Cranston Launches Englebreit Collection

Carole Sloan, November 1, 2004

Cranston, the textiles division of Cranston Print Works, is launching a major home decorating fabric business with a collection by author/designer Mary Englebreit as its initial effort.

Cranston, one of the country's oldest printing businesses, “continues to look for interesting ways to bring our printing capabilities to the home furnishings market, “explained Fred Rockefeller Jr., executive vice president.

The new collection is targeted “through retail over the counter channels, but not exclusively,” Rockefeller said. “We are exploring other channels.”

As part of the expansion of its distribution in the home decorating arena, Cranston will exhibit at Showtime in High Point, N.C., in January, he added. The focus at Showtime will be a collection designed by Christopher Lowell, the TV personality who has home textiles collections at Luxury Linens and furniture at Flexsteel.

The first “home dec” collection is now being previewed with major over-the-counter retailers, concurrent with Englebreit's new book, “Home Sweet Home.”

While in-house prints are the core to the program with sailcloth, crepe and ducks as the major base cloths, “We have an eclectic fabric assortment — embroidered and transfer printed sheers, yarn dyed jacquards, matelasses, ottomans, seeksuckers, plaids, tweeds and tapestries that are being sourced,” Rockefeller related.

Price points for the sheers are $8 and $9 retail, prints are $8 to $15, and the textures are $14 to $24.

The Englebreit collection is divided into two segments: Mikaya's Rose and Oakleigh Lane, each with 11 patterns. The former has a color theme of greens with pinks and aquas, while the second features rusts, wines and golds, according to Heidi Spivak, vice president of design, who is responsible for the program.

“We had to work to create Mary the person, not her figures,” Spivak explained. “We picked signature motifs like leaves and flowers in wovens, and toned the colors down a bit from her brights in her book by layering.”

Looking beyond the Christopher Lowell collection, “We are looking at more licensees, and have some very good entries,” Spivak said.

To support the development of the home dec program, Cranston has hired Rosemary Taft as stylist for the line. Taft was with Quaker Fabric as design director for the home textiles business and earlier was director of design for Chris Stone. She reports to Diane Hunt and is based at the company's design studio in Cranston.

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