Business profile: Dot Ensley

Posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2000

Dot Ensley, Co-owner, Klondike Down Factory Outlet.

Title and firm: Co-owner, Klondike Down Factory Outlet.

Products, services: Dot Ensley, who owns the business with her husband, Les, bills the bedding products store as Alaska's only down factory outlet. Opened in early 1998, Klondike Down has a wide variety of down comforters and pillows, handmade quilts, linens, lace curtains and tablecloths, and handcrafted brass and iron beds. Many of the comforters and pillows are made at a factory in the Mendenhall Valley, often to customers' specifications. Ensley said the store is developing its own trademark designs, including a ``his-and-her'' comforter that is seamed in the middle and packed heavy on one side and light on the other for couples with different temperature preferences. She also will make inexpensive pillows out of down removed from old sleeping bags and comforters. Ensley tries out most of her products herself at home.

Suppliers: Down Lite International, Heritage Lace and Brass Beds of Virginia.

Notable: When Klondike Down opened, all of its merchandise was shipped in. Now, about 50 percent is made in Juneau, Ensley said.

Most unusual request: A hunter brought in two bags of raw goose down, which Ensley cleaned and used to make him a comforter.

Biographical information: Ensley, 45, is from the Polson, Mont., area, near Glacier Mountain National Park. She worked in finance, accounting and banking before doing a 10-year stint with ``an entrepreneur extraordinaire'' who ran a down factory outlet there. Her husband, a construction superintendent who grew up in Juneau, convinced her to move here three years ago.

Family: The Ensleys have a 12-year-old, Kody, in Juneau, and grown children and grandchildren in Montana.

Quotable: ``My husband never knows what he's crawling into at night. It's important to me, if I get something new, to get it in bed and see what it's like after it's laundered.''

Business tip: Ensley says that people thinking about going into business for themselves should take their estimates of necessary capital and personal energy and double them.

Contact information: 586-4711, 159 S. Franklin, www.klondikedown.com.



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