Ellery Eclipse Drives Blackout Curtain Category
James Mammarella -- Home Textiles Today, November 3, 2008
New York — Ellery Homestyles helped fine tune the soft window industry standards for noise reduction and energy savings in 2006 with the introduction of its Eclipse line. Now, with that brand selling in 8,000 retail doors, said Ellery ceo Budd Goldman, the company is working to update curtain fabric light opacity standards as well.
“We went to an independent, national testing lab” to help focus the standards several years ago, Goldman said. By the updated measures, Eclipse window treatments reduce outside noise by up to 40% over ordinary curtains and cut home heating and cooling expense by up to 25%.
While Eclipse curtains also claim to block “more than 99%” of light, Goldman told HTT that his company wants to upgrade that particular measuring system to embody a home textiles-appropriate regime. “The current standard was developed for the paper industry,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Ellery received a strong welcome during the September New York market week to its latest Eclipse iteration, Eclipse Absolute Zero — which as the name trumpets, blocks all visible light.
Goldman's background in consumer products has colored his direction of Ellery since his 2000 takeover and reshaping of the 1924-founded supplier. He believes that Eclipse has been successful because “it addresses a consumer need, and tells the consumer how, in an organized manner.”
Eclipse packaging and in-store signage tends toward crisp, concise messages delivered in a matter-of-fact manner. That, coupled with an energetic technical development agenda; a trio of owned sourcing offices in China, India and Pakistan; and a bold-but-controlled approach to fashion; has helped muscle the window treatment segment of Ellery Homestyles into the dominant side of this roughly $100 million company.
Retailers from Big Lots and Family Dollar to JCPenney and Bed Bath & Beyond carry the Eclipse program, which now also includes Eclipse Kids in bright colors, and a Patio Door Drapery line that retails for $99. The bulk of Ellery's Eclipse window panels retail from roughly $13 to $39.
Ellery designers are kept busy differentiating the fashion offerings — an effort eased by the variety of choices in fabrication, which include ThermaWeave, ThermaLayer and ThermaBack models. These feature, respectively: a tightly woven fabric derived from apparel technology that provides a better drape and styling options; an inner lining layer that does all the blocking work, meaning the room-side layer is freed from any fiber or fashion constraint; and the foam-coating version which tends to be the default position for opening price programs.
Besides its Eclipse program, Ellery also makes a significant window treatment line as part of its bed ensemble-driven collection under the Waverly brand, a traditional standard; as well as “a smattering” of window in its fashion-forward Kas designer program, which is built more on duvets, comforters, quilts and dec pillows. The company produces a broad open line in window treatments as well, mainly for the private label needs of its retail accounts.
Eclipse is a true separator for Ellery in soft window, and this is no accident, Goldman said. “We want to be in the position of authority” in light-blocking, noise-reduction, energy-saving window treatments, he emphasized.
That authoritativeness makes it natural for Goldman to predict that ultimately, “Consumers will say — short of a sheer — why would I buy a curtain that doesn't have these qualities?”
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