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Venus Hits The Beach, Martineau To Lead

Foot Hill Ranch, Calif. —Having recently established partnerships with three towel mills in India, bedding and bath company Venus Home — a longtime manufacturer and supplier of sheets and bath towels for all classes of trade — is adding beach towels to its roster of offerings.

“(The three towel mills in India have) tons of capacity, so we decided we could handle a big new category easily,” said Vivie von Walstrom, Venus' director of design and marketing. “Beach towels are a natural for us to get into.”

To spearhead this new division, the company has appointed 28-year beach towel industry veteran Larry Martineau.

Most recently, Martineau worked for Miami-based J.R. United as its national sales manager. But he spent most of his career with Hilasal — from 1977 (when he joined as its national sales manager) through 2002 (when he was its president of its retail division). He left the company that year upon its sale to Brumlow Home.

“(Martineau) will be working with me on the designing and merchandising of the line, and he'll be heading the beach line sales effort,” von Walstrom said.

Venus is also in the process of hiring two specialist beach designers who have previously worked with Martineau.

Previews of the new line are slated for February during the mini-market in New York, with a formal introduction set for April.

The line will comprise 16 designs in a 34-by-64 size and 10 to 12 designs in a 40-by-70 size. Initially, only jacquards will make up the line, Martineau said.

“We're not going into prints yet because our facilities in India only make jacquards, and we want our customers to know they are buying direct from us,” he explained. “Venus has it all in place. It has its sourcing in the right spot; it has the production capability and can control it, which is why we want everything done in-house.”

In the future, he added, Venus' towel business will likely include prints, as well as licensed collections.

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