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Natori Expands with New Program

The Natori Co. will make a two-pronged expansion in its home furnishings activities with the launch this fall of N Natori, a diffusion brand, derivative of its luxury Natori Home Collection, and making a major entry into non-textiles products that include decorative area rugs, decorative room accessories, accent and occasional furniture and decorative table and floor lighting, scheduled to launch in fall 2011.

The introduction of N Natori, the bedding brand, follows by a month the introduction of N Natori for sleepwear. Both lines are set for retail launches in the fall.

N Natori bedding will be produced under the same licensing arrangement that the designer brand has with JLA Home, and includes seven bedding ensembles that will retail from $129.99 to $179.99 for the queen duvet set.

“I'm very excited to extend our brand in home furnishings to penetrate distribution to a wider audience,” said Josie Natori, founder and ceo of Natori Co. “My N Natori vision is a concept of living. We need to make it work in order to expand it eventually beyond home textiles. But first we need to penetrate in home textiles.”

Natori added, “In three years [of having a home collection] we have a foothold in the high end, and to be able to get response at retail in the last three years was difficult.

“With N Natori we will be able to penetrate more doors in the stores we're in already,” she said.

“At this rate, since the launch we've exceeded our sales and profit goals, and at this new level we will expand to the B and C doors — and there will be a differentiation between the two collections,” noted Scott Howard, vp, JLA Home.

For N Natori, “the whole merchandising concept is totally different. We're selling sets to our current distribution,” added James Booth, svp, Natori Co. As an example, he cited Edo Festival, ”where we exploded the obi section of the design.”

Added Natori, “It was very important to maintain the Natori integrity in design and added enhancements like enormous repeats and sheets with embroidered cuffs.”

The N Natori beds will be oversized, with no compromising on the cotton print quality, Howard emphasized. “Basically it will be the same marketing effort.”

The marketing, Booth explained, “is very important because it will include the viral marketing of Twitter and Facebook. Josie will have blogger events. We've already had 32 bloggers at Josie's apartment.”

The N Natori bedding collection continues the East-West mix of color and print that she is known for. Comforter sets will retail for $249.99 to $299.99 for the queen. A full N Natori ensemble in the queen size with accessories will retail from $499 to $600.

The seven beds include Origami Pleats, which highlights a pleated central panel of the bed accented with a ribbon trim and paired with 300-count cotton sateen sheets. Two colorways are featured: black and plum and chili pepper and mango. Samarkand is an engineered print on 300-count cotton sateen with motifs taken from the traditional nomadic embroideries and appliqués of the Silk Road. Empress Floral is inspired by the Empress tea ceremony with quiet floral embroidery accents.

Maru Obi is an interpretation of the most luxurious obi design and features a metallic cotton/linen blend comforter with euros that are printed and embroidered with imperial court motifs. Benaris is inspired by India's ancient city with a woven stripe and jacquard ribbon borders and embroidery. Toruk, a dragon motif iconic to the Natori design statement, is an engineered print on cotton sateen .

Looking ahead to fall 2011, Natori emphasized that “home always has been a passion of mine, and I believe that Natori is a total concept in home as it is in ready-to-wear. Retailers have been encouraging us to move in this direction.”

Gifts will be a key element in the merchandise, packaging and presentation whether for oneself, for one's home or for others, Booth explained. “She's working from the concept of 50 main style concepts with the bulk in room accessories — and that would include textiles like bed shawls, throws and wall hangings. The textiles are the foundation for this.” As an example, he pointed to embroidery patterns that translate to lacquer trays.

As to how the Natori Home Collection will differ from the broad range product mix at JLA Home, Jin commented: “This will be entirely different. Josie has a signature look; our look is more relaxed casual.”

Materials in the Natori Home Collection will include lacquer, ceramics, porcelain, wood, bamboo, metal and glass. Target retails will be $850 to $5000 for the rugs; decorative accessories from $75 to $850; accent and occasional furniture $299 to $5000 and decorative table and floor lighting $299 to $2500.

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