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Home Source bows new branded line

Marvin Lazaro -- Home Textiles Today, January 6, 2003

Home Source International is making a foray into consumer products, debuting its own brand, Home & Harmony, for bed and bath.

The move represents a leap beyond the company's current business model, principally as sourcing consultancy linking offshore manufacturers to U.S.-based home textiles companies. It was the next logical step in the firm's development, according to its president, Keith Sorgeloos.

"We've put it together ourselves to control our own destiny," Sorgeloos explained. "We created the brand to make the most unique, innovative and differentiated product a company could offer to consumers."

The Home & Harmony line is being designed in conjunction with an unidentified partner company, based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The partner, a design product development team, has been helping develop the new brand since its conception in 2001.

According to Sorgeloos, the new offerings are set for a soft launch immediately after Heimtextil, with a hard launch planned for the spring market in New York.

The soft launch includes a micro-cotton bath towel, which Sorgeloos said has been redesigned with a bigger and heavier construction, and the introduction of micro-cotton sheeting for the first time in the United States. Both will be offered in white and ivory.

March introductions will layer three design collections, all distinct in look and lifestyle, onto the original micro-cotton offerings. He explained that one collection will be built around color, a second will focus on a mix of classic and contemporary elements, while the third is still undetermined.

Comforters are not included in the product offering since the collection is entirely duvet-based with "special treatments" featured on all. Bedskirts are also being left by the wayside, but decorative pillows are included.

Sorgeloos said the brand is meant for upscale, single-store retailers that cater to a higher-end demographic and cannot muster the same buying power as their multi-store cousins. This strategy follows a higher pricing grid at the retail with a 30" x 60" micro-cotton bath towel tentatively offered at $30, and blankets ranging from $100 for a queen. Bath rugs, available in 20" x 32" and 27" x 42" sizes, are hitting the market at $75 and $100, respectively. Sorgeloos said the marketing strategy for sheets had not been determined yet, but retail prices for a queen flat/fitted are set at roughly $100, while a set will start from $250, also for a queen.

Sorgeloos emphasized that Home Source is not abandoning its original business. It will continue to provide sourcing services to its original customer base.

Since the line is sourced entirely from overseas, Sorgeloos said the standard 60 to 90 days is required for turnaround from order to U.S. arrival. However, Home Source plans to keep stock for current collections, with an eye toward a 72-hour replenishment schedule on re-orders.

Said Sorgeloos, "It's the right time to do this."

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