When Deve Sanford’s father, Ronald, ended his career as a basketball player for the Dallas Chaparrals, San Antonio Spurs, and European league teams, he wanted to launch a candle brand from the family’s home base in Stockholm. “Everybody thought he was insane,” Sanford recalls. But the enterprise did well, and when it sold to a French fragrance company, the family launched a fragrance and beauty distribution company called Dbrand Distribution in the United Kingdom.
Sanford became vice president of business development for Dbrand, and while growing its distribution channels, she connected with Helene Åqvist, the owner of Amet & Partners, a Sweden-based company that sells custom luxury amenities to Scandinavian hotels and cruise lines around the world—everything from eye masks to robes and bedding. Sanford wanted to deploy a similar model in the U.S., so Åqvist offered her expertise as a partner and supplier, helping Sanford form her own company. “It was a logical extension of what I was doing within distribution because we already had that hospitality client,” Sanford says.
She launched Amet Hotel and Spa in 2019 in Dallas; she has lived between North Texas and Stockholm since 2004. But during COVID, Åqvist hit supply chain challenges that forced her to stop supplying within the U.S. Sanford, though, was undeterred and continued to operate her company. Sanford doubled projections for the year by temporarily branching into PPE. Her client list has grown to include many Four Seasons resorts around the world, a large part of Hyatt Brands’ portfolio, and The Thompson in Dallas. About 30 to 40 percent of clients are Dallas-based.
For each project, Sanford meets with the hotel or spa to design custom amenities, then she connects with manufacturers to produce the product en masse. She also occasioinally works with interior design teams to find furniture fixtures for new buildouts. “I can supply pretty much anything,” she says. Sanford and her 15-person remote crew work on about 30 to 50 projects at any given time. Business is booming; sales grew by roughly 80 percent in 2022, she says.
Moving forward, Sanford is focusing on doing more sustainable sourcing and expanding her roster of suppliers. “I’d like to diversify my manufacturing,” she says. “I have the intent to manufacture in South America and other places to help boost their economies.”