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HSN signs new trend expert

Cecile Corral, John Frantz -- Home Textiles Today, March 22, 2004

Television and Internet retailer HSN (Home Shopping Network) has signed on Kea Capel Meachum as its trend expert for home goods, with the first of eight live televised segments for this year to run later this month.

"We have developed a new vision for home, and Kea is a piece of that," said Cassie Jones, HSN's vice president of merchandising for home soft lines. "She has that warmth and sophistication our customer is looking for."

Jones said Meachum's appointment comes as part of the retailer's new goal to restructure its home goods lineup into three lifestyle programs that are poised to better promote HSN's home product lines.

"We see there is a lot of excitement emerging, specifically on TV, on how to talk to customers and help explain to them how they can really — on their own — create excitement in the home and recreate looks they see in magazines," Jones said. "Our goal is to bring that to them and make it affordable."

HSN's three new lifestyle programs are: Highgate Manor, aimed at the high-end customer seeking opulent and luxury goods; Oakcreek Home, for customers who like casual and functional but stylish cottage-like looks; and South Street Loft, which caters to shoppers who want contemporary, understated and clean designs for the home.

These lifestyle programs will begin airing March 26 when Meachum will appear for the first time to discuss the vintage-look trend for the Oakcreek Home lifestyle program. By August, when they are expected to complete rolling out, each lifestyle program will encompass bedding, bath, decorative pillows, throws, rugs, table linens, some furniture pieces, lighting and dinnerware.

"Each lifestyle also has its own separate color palette that transitions from the first half of the year into the second half of the year, but it all is designed to work back together," Jones added.

Highgate Manor and Oakcreek Home, which Jones said cater to broader audiences, are scheduled to air 10 to 12 segments this year. South Street Loft, which serves a more niche customer base, will air six to eight times this year.

Meachum will be featured as a guest on eight of these lifestyle programs — four trends per year, each of which will be aired twice — to give customers trend advice on décor "and teach them how to do fun things to spice up their homes," Jones said. HSN will include in each program's product mix some Kea-branded items that Meachum said she will market on the shows as "unusual finds."

"I'm there to help give soul to the product, to help consumers understand the products and to help them make that emotional connection with the products HSN is showing," said Meachum.

Meachum's products — all of which are exclusively distributed by Homemaker Industries, based in New York — will also be featured on other unrelated segments, like shows about specific product categories, Jones explained.

"We'll also air classification shows that don't necessarily tie back to our lifestyle programs, for example, a rug show, and we'll ask her to be a guest on that," Jones said. "(This partnership) works for (Meachum) because she'll be able to develop customer loyalty herself."

Meachum, who started her career designing indoor and outdoor accent and area rugs at her family's company, Capel Inc. in Troy, N.C., said she and her partner Homemaker are expanding her brand into new product categories.

Later this month, she will launch a new line of table linens at the New York Home Textiles Market. HSN will soon debut her new scented oil-based decorative fragrance vases for the home and her soft window treatments. She said she is also looking to build her brand with bath rugs and bedding in the near future.

Jones said HSN's lifestyle programs will evolve in 2005, and the plan is work closely with Meachum to help the retailer develop new models.

Aside from its lifestyle programs, HSN is also working to restructure its product category shows for home products.

"In between our lifestyle programs and trends, we'll focus on our strong classification businesses," said Jones, who added that HSN's strongest selling home product categories are bedding goods, lighting and rugs.

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