Famous Home enters licensing fray

Marvin Lazaro, March 11, 2002

NEW YORK – After years of relying solely on its in-house designs, Famous Home Fashions is venturing into the licensing arena.

Designers Donna Gorman and Mette Ditmer have both signed on with Famous Home, each for her own signature line of bath accessories.

"It's no hidden secret that retailers have shown a lot of interest in brand recognition for licenses," said Barry Samberg, president of Famous Home Fashions. "And we're leveraging off of the licensors' strength of their brand.

"We cover a lot of categories in terms of design, from contemporary to traditional, really well," Samberg continued. "But both of [the new licenses] bring a completely different look to us that we don't have in the marketplace."

The Gorman lineup will feature her distinctive use of bright, fun colors, which are very "vibrant, lively, updated and trendy," on bath accessories and shower curtains. The accessories, Samberg said, will be sourced from overseas, while the origin of the curtains hasn't been determined. Product will be aimed at discounters, specialty chains and department stores. Gorman also has a licensing agreement with the Greensboro, NC-based Bacova for rugs.

Since the agreement was only recently signed, the line of Gorman signature products will have a soft unveiling during the April market. A fall shipping date is expected, however.

Joining Gorman under the Famous Home banner will be Mette Ditmer, a Danish-based designer who has home textiles experience in Europe.

"She brings us a very clean, contemporary look," said Samberg. "Her lines are very straight and have a very Zen feeling.

"I saw her stuff during Heimtex and I liked it," said Samberg. He added that, despite her relative anonymity in the United States, he was confident Famous Home could build her brand recognition successfully.

Like Gorman, Ditmer will have a complete line of bath accessories and shower curtains. The line is targeted toward specialty retailers and department stores. Unlike Gorman, Famous will show product during the spring market with an expected fall shipping date.

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