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  • Cecile Corral

Vibrant colors 'brighten' outlook of towel sales

Year in and year out there is one tried and true fashion trend at the heart of the beach towel business, according to suppliers: A spectrum of bright, vibrant colors.

Salo Grosfeld, president of Miami-based JR United, swears by it.

"Vibrant colors are always the trend," said Grosfeld, whose newest collection includes Izod licensed designs featuring vivid colors and vintage Hawaiian and tropical themes. "If your colors aren't vibrant, no matter what the design, it won't sell. Colors that aren't vibrant don't sell. It's that simple."

New York-based Teka USA, the American division of Brazilian towel manufacturer Teka, recently produced its newest line of beach towels featuring tropical and beach looks it sees as the latest emerging trends. And yet, said Richard Rosenblum, vp of sales, the selling point has proven to be the brilliant hues.

"The most important thing is always bright colors," he acknowledged. "Every time we try something that isn't bright we never have that same success we do with those very, very intense and bright colors. They work every time, regardless of the design."

Valley Stream, NY-based The Baltic Linen Co. will be offering four new designs for yarn-dyed and jacquard beach towels. And Jo Ann Wanamaker, vp of design for bath, built the line around color.

A seasonal towel purchase should be an eye-catcher, almost an impulse buy. "You are drawn to the color or design because it looks fresh and fun," she said.

Representing "what summer stands for," Baltic's new line includes the designs Beach Picnic, Awning Stripes, Sunflower and Racer Check — all of which utilize colors "such as strawberries and cream, orange, Creamsicle and key lime, to name a few," which focus on the towels' spectrums, she said.

New York-based Terrisol Corp. is also focusing on a bright color palette for its new collection of "sophisticated beach sceneries and florals," said Eric Vergucht, executive vp and general manager.

In addition, Terrisol is also introducing larger-sized towels beyond its usual 30" x 60" dimensions for its licensed lines. The new size — 60" x 70" — is being created for Scooby Doo and Looney Tunes.

For Anderson, SC-based Santens, the new beach towel season will be all about vintage surfer looks, surfboards, hibiscuses, palms and, "of course, vibrant colors," said Jennifer Buffalo, vp of merchandising.

Cobra/Espalma, based in New York, this season divided up its newest line into five separate collections based on colors, said Rae Ellen Blum, vp and national sales manager. The five are: a graphics, modern, clear mode collection in citruses to primaries; a romantic and very sweet pastel collections in florals and country looks; a marine-themed collection featuring ships, seashells and other typical designs in classic blues and oranges and other nautical, yacht-like colors; a nostalgic collection featuring old postcards, sunsets and gingham designs in bright but faded colors; and a tropical collection of flowers, large leaves and palms in bright colors and stripes.

"I'm appealing to emotions — beach is a very emotional business because it gives you the ability to express yourself," Blum said. "I don't think there's another category out there that lets you be as outrageous or sensitive."

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