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Vendors list finds, flops

Under the backdrop of a struggling economy, vendors entered the most recent Home Textiles Market with an even stronger mandate to provide retail buyers with unique new product. The following is a look at new designs that were well-received and those that weren't.

American Blanket Corp.

John Ginn, vp, sales & marketing

HITS: "The new Cheri Blum patterns were very well received, especially Crackled Florals and Magnolia. The area rug/blanket throw ensemble concept has been very good for us. A new pattern, Matterhorn, was a market-week hit."

MISSES: "One new Cheri Blum pattern, Gardener's Shelf. The colors and shading are too difficult to properly manufacture."

Arley Corp.

Jerry Pittman, senior vp, sales and marketing

HITS: "In window, Sisal, a textural monochromatic solid; the Hollywood collection of pleated fabrics; Frida, a smocked chiffon tab top; and Crochet Insert, a piqué and crochet tier program. For bedding, engineered looks such as Jardin, Midori and Sonesta, along with the embellished style Sinclair were well received."

MISSES: "For window, Marrakesh solid and sheer, a little too much glitz. For bedding, First Blossom was a good pattern but a reach colorwise."

Aussino USA

Steve Lewis, executive vp

HITS: "Our patched chenille was very hot. We had two designs in jacquards — Kensington and Ambrosia — that were hot. They had the upscale bells and whistles at an aggressive price. Our major winner was Emma, an eyelet and embroidered comforter ensemble with mitered corners."

MISSES: "A faux suede and leather combo. It was just too pricey."

Bardwil Linens

Nancy Kristoff, president, sales and marketing

HITS: "In our Lenox additions, Provencal Garden, an engineered border print that was a direct coordinate to a new Lenox china pattern, was well received. Crochet Lace, a cotton/linen cloth with a crochet lace border insert, was a hit. In our Royal Velvet line, a Royal Velvet stripe pattern and Monarch both did well because their colors fed back to the Royal Velvet solids and were priced the same."

MISSES: "A patchwork cloth called Independence was colored in navy and ivory, and people wanted more red, white and blue. Patterns with a lot of bunnies also did not do well, like the jacquard Bunny Hop. They want eggs and flowers for spring."

Biederlack of America

Peter McCabe, executive vp

HITS: "The biggest hit was the whole Blanket a la Mode concept. It was a huge hit. The customers really got it. They liked the black and white story, the product, the differentiation, the concept of selling a blanket on a hangar. In patterned throws, the Prima group of cotton/acrylic throws really took off."

MISSES: "I didn't get the response I thought we would for the Comfort Food collection of throws."

Biltmore Blanket Co.

Tedd Smith, president

HITS: "We were thrilled by the reaction to our initial line, and we had a good reaction to our cottons and a fantastic reaction to our electric blanket."

MISSES: "We decided to withdraw a flocked blanket from the line."

Burlington Rug

Shields Smith, vp, marketing

HITS: "Our heat transfer product was very well received. A new product that combines over-tufted and heat transfer was also very well received."

MISSES: "We tried some sculpted bath product that I thought gave some neat decor options. But they got a ho-hum."

Capel Rugs

Kea Capel, director, marketing and creative services

HITS: "Our new felt and doormat items in the Colonial Williamsburg collection were very well received. Our braided rug collection called Carolina, of brightly colored knits with braided cotton knits, was also received well because it's such a departure for braided rugs and so contemporary. The one item in the collection that was a big hit was a cotton knit bordered by unbraided, undyed knit and that was reminiscent of a fisherman's sweater."

MISSES: "Our sheepskin rugs were priced too high. No one's taking risks right now, and it was a very high-end rug with very high price points."

Charles D. Owen Mfg.

David Hollowell, vp, marketing

HITS: "The Wamsutta pima cotton blanket was a big hit. And all of the bedspreads had a very strong reaction, even the little rib cord."

MISSES: "The imported matelassé coverlets. And we think that was probably because of the very strong reaction to the bedspreads."

