It's child's play for Anna Claire

Marvin Lazaro, November 12, 2001

Hutchinson, MI — After six years of business in dinnerware, fabrics and kitchen linens, the design firm Anna Claire is branching into juveniles, debuting a new baby layette quilted line and a greatly expanded tweener quilt line this fall market.

Titled Transitions, the tweener line is aimed at a wide range group of 3- to 17-year- olds with some crossover into adult patterns. According to Claire Lenz, president, the company unveiled 15 to 18 patterns, all of which are manufactured, showcased and sold by manufacturing licensee Zheng Zhang USA, of Edison, NJ, in its 295 5th Ave. showroom.

Lenz and her partner, company vp Clair Woelfel, both have children in that age range, "so we're living in that market right now," Lenz said. She also said that when she and Woelfel were searching for appropriate top-of-bed items for their children, there was "not a lot out there."

Primarily available in twin and full sizes, but with queen offered for those retailers interested, Lenz said the quilt ensembles had a "contemporary, updated look." The ensembles featured appliqués and mixed fabrics in their construction as well as a color palette with plenty of denim/chambray influence and strong pastels and brights — "the colors kids are asking for," she added.

Sold as a set, the ensembles include the quilt and bedskirt as well as a mixture of standard and shaped decorative pillows. There is also a coordinating sham option that may be sold separately. In addition to being 100 percent cotton, the quilts are all hand-stitched, pieced, offered with either cotton or cotton/polyester fill and are machine washable and dryable.

Anna Claire has also branched into baby layettes for the first time. Also quilted, the company previewed four layettes to "give everybody a taste of what's coming," Lenz said.

Little Lambs, Ladybug Picnic, Baja and Sweet Pea range in design from whimsical lambs, ladybugs and fish to a traditional pieced quilt, all in baby-friendly colors.

Included with the 36" x 45" quilt are bumpers, bumper pads, headboard pads, dust ruffles and bedskirts.

"Out there in the marketplace, we were seeing there's not a lot to pick from in the quilt area," Lenz said. "We just couldn't find unique, quilted items for babies. That area just isn't being met."

Both product lines are aimed at a full range of retailers, Lenz added, including discounters, department and specialty stores and multi-channel retailers.

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