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Waites to launch bedding

Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, May 14, 2001

NEW YORK — Raymond Waites Designs will expand its product scope with the launch in July of a complete bedding program.

Also planned for a debut in June is Raymond Waites Interiors, a showroom/ store that will showcase the complete range of the designer's licensed products as well as one-of-a-kind items to complement his lifestyles.

The new ventures, said Waites, "come at an interesting time in design in this country — the luxurious look of mainly plains. I'm the only one staying true to my signature — vintage florals — and I'm filling a need."

As for the showroom/store, Waites said, "It has been one of my life dreams to have a place in New York to showcase the family of manufacturers who produce my designs. Having a showroom rather than a conventional retail store will let me be edgier, more adventuresome with a lot of what I call our jewelry, like our Tyndale lamps."

The store, he continued, "will be a wonderful mix of product that could only have been seen in High Point before — and we'll show everything in a very special way. It also will tell us what customers like and dislike and will make us do our design work better."

The initial bedding program features five prints, some in more than one color, on a 240-count cotton sateen stripe that is overprinted, said Michael Vidra, Waites' partner and executive vp. The sheets are solid-color stripes in eight colors in 240-count cotton and solids of 270-count cotton. A queen comforter set will retail for $199.

All the bedding is made in Israel at Offis Textiles Ltd. and imported here by Next Creations Inc., based here, which is majority-owned by Vidra.

Next Creations has third-party warehouse facilities in New Jersey for importation and billing as well as complete EDI capability.

Waites, which has products that range from decorative fabrics to wallcoverings, lamps, accessories and furniture, has had two licensee bedding programs in this country with Perfect Fit and Crown Crafts. "We decided to produce our bedding ourselves," said Vidra, who added that they "will market it on a limited basis to better stores."

The upcoming showroom will be at 51 East 10th Street in New York, "where there is a large concentration of antique shops," Vidra explained. "We had been exploring a Raymond Waites retail store, but 6,000 square feet in SoHo was just too expensive."

The 2,000-sq.-ft. store will be set up "as we are at the LaneVenture showroom in High Point, NC. No one else can show it that way. We opted to focus on a showroom for interior designers and decorators, but it also will be open to consumers," Vidra related. Some 70 percent to 75 percent of the merchandise will be from Waites' licensees and the balance will be one-of-a-kind pieces that Waites acquires around the world.

Cleveland Crosby, formerly with Pace Galleries, will run the store, Vidra added.

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