J.R. United grows brand with new licensing alliance
Home & Textiles Today Staff -- Home Textiles Today, December 10, 2001
After spending the past 35 years as one of the industry's lowest-profile competitors in the private label business, bedding and towel manufacturer and importer J.R. United Industries is actively seeking a more prominent presence in the marketplace.
J.R. United recently embarked on a campaign to grow its "by J.R. United" label. Private label has historically been the company's primary business, representing some 80 percent of its revenue.
Helping the company boost the in-house label business and achieve its renewed focus is its recent licensing and marketing alliance with decorative pillow manufacturer Joy & Jake, also based here.
Aside from the new collections of towels and bedding the two companies will co-create as newly formed partners, Joy & Jake will also enhance J.R. United's marketing strategies to add more house brands to its roster and create a renewed product development initiative for that business.
"Branding is now going to be the main drive for our business, whereas before it was all about private label," said Salo Grosfeld, president and owner, J.R. United.
When Julio and Jaime Grosfeld, Grosfeld's father and uncle, respectively, founded J.R. United, they'd "buy sheets and towels as jobbers. But that's when there were 50 mills. Now there are only five," he said.
However, in the late 1970s, "when product started running out," Grosfeld said, "they started going overseas to fuel the growth, and they started with Brazil."
Today, J.R. United manufactures in and imports from 30 countries throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas.
"We've been making great quality items for years, but under this new focus we are looking to tie all the product together under lifestyle themes," Grosfeld explained. "We want to get that ultimate consumer and offer them all the products we make."
While Grosfeld said he wants J.R. United's house labels to develop, he is also continuing to nurture his long-time retail partnerships for private-label goods with key retail accounts.
The three house labels currently produced by J.R. United are At Home by J.R. United; Seven Days by J.R. United; and Guest House by J.R. United.
"All the product from these collections is priced mid-range at each retail level," Grosfeld said. "It isn't the top, but it isn't promotional either. It's competitive with the average goods."
Grosfeld said his goal now is to add more house brands to that list.
"We'll work with Joy & Jake to create more brands like those," Grosfeld said.
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