Keeco sees reward for rebuilding

Michele SanFilippo, September 1, 2003

San Francisco — During the past 18 months Keeco LLC has undergone a complete overhaul, investing $10 million-plus on its infrastructure in China and another $10 million on its U.S. operations, resulting in what will be an explosion of new product offerings at the upcoming market.

"We've spent [this time] making sure our infrastructure or foundation for growth was solid," explained president and ceo Bill Tauscher, who came aboard in spring 2002.

Keeco has literally quadrupled the amount of products in its portfolio, now offering several hundred styles of pillows and window treatments in addition to bedding and dec pillows.

The company has also tremendously expanded in the area of bedding. Where in the past it once offered a number of new quilt designs at market, now it is offering dozens of full bedding ensembles as part of its private-label business, roughly 90 percent of its mix.

Keeco has also entered the bed-in-a-bag business with prices starting at $99 and going to $159 for queen. Sheet sets or open-stock quilts retail for around $39. However, company executives stress that Keeco's focus remains on hand-crafted, hand-embellished products. "Our thrust is to be the absolute leader in the market in hand-crafted, hand-embellished products at price points that haven't existed before. This is what we think we do better than anyone else in the industry," Tauscher added.

"Everything we are doing in bedding is focused around collections that are coordinated with quilts, comforters and duvets, but also include pillows, bedskirts, shams and sheets offering a distinct color palette and style. We will be bringing dozens of these collections to market."

In terms of brand offerings, executives said B. Smith, Tracy Porter and Jonathan Adler are doing well.

"Without a doubt the brands represent three distinctly different looks," added Keeco evp Vince Tavani. "Jonathan Adler is modern contemporary, Tracy Porter is more whimsical and about layers, and B. Smith represents a more sophisticated look. The brands do a number of different things for us: create a dialogue with the retailer, provide incremental business and open the door for other opportunities."

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