Waverly adds channel with LNT partnership
September 16, 2002-- Home Textiles Today,
Having inked a major marketing deal last week — its second such retail pact — Waverly Home Fashions is still interested in forming more retail partnerships.
According to Dale Williams, president and general manager of the Waverly Lifestyle Group, the two retail partnerships — with Target Stores and now Linens 'n Things — have increased the company's brand awareness and "created a solid point of contact between us and consumers." The relationship has been so beneficial that Waverly continues to explore more of them, albeit not with a blind eye.
"We are interested in establishing more partnerships, whether they are aligned by channel, geographically or internationally," Williams said, since they "reinforce the image that Waverly is a multi-channel company."
Williams said many major companies offer "a portfolio of labels and names" rather than a truly coordinated lifestyle statement. Waverly's mission regarding that, he said, is to make sure its product is convenient, accessible and part of a well-priced, multi-channel assortment.
Carolyn D'Angelo, vp of marketing and licensing, added the caveat: "We are very cautious about who we select as a retail partner. The partnership has to be the right one for us."
Waverly's new agreement with specialty chain Linens 'n Things encompasses fully coordinated bedding, bath items, soft window treatments, decorative pillows, table linens and area rugs as well as dinnerware, kitchen products and window hardware, all inspired by Waverly's extensive fabric archive. The program, exclusive to LNT, is hitting shelves next month.
The agreement with LNT is Waverly's second with a major retailer in as many years. In 2001, Waverly launched a major program with discount chain Target that has since expanded from bed and bath into kitchen textiles and tabletop, window treatments and slipcovers.
"All of our agreements are complementary. We have a robust open line that springs from the fabric collection and licensing agreements that leverage that strength," Williams said, adding that, like UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, he is "a dedicated multi-lateralist."
Traditionally, Waverly had been known for its extremely strong presence with small, independent shops, many of which boasted Waverly Place shops. When Waverly announced its marketing deal with Target, the reaction from those shops was vocal and initially negative.
D'Angelo told HTT the image surrounding the Target deal has since changed as the small retailers began to benefit from the added exposure of the Waverly name. The LNT deal, D'Angelo said, adds to that exposure even more "since our brand name is going to be out in the forefront because of our relations with these key partners."
Said Audrey Schlaepfer, chief merchandising officer for LNT, "We are thrilled to be working with such a prestigious design resource. Waverly is a strong, well-established brand with an excellent reputation for quality. We will offer a complete range of coordinated product, detailed in a way that can only be found at Linens 'n Things. The new Waverly collection at Linens 'n Things will give our customers even more decorating options to fit their lifestyle." Schlaepfer also told HTT that certain patterns would go across every category.
Although Schlaepfer declined to give price points, she did say the Waverly assortment would not be merchandised as a "shop within a shop" but spread throughout the floor. "As a category merchant, that's really the only thing that makes sense."
Waverly also unveiled its latest products for October market. In addition to a wide array of new curtains, valances and valance shapes and four new bedding ensembles, each with patterns taken from its fabric library, Waverly will debut an innovative French door blind panel that is self-lined and uses Velcro to affix to the door. A new take on the priscilla curtain, called an edged curtain, also takes the stage with a slightly more tailored look and the option of pleats or ruffles running along the side.
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