Waverly Inks Major License with Ellery

Gary Evans, Carole Sloan, January 9, 2006

New York — Waverly has signed a long-term licensing agreement with Ellery Home Brands Co., an affiliate of Ellery Homestyles, to manufacture Waverly-branded home fashions products including bedding, window treatments and other categories.

Ellery will utilize the design archives of Waverly, a division of F. Schumacher & Co. Until now, Waverly has produced many products through its own facilities and outside suppliers. The home fashions business now will be converted to a licensing model with Ellery using its expertise in sourcing and execution “to further increase the multi-channel distribution of the business,” the companies said in a statement.

“I'm a great believer in the Waverly brand and its potential. It's irreplaceable and I'm tickled pink to have the opportunity to grow it,” said Budd Goldman, a principal of Ellery. He added, “There is a certain recognition and emotional attachment to Waverly products that is unsurpassed by any other home furnishings brand.”

Acknowledging the broad distribution that had been a hallmark of the Waverly program, Goldman said that in addition to the major retailers who are now key clients, he plans an open line to launch in the fall targeted to the independent specialty retailers and regional chains. “We definitely want them to partake in what Waverly represents.”

Goldman, noting that he built Ellery into a $100-million company in five years, said, “In today's market, you have to make very fast decisions in the sandbox we play in. We have a well-built-up international structure. First we'll evaluate what the business is, and then quickly move to what it could be. The strategy is a win, win, win.”

The agreement, which runs in excess of 10 years according to Gerald Puschel, president of F. Schumacher, will allow Ellery to produce decorative pillows, decorative throws and slipcovers as well. Puschel noted, “Our home fashions business has grown to the point where it is beneficial to bring on a partner to allow us additional opportunities in the finished product arena.”

In December 2004, the company announced its intention to seek a partner in production, distribution and sales, retaining its strengths in design and marketing. At the time, Raymond Chevallier, executive vice president, chief financial officer of F. Schumacher, said the company had retained the services of an investment bank to explore a possible sale and long-term licensing partnership.

Waverly also has a roster of licensees that range from paints, patterns and publishing to other home products including Crown Crafts Infant bedding; kitchen and tabletop from Fallani & Cohn; trims from Bomar; Berme window hardware; Springs bath and bath accessories; Lexington furniture; and Zrike for dinnerware and glassware. Goldman noted that the Waverly license with Target Stores is a separate program.

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