Melrose at home in textiles market

Marvin Lazaro, September 7, 2001

Los Angeles — The current economic picture might lead some to believe that now is not the time for a fledgling company to try and make its move into the home textiles industry. But as far as Melrose Home Collections is concerned, it's a time of opportunity.

When the upcoming fall market opens, Melrose will make its first appearance with a wide array of soft window coverings and tabletop items as well as decorative pillows and throws.

Despite the bleak economic environment and slumping retail sales, Melrose is confident it can gain a foothold in the market.

"We don't feel like this is a bold move," said John Emrani, managing director and president of the company, based here. "When times are bad, we feel like you have to work with customers to make things happen. We feel like we can break through in the market and provide the products people want. We're there to pick up the pieces since other companies are going out."

As proof that hard work will allow Melrose to succeed, Emrani pointed to his family's long involvement and connections within the apparel business as the owners of Emday Fabrics Inc. In fact, Melrose can take full advantage of the six offices the company already operates overseas in Turkey, Taiwan, China, Mexico, Korea and Indonesia as part of its apparel operations.

For its first market appearance, Melrose will introduce more than 200 skus in its window, decorative pillow and tabletop lines and roughly 25 to 30 skus for its throw line.

"Our price range will be from the promotional to the high-quality luxury fabric end as well as everything in between," Emrani said. "Depending on what price points retailers need, we'll find it. If we can't find it, it probably doesn't exist."

For its window line, nine different collections will be introduced: lace, solid sheer, stripes and checks, novelty sheer, crushed sateen, nautical casuals, chenille, velvet and jacquard. Fabric constructions will include polyester, polyester/cotton and polyester/rayon.

The decorative pillow line will debut with 16 different collections, which include; amazon; tribal; patchwork; field of flowers; tropical; old world classics; renaissance; geometric; taffeta; suede; blossoming brights; nautical casuals; basics; chenille; leather look; and clearly sheer.

For its throw line, tribal, patchwork, field of flowers, renaissance, nautical casuals, geometrics, chenille and blossoming brights will all make their debut. The throws will largely coordinate with the decorative pillow line.

Rounding out the extensive line will be tabletop items made from polyester and poly/cotton blends as well as some metallics. The tabletop line, as well as the decorative pillow and throw lines, will also be offered with seasonal designs.

"So far, because of the number of items we have, retailers are picking up a lot of things," Emrani said of the assortment, adding that the company will pare down the selection in the future, despite currently looking into slipcovers and kitchen window as viable extensions to the assortment.

The breadth of the line has also enabled Melrose to place its product with specialty retailers and catalogs as well as enter into talks with discounters for promotional accounts. "The reason we can do this is because we're fabric people," Emrani said. "We know how to find fabric and how to make the fabric work for the design and the price points customers are looking for."

Emrani added that the negativity the home textiles industry is currently facing is not something that has affected Melrose, thanks to its "non-corporate style" of doing business. The approach Melrose uses, he said, is one of partnering with retailers and listening to what they want.

"Being a family-run business and being around for so many years, we know we can do certain things, and we won't waste people's time if we can't do it," Emrani said. "That's something that's missing in talking to retailers and buyers."

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