Commonwealth Home Fashions

Barry Goodman, vp, national accounts

HITS: "Buckingham, a tapestry window and bedding program trimmed with wooden beads and a brush fringe. Great color and price points. Serenade, a silk rich window and bedding in four colorways. And Lorraine, a crushed satin in four new deep color tones.

MISSES: "Cavalier, a ribbed satin panel and scarf. It didn't fit into the mix and didn't have enough pop. And Briardale, a berber semi-sheer. There are similar looks around the market."

Creative Bath Products

Rick Lipton, national sales manager

HITS: "Cape Cod was a wonderful pattern of a variegated stripe on canvas, with ceramic accessories and woven jacquard towels, which was timely and had a strong perception of value. On the higher end, Rain, a photo-real print on extruded vinyl with accessories, did well. The new introductions of the two licensed collections of Joseph Abboud and the Hautman Series, which added the designs of Amy Hautman this market, were very well received."

MISSES: "Glisten was a sheer on an angled vertical stripe that was innovative but maybe too early."

Croscill Home

David Kahn, president, ceo

HITS: "Arabella, by far the No. 1. Bali, a tropical, and Fragrance. Arabella was this global look with a very rich, very bright pattern. Bali was on a cotton duck and we've had success with that kind of look in the past, what we call British Colonial looks. Fragrance we took to a new heights with a pleated dust ruffle."

MISSES: "Luxor was a loser. We've had some other color work done, and we're switching. We felt we could make it better so we're pulling it in that color. It was an aqua green. We're getting it into richer colors."

Croscill Home

Carl Legreca, vp, merchandising and marketing, bath products and decorative accessories

HITS: "We did very well with a bath collection called Mother of Pearl, which is a luxurious generic collection with mother of pearl inset in textured resin. Rethinking Pink, which was a bedding coordinate. Cabana, a tropical on a textured stoneware, was another one that was very strong. It coordinates to a bed. I think the texture had a lot to do with it, and the natural feeling of the material."

MISSES: "Collette and Dream. They were very saleable but not dramatic enough to be placed. When people make selections, they can only bring in only two or three new patterns."

Custom Comfort

Trevor Rabkin, co-ceo

HITS: "Cabana Linen, layered with the Cabana Stripe, was very well received due to its basic concept, with calming colors and linen texture. Palazzo was also a hit because of its good color combo (gold and lilac) and unusual lightweight jacquard surface interest. Our Don't Be Crewel pattern had incredible engraving and printing — you could not tell the crewel was printed, even standing a foot away. Our Zurich design had great color, weight and innovative crashed weave."

MISSES: "Cassina and Kaleidoscope were too juvenile."

Dan River

Lou Casali vp, sales

HITS: "The hits are Astor, Alexander Julian bed-in-a-bag ensemble, the Logan bed-in-a-bag, the Charlemagne bed-in-a-bag, Barrymore & Villeroy with a 250-count blend and the embellished Contessa in 250-count."

MISSES: "Aubrey and Kate's Bouquet in embellished 250-count and Belagio in 210-count."

Divatex Home Fashions

Ritch Yanowitz, vp

HITS: "Joseph Abboud was a huge success. All designs that were shown will be produced. We were told that this line fills a void in the market, and the unique mixture of interesting fabrics and textures on each bed was great."

MISSES: "We showed jersey throws to coordinate with our Back-to-School program, which did not work. It seems the other more decorative items such as embroidered velvet received a much better reaction."

Down Inc.

Terry McGuckin, vp, sales

HITS: "From our Anne Hathaway Collection, comforters and pillows filled with our own white down. And our Endure Pastel white down blankets made from 240-count cambric cotton with matching 2-inch satin binding available in khaki, sage, buttercream, blue frost, lilac and white."

MISSES: "Gussetted white goose down and white down pillows."

