblical figures and saints. Also reflective of the organization's long history in gifts, Valencia includes a variety of themes designed meet the needs of those gift-shopping for loved ones and friends. Sculpted by Gaylord Ho, the artist responsible for the Company's Seraphim Classics Collection, the Valencia Collection has been twice honored with Collector Editions Awards of Excellence.
The Millenium Collection
In 1992 Roman, Inc. debuted the Millenium Collection, a perfect commemoration of the 2,000th anniversary of the birth and life of Jesus. Long before many of its competitors acknowledged the coming millennium, Roman partnered with Italy's Faro Studios to create Silent Night, a 2,000-piece limited edition bas-relief plate that celebrated the forthcoming momentous turn of the calendar page. The design was based on an intricately detailed silhouette by the famed Dominican Nun, Sister Mary Jean Dorcy, whose extraordinary scissor-cuttings were widely published from the 1930s through the 1970s.
Responding to the success of the first two plates, the depictions of Mary and the Infant Jesus were applied to limited edition ornaments in 1994; and in 1996, Roman invited Master Sculptor Gaylord Ho to share his gift with Millenium collectors through fully dimensional open stock figures. In 1997, the Millenium Collection entered the gift category with designs for babies and young mothers, and in 2000 it unveiled the Millenium Nativity Set. With a truly innovative design, Ho sculpted the figures so that the Baby Jesus could be positioned either in Mary's arms or in the manger. By December 31, 2000, when the brand's series of sought-after limited edition plates and ornaments came to conclusion, Millenium's Christmas designs, open edition figures, and general gifts were well established in the marketplace. Today, the Millenium Collection remains a signature brand for Roman. Faithful to its roots, the Collection's offerings are dominated by portrayals of Mary and the Baby Jesus, and include a wealth of options in the category of gifts for babies and children. It commemorates joyful occasions with a number of wedding and anniversary items, and offers comfort during difficult times with figural gifts designed as thoughtful expressions of sympathy.
The Seraphim Classics Collection
Roman introduced the Seraphim Classics Collection in 1994 shortly before a contemporary renaissance of angels in art, literature, and entertainment began. Inspired by more than 2,000 years of writings and works of art, Roman partnered with one of the industry's foremost artists, Master Sculptor Gaylord Ho, to create modern interpretations of the world's most beautiful angels. In addition to possessing an extraordinary artistic gift, Ho shares with Roman the unwavering commitment to the creation of angels whose ethereal beauty touches the furthest reaches of the imagination. The first angels created by Ho in 1994 possessed a celestial beauty never seen before, and each year the Collection reaches new heights in craftsmanship and design. Now recognized by many as the standard by which all angel designs are measured, the Seraphim Classics Collection has earned 16 of the most coveted industry awards including five Achievement Awards from the National Association of Limited Edition Dealers (NALED), eight Collector Editions' Awards of Excellence, and three Best of Show Awards from the International Collectible Exposition.
Christmas Trim and Trees
As part of the Company's constant effort to expand product selections for its customers' benefit, Roman boldly entered the dynamic Christmas decor marketplace in 1991. Creative themed collections with attractive price points have built a solid reputation for Roman in Christmas trim; and, each year the Company's Christmas brand presents over 2,000 new designs in holiday trim, ornamentation, and functional decor. Following its success with decorations, Roman introduced the latest innovations in trees and lights. Distributed by Roman and featuring the highest quality commercial components and technology, Roman Lights™ provides pre-lighted artificial trees, wreaths and garlands. The brand also presents a wide variety of illuminated offerings that include dimensional sculptures, wall and window décor, themed bubble night-lights, and light sets of nearly every description.
Expanded Product Offerings
Responding to dramatic changes in the giftware marketplace, Roman is continuously exploring new opportunities to build sales.
ColorWorks™, exclusively by Roman, Inc., offers the largest selection of solid color glass ball ornaments available. With 85 colors in nine sizes measuring from 1.25 to 7 inches in diameter, ColorWorks has something for every decorator. This includes a wealth of options in the traditional Christmas colors of red and green – 10 in red and 11 in green-- but also 13 in gold, 11 varieties of blue, 10 in pink, 10 in purple, 8 in orange, and an array of choices in silver, black, and white.
Levels of Discovery
In late 2003, Roman entered an agreement with Levels of Discovery to become their North American distributor to the gift segment. Levels of Discovery produces an extensive line of high-quality, hand-crafted wooden furniture that combines fresh colorful designs with playful themes like ballet, sports, prince/princess, and fire engines. This distributorship provides specialty gift retailers with an avenue to enter the children's furniture market within the framework of an existing supplier relationship.
With nine showrooms throughout the United States; four international showrooms in Australia, Canada, England, and Mexico; and a sales force dedicated exclusively to Roman products and retailers, the company is a shining example of the vitality of the American dream. The burgeoning business outgrew its facilities four times before establishing its current headquarters in Addison, Ill. The 525,000-square-foot facility features a 17,000-square-foot corporate showroom that showcases the entire Roman product line. Constructed in 1998 as the Company's National Distribution Center, the Addison facility was renovated in 2004 so that the entire Roman organization could be operated from a single location.
Awards and Honors
Well-respected in the giftware industry, Roman and Ron Jedlinski have garnered numerous prestigious awards. Three times in the recent past, NALED has honored Roman as the Vendor of the Year. In 2004, 2003 and 2001, the Company was selected by the association's membership of specialty retailers as the manufacturer that best served the industry by providing superior products and by responding effectively to retailers' needs. Recognizing outstanding commitment, leadership and dedication to the collectibles industry, NALED awarded a Golden Award of Honor to Ron Jedlinski in 2002.
In addition, Jedlinski was honored with the 1999 Humanitarian of the Year Award by The Sunshine Foundation®; the 1998 Illinois Family Business of the Year Award; the 1996 DuPage Businessperson of the Year Award; and, the 1995 International Collectible Exposition Achievement Award. In 1993, Jedlinski was inducted into the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame honoring the brightest and best independent business leaders in the Chicago area. Following finalist awards in 1990 and 1991 in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards program, Jedlinski garnered the 1992 "Master Entrepreneur" honor for the Illinois and Northwest Indiana area.
Beginning with one man's vision and merely a few hundred dollars, Roman has evolved into an extraordinarily successful organization. The company's innovative, high-quality designs present a diverse assortment of products that together create memorable environments with a true sense of celebration. These products paired with the enthusiastic support of dedicated personnel have allowed Roman to continue to meet and exceed customer requirements in an extremely competitive marketplace. As a result, the Company and its products are among the most highly decorated in the industry. In addition to being named NALED's Vendor of the Year in three of the last four years, Roman has, for the last six consecutive years, earned the number one ranking for its customer service from Giftbeat, a leading gift and collectibles trade publication.
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