Product News and Niches Abound at Mini-Market
Cecile Corral -- Gifts & Dec, February 20, 2006
HFI's Pet Bed Business Far from 'Ruff'
Just four months after adding the pet bed category to its offerings, Home Fashions International is more than tripling its category assortment, based on “more than triple” the requests from merchants.
“Interest from retailers has really ramped up -- quickly,” explained HFI vp Amy Bell. Added executive vp Neil Zuber, “We're getting it from all levels of retail: high end, catalogs, dotcom, mass, big box stores, everywhere.”
The company is seeing the category evolve from utilitarian to decorative and is creating less basic and more fashion offerings, using better fabrics and special sizes to respond to the need.
“The dogs don't care about the color, but the lady of the house is now buying these pet beds to match with the decor of their homes,” Bell said. “It's a decorative item that needs to look good in the family room and the living room.” In many cases, shoppers are buying multiple pet beds at a time, for different rooms in their homes.
HFI's pet bed business is operating “almost like a custom house,” Zuber added, with all of the special requests it is receiving from various middle- to high-end customers.
The HFI assortment includes embossed suedes, printed suedes, faux furs, “and even formal damask looks, which are getting a very nice response,” Bell remarked. Trims are also being requested more and more. All fabrics are machine-washable and the beds come with covers and inserts for easy care and cleaning.
Sizes have gone from just three basic dimensions to a range of smaller and larger sizes, running from 20-inch rounds to 36”-x-45”. Particularly popular sizes include extra-small beds for teacup-size pets. Retail price points are set to average from $29.99 to $79.99 for these pet beds.
Bardwil Debuts Lenox and Liz Holiday Collections
Bardwil Industries introduced its first Lenox holiday bath collection, which includes the line's first printed bath towel offering, titled Holiday Nouveau, splashed with glittery accents. At $12.99, this group is set to retail more aggressively than the brand's other, better towel offerings.
In Lenox bath, newness comes in the form of shower curtains, made of cotton and polyester blends, which also coordinate with the new holiday bath towels.
Bardwil's table linens division marked another first with the debut of its Liz Claiborne holiday collection, which provides several design groups – from the traditional red-and-green Lucerne paisley patterns and the Eva patchwork to the unexpected hit, Mums, a brown, ivory and russet floral pattern story.
Ahead, Bardwil will make a stronger statement with its kitchen textiles business; the emphasis will be on more fashion looks and better qualities.
Town and Country Jumps into Bed
Via a recent licensing partnership with Currier & Ives, Town and Country Living has added flannel sheet and duvet cover sets. They come currently in seven patterns, featuring plaids and wintry scenes.
Each set includes a flat sheet, a fitted sheet, two pillowcases and a duvet cover. The license also extends to bath coordinates, table linens and kitchen textiles.
Arlee Gets Cozy with Comforter Sets
Top of bed is now top of mind at Arlee Home Fashions. The company has added four-piece and seven-piece comforter sets to its ever-growing roster of home textiles categories.
All of the sets include a comforter, two shams and a dust ruffle. The seven-piece set also includes three decorative pillows. The initial line is broad in styles, including: two heat transfer, two solid colored woven chenille, two patterned woven chenille, six jacquard, and six polyester and poly-silk blend looks that are pieced and embroidered.
Retails are set to range between $60 and $80.
Creative Home gets into the holiday spirit
Creative Home Furnishings showed its first ever holiday decorative pillow line during this week's Mini-market.
The initial program comprises 20 styles, including a healthy offering of tapestries donning Christmas motifs from licensing partner Penny Lane. Other looks include velvets and ribbon treatments, as well the company's year-round red-and-gold story, which has long been a staple for the fall season.
Targeted retail customers for the holiday line are independent home furnishing stores. “We have found that there is a small niche for some fashionable, quick in-and-out Christmas pillows,” explained Toby Weinstein, vp of sales and marketing. “We just wanted to cover customers who needed a spurt of holiday to freshen up their mix without having to put out a lot.”
Creative Home Furnishings also showed some previews for April market. Texture is a focus across several design themes and groups, while color stories center on chocolate, pumpkin, corals and blue-and-green combinations.
John Ritzenthaler's Elves are Cooking with Santa
After a successful run with its Santa group the previous year in kitchen textiles, John Ritzenthaler Co. added Elf aprons and chef hats for adults and children to its holiday assortment this year. The waist-tie aprons feature an elf suit with a matching nightcap-style hat with a bell at the tip.
The Santa collection has been expanded with matching placemats, napkins and wine bags.
The company also offered a separate collection of decorative wine bags made of velvet with a velour cord tie.
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