Georgia Tufters

David Record, vp, national sales manager

HITS: "Vintage Ruffle was a new look to our line of chenille bedspreads. Customers have been asking us to add ruffle to our chenille, and they liked what we did. Tiki Palms was one of several West Indies designs in our printed rug collection, which were full of palm trees and pineapples. Another hit was Allure Jr., a lower-pile version of Allure."

MISSES: "Shadings, a tonal bath rug that combined two different nylon textures. It was too subtle."

Ginsey Industries

Jeffrey Cohen, vp, sales

HITS: "We had two big hits. We had an entire department for SpongeBob Square Pants with bath, toppers, tub mats, seats and appliqués, and we're going to start shipping this month. The other big hit was printed sink mats and appliqués from our expansion into kitchen."

MISSES: "We were disappointed in our geometric bath appliqués. The novelty appliqués are going strong, but the market doesn't seem to respond to the more fashion-forward looks."

Gold Coast

Art Segal, Executive vp

HITS: "A couple of woven jacquards [in bedding] — a paisley and a contemporary — in a rayon/wool blend. Ours were priced at $59 to $60, and the designs were great, based on what people told us. The complete line of freestanding pillows did well, probably because they were 100 percent cotton velvet, 100 percent dupioni silk and 100 percent linen."

MISSES: "What was not totally accepted was our new velvet burnout throw — maybe because of the time of year."

Hollander Home Fashions

Sandy McNeil, senior vp, fashion bedding

HITS: "Our hits included Jakarta and Sturbridge in the Vendome collection; Marrakech, Mendora, Zinfandel, Brighton, Florette, and Chinese Silk in the Park Avenue collection; and the entire Nob Hill collection. The market reacted well to our new looks and tremendous value in both look and spec."

MISSES: "Our misses were Evelyn, as it really was more styled to catalog, and Chantilly lace — the colors were too fashion forward in this 'safe' environment. In Kids, all of our beds received a tremendous reaction with the exception of Emma. We don't think the puff print look translated in CAD."

Louisville Bedding Company

David Roshberg, national merchandise manager

HITS: "Our significantly expanded Latex Foam pillow presentation was very well received. The new technology in our Clusterfill mattress pads was well accepted by our customers because of its unique feel and look. Our new fashion approach to Down Comforters in Nautica was definitely a hit."

MISSES: "The 1,000-count, two-ply fabric for pillows and mattress pads. Our customers felt we had gone too far toward the top, as these products would end up being covered by lower construction sheets."

Maples Rugs

Arnie Stevens, vp

HITS: "We introduced several new groups of soft olefin products, and they were a big hit overall. People felt that the patterns in the group were really different from what is out in the market. In particular, Signature, a viney leaf design, and Glendale, an all-over geometric/floral style, were very strong."

MISSES: "Some of the more conventional patterns in soft olefin were not as well liked."

Melange Home Fashions

Scott Shafranek, national sales manager

HITS: "Our hits were our 100 percent cotton waffle blanket — it has great value and a broad color range. Our seersucker quilt with 100 percent cotton/cotton fill — people are looking for a more casual and versatile look in quilts. This contemporary look offers them an updated solid in three colors. And our Greek Key with attached jacquard border — this new addition to our luxury plaza collection can be mixed and matched with our embroidered three-stripe and silk coverlet program."

MISSES: "Chenille comforter sets. Good response but there is an over-saturation of this product in the market."

Peking Handicraft Inc.

Janie Leonard, national sales manager

HITS: "The Majesty quilt is a new embellished quilt ensemble that takes quilts to the next level. The Jacobean comforter set has beautiful embroidery in very saleable colors. The Eileen quilt is a new mid-tone coloration of amethyst and sage with great embroidery. The Newport quilt is an updated version of a crazy quilt using yarn dyes, denim, micro-suede, and appliqué."

MISSES: "Mums had too much white ground and not enough floral coverage. St. Regis also did not do well. The mauve colorway was the least important of the three jacquards we showed."

