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Pem America adds Jenny McCarthy, Laura Ashley Licenses

NEW YORK - Business is good at Pem America, according to Keith Schneider, senior vice president for the bedding producer, especially in the baby and kids areas where the company has placed its most serious emphasis over the past year.
     "We are on fire," Schneider said. "We have doubled our business every year for the last five years, and have grown substantially in the baby and kids categories."
     Schneider credits the company's success to being in the right place at the right time - in terms of fashion, price point and materials. "In the tough times, people wanted the fashion, the fabrication and the value," he said. "As a company, we are representative of all of those. We offer a good product at a fair price that allows retailers to maintain or increase their margins."
     To continue the growth trajectory, Pem is now looking to several new licensed collections: Laura Ashley, Too Good by Jenny McCarthy and Disney.
     At this month's ABC Expo, Pem will unveil its two Laura Ashley Collections, Love and Sweet Violet. The designs were inspired by the Laura Ashley archives, including actual vintage wallpapers and table linens from the brand's collections.
     "The designs evolved out of real Laura Ashley art," Schneider said. "We added tons of appliqué and embroidery to make it represent great, great value for the consumer - and we didn't charge for it." A six-piece crib set will retail around $180, he said.
     The Jenny McCarthy collection stemmed from seeking a licensor that offered a "lifestyle brand that young mothers would trust," Schneider said.
     McCarthy attended last year's ABC Expo to hold one-on-one meetings with retailers to find out exactly what they are looking for, then she and Pem spent the last year creating the Too Good Collection to meet those requirements.
     The key points of emphasis for the line are safety, fashion and eco-consciousness.
     Only cotton is used on any of the facing materials, and the sheets are 200 thread count. A five-piece set with a reversible bumper retails for $99, while a nine-piece set will sell for $179.
     "Jenny wants to represent value," Schneider said. "Because she believes everybody should be able to able to put their babies and infants in safe bedding."
     A portion of the proceeds from the Too Good line go to Generation Rescue, McCarthy's autism support charity, as well as the JPMA's Safe Sleep Campaign.
     "Jenny has been very involved," Schneider said. "She wants to understand it and she wants to talk about it. She loves fashion, but she really wants to create a safer sleeping environment." The packaging is made using ecologically responsible products, including bags are made of PEVA rather than PVC, as well as FSC-certified paper.
     Pem is also taking on some Disney designs - Pooh and Mickey Mouse - with an eye toward specialty retailers. The line includes gift sets and crib bedding. "We were asked to create better product at a higher standard, and not to make it focused on cost," Schneider said. "We wanted to lift the quality so that the consumer could see - in terms of good, better, best - that we are closer to best."
     All of the licensed designs are debuting in Las Vegas this month, and all are available for immediate delivery. Pem's booth location at ABC is 3423.

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