Pillowtex taps into past for new intros

Marvin Lazaro, October 28, 2002

Two of Pillowtex's newest products, a solid-color, 310-count micro-denier sheet collection and a custom-cut carpet, are taking lessons learned from already established labels.

Both products are being offered under the Fieldcrest brand.

The new 310-count micro-denier sheet is another layer in the Fieldcrest family and is constructed from 60 percent cotton and 40 percent micro polyester in approximately eight "more saturated colors with more interest," said Stacie Cronin, division vp of bed marketing. They feature a relatively simple hem treatment, although she also clarified that the final palette has not yet been set. "These take influences from what we know works in Royal Velvet," Cronin added, explaining the influence the popular RV brand had in the choice of colors for the new sheet. She also said the new 310-count was a natural step up from 250-count constructions and a better step from 270-count for retailers.

"We see ourselves moving more and more away from thread count and more toward other attributes," said Cronin. Two of the 310-count's main attributes — it is wrinkle-free and wrinkle-resistant — will be featured prominently on its packaging.

Ken Hedrick, marketing manager for fashion bedding, said the program may be offered as sets or as open stock with a twin retail lead for a set established at $29.99 or $7.99 for open stock.

The custom-cut carpet had long been established as strictly for bathroom use, but Sally Ann Jacobs, director of design for floor coverings, said Pillowtex is marketing it as multi-usage and appropriate for many other rooms.

Three tonal patterns and two solids are offered. Panama, a basketweave look, and Parquet, a tiled layout, are both solid, while Sherwood, a high/low leaf, Damask, an all-over damask look, and Spirals, a contemporary look with a slight background rib, are the tonals. Colors are "mainly warm" and consist of approximately seven traditional carpet tones such as beige, khaki and hunter. As a result of the versatility of the machinery used, Jacobs said virtually any design or pattern can be produced.

The carpets are latex-backed, all nylon, machine washable and are offered in three, pre-cut sizes — 4' x 6', 5' x 6' and 5' x 8' — and are domestically produced, leading to relatively quick shipping times. Retail prices range between $59.99 and $99.99.

"The key is that it's no longer bathroom carpeting," Jacobs said. "It's definitely meant for other rooms, and it's colored to reflect that.

"We're revisiting a product that has been proven in the past, but nobody ever thought about making it look different. It's high-value, high-performance, but it was never seen as a fashion statement. That's changing now," she said.

Packaging is being developed with two options emerging so far: a clear bag with a handle and an insert showing the versatility of the carpet or an upright, self-standing roll with labels explaining the same.

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