Pillowtex

Gretchen Dale, senior vp, new product design and development

HITS: "In Royal Velvet, the hits are Beijing, for its fashion styling, Victoria, for its construction and color, Trading Post, for its construction and fashion right look and Marrakesh, for its color and construction. In Fieldcrest, the hits are the Freestyle collection, which filled a missing 22- to 30-year-old void in the market with its color and fashion at good value, Beverly, for its color, and Radius, for its contemporary styling and great coloration."

MISSES: "For Royal Velvet, Cinnabar was too colorful. In Fieldcrest, the miss was Ropley. It was too high fashion."

John Ritzenthaler

Debby Stirner, director, design

HITS: "In general, our new Susan Sargent collection was very well received. In particular, the oil cloth construction was a hit because it was a customer's answer to vinyl. The Curtsey solid viscose/cotton product was also a hit because it was similar to upholstery fabric, and there's nothing out there like it."

MISSES: "In bath, we had a matelassé towel with a raised border with embroidery, in white only."

Rose Tree

Mark Rose, vp

HITS: "Lozanne, a rich multi-colored tapestry with a small chenille stripe coordinate fabrics. Moorea, a sateen with an Asian/tropical feel with a whimsical monkey motif. The pattern is accented with a palm tree coordinate and bright silk plaid. Provence, a rich two-tone damask in an updated red with gold accents printed on a jacquard. Strong acceptance of the coordinates, particularly the decorative pillows, which were highly engineered."

MISSES: "Vendome, a large-scale toile in blue and yellow with a silk plaid coordinate. Although a bold fashion statement, buyers were more reluctant about this bed because it was perceived as too cutting-edge."

S. Lichtenberg

Amy Hanlon, director, product design, soft window coverings

HITS: "Our hits were Casual Shimmer, casual combined with shimmer and texture and exquisite drapeability at a great price point; Bliss, our combination of embroidered organza and textured voile brings an element of romance and opulence to the window; and Dogwood Branches, tossed dogwood branches on a high gauge tulle-like ground."

MISSES: "Our miss was Apple Patch, a printed and embroidered tier. Tiers with dressmaker details were more favorably received and had more perceived value than the traditional embroidered tier curtains."

Sheridan Australia

Louis Smith, manager, marketing & product development

HITS: "Margaux, classic looks that will appeal for many seasons and a terrific value. Macquarie, a contemporary jacquard in neutral colorways. And Nottingham, a more masculine appeal in a master bedroom colorway."

MISSES: "Marlena, a printed floral that lacked appeal when compared next to the winners."

Sleep Innovations

Dave Stewart, executive vp, sales

HITS: "The Novagel line of bedding products was by far the shining star. Introducing a new, effective technology in toppers and pillows, the line was well received. Also well received was the Ultra line of 5-pound visco-elastic foam pillows and mattress toppers. The new molded constructions and shapes showed. The travel and leisure line of shapes were another winning group. This new approach to key comfort shapes were received with great enthusiasm. Our cotton fleece blankets, both the 220-gram and the 400-gram, were hits. The colors were right on, and the cotton fleece is a new unique look."

MISSES: "The fashion down ensembles were well received, but the limited introduction and not being a current supplier of fashion bedding hurt us in this area. In blankets, the promotional polyester fleece blankets were a miss. This style blanket is currently a price football, and there just wasn't much interest from buyers who already may have a resource or do not want to offer this type item."

Town & Country

Frank Scalice, executive vp

HITS: "In the Bath By Town and Country division, the Seychelles coordinated bath program in a botanical theme was a big hit. In our decorative pillow division, our upscale throw program was well received. In the Town and Country Living division, the new, upscale round and topper program in new constructions did well."

MISSES: "In the Town and Country Living division, the kitchen pattern Flamingo Sunset was not well received nationally."

Veratex

Dale Talbert, vp

HITS: "The hits were Bridgeport, Loggia, Minuet, Neoclassic and Corinthian. Most of the hits were more casual and contemporary than we've had in the past. Our classic looks also still sell."

MISSES: "The misses were Intermezzo and Milano."

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