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F. Schumacher signs P/Kaufmann for Waverly Fabrics

Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, October 30, 2006

The 80-plus year-old Waverly brand of decorative fabrics is being licensed to P/Kaufmann by its parent company, F. Schumacher & Co.

P/Kaufmann, a leading decorative fabrics converter, expects to conclude the long-term licensing agreement around Nov. 1, according to Ron Kaufmann, ceo. The Waverly brand will be operated separately from the other Kaufmann divisions that include P/Kaufmann, P/Kaufmann Contract, Braemore, Bloomcraft Home, Bloomcraft Home Furnishings, Folia and Clarence House. The company also has the license for Tommy Bahama Home residential fabrics and Ralph Lauren Home.

Schumacher also is the licensee for the Williamsburg Collection, which "will be sublicensed and is now in negotiation with P/Kaufmann," according to Gerald Puschel, Schumacher's president and ceo.

"We want to preserve the image of Waverly and its uniqueness and identity," explained Kaufmann. The company is planning to operate Waverly as a separate division with its own executive cadre, designers and sales staff. "It's the only true brand in the decorative fabrics industry that has any consumer recognition," he added. While Waverly will be the brand, no name has been decided yet for the division, he noted.

The company "is negotiating for someone to fill that position [the top Waverly slot], and I'll be disappointed if it doesn't happen within a week," Kaufmann related.

Waverly will perform certain functions for P/Kaufmann for a period, "whatever we need," he said, and the company is looking for additional space to house the Waverly business here. For the immediate future as well as down the road, Kaufmann said, "The two companies have a fairly good understanding of what is expected of them."

"The people at Schumacher will provide input about design," he said, but P/Kaufmann will create and direct the design activity. The Waverly archives, explained Puschel, are available to all licensees. "We will oversee design; we are responsible for maintaining the look and image of the brand." And while design and sales will shift to P/Kaufmann, Puschel emphasized, "We will retain an advertising and marketing group for Waverly."

Schumacher has an active roster of licensees for its Waverly brand, and late last year concluded a licensing agreement with Ellery Homestyles for its bedding, window treatments, and decorative pillow business. It is "seeking another partner" for its furniture license beginning in January 2007, according to Dan Bonini, president and general manager of Waverly. It has had a furniture license with Lexington Home Brands since the late 1990s, Bonini stated.

"We have positioned Waverly to focus on its core competencies of design and licensing. Partnering with P/Kaufmann for fabric is a natural extension of the licensing business model we instituted with our Waverly home fashions and wall coverings categories," noted Puschel.

All operations, design, and sales efforts for the Schumacher, Greeff, Decorator's Walk and Patterson, Flynn & Martin brands will continue to be handled by F. Schumacher.

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