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Zambaiti USA Creates Mondo Cashmere with TK

Don Hogsett -- Home Textiles Today, April 17, 2006

Spartanburg, S.C. — Taking aim at the very highest end of a resurgent market for trade-up product — and margin opportunities for stores — Zambaiti USA has launched TK, a comprehensive program of cashmere products styled for the home, running the gamut from blankets, throws and infant bedding to more exotic items such as hot water bottle covers.

“The market for luxury products has grown considerably in the United States, and the home fashions market is very much trading up. So we have developed TK, Thinkashmir, an entire luxury environment for the home,” said Claudia Parati, general manager of Zambaiti USA, the American marketing arm of the diversified fabric and home furnishings producer based in Leffe, Bergamo, Italy, which has been producing textiles since shortly after World War I.

TK, Thinkashmir, takes its name from the Indian province of Kashmir, whose long-haired goats introduced the luxury fiber to the world, “and it is not about an item, but a concept, a way to decorate the entire home, from the way you sleep, to what you wear when you go to bed. It's not only what you feel, the wonderful soft and delicate texture, but it's also about the way you feel; the way you feel about your home, about yourself. It's something to make you feel really good.”

At the heart of the TK home fashions program are ultra-luxe pure cashmere blankets, including Primrose, a richly textured basketweave. Blankets come in three qualities based on weight, 260 grams per square meter, 330 and 430. “But I think 430 is maybe a little too heavy for the American market,” said Parati. Blankets carry a wholesale price, based on weight, of $400 to $600 for the all-cashmere queen.

To get the next generation off to a comfy start, there's even a TK embroidered, all-cashmere baby blanket in ivory at $110 for the 36-by-46-inch size.

And even in cashmere, there's an easy-care story: Zambaiti is marketing a machine-washable and dryable blanket in a blend of 50% cashmere, 35% lambswool and 15% acrylic. Available in three colors — ivory, sky blue and beige — the washable cashmere queen is $180, cost.

Fringed throws, including a cashmere/silk blend, come in three weights as well, 230, 280 and 360 grams per square meter, and are priced accordingly, from $150 to $220, cost.

And that's where the basics stop and the real fun begins, from cashmere PJs to cashmere knitted socks, robes, kimonos and even a cashmere travel kit for first-class travelers.

Zambaiti's 100% cashmere robes are available in three women's sizes, small, medium and large; and three men's sizes, medium, large and extra large; prices range from $290 to $350.

For really cold nights, there's always the cashmere hot water bottle cover. It comes in a sweater-look cable knit, and it's available in two colors, natural and taupe. It's $100 and comes equipped with the hot water bottle. “And you can't believe how difficult it is to find the hot water bottle,” Claudia laughed. “We had to look everywhere. Who would have thought it's not so easy!”

For those who still can't get enough cashmere, there are scarves, caps, gloves and even socks, said Parati. “I told you, the TK collection is about feeling really, really good. Inside, outside, everywhere,” she laughs. The cap and scarf are $80; gloves are $40; and the socks (but first trim those toenails) are $40 a pair. They're all available in taupe and ivory.

For those who travel, and whose part-time home is the first-class cabin in a 747, Zambaiti has something for them as well: a cashmere travel kit. After all, who wants to look like the chumps stuck in the back of the plane? The travel kit features a 60-by-70-inch pure cashmere travel blanket, a cashmere cushion cover, a cashmere eye mask and a cashmere bag to hold it all. The wholesale price is about $125.

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