Tim Gunn preps for market week
Staff Staff -- Home Textiles Today, September 16, 2013
New York - Last night, fashion consultant Tim Gunn picked up his first Emmy award along with his Project Runway co-host Heidi Klum. Next week he'll be in the New York Home Fashions with another first - the debut of his home collection.
His entry into the home textiles business came about because when Indecor designer Dawn Rochelle Fields thought about who the company ought to seek out for a licensing partnership, his name kept coming to the top of her list.
"My husband and I watch his show. I have his books. I thought this could be a dream," said Fields, vp of design and product development.
One slight hitch: Gunn had no licensing agent - this month's launch of the Tim Gunn Collection is his first product line of any sort - and Indecor had no idea how to reach him. In an attempt to contact him, company president Joe Mandil even walked over to the offices of Fifth and Pacific Companies (formerly Liz Claiborne Inc.), where Gunn is chief creative officer.
It didn't work.
Although Indecor was embarking on its inaugural licensing deal, its parent company, Bentex Group, has a long history in such arrangements, producing children's apparel for a slew of heavy hitters, including Disney, Marvel and Mattel. Its head of licensing was ultimately able to put the parties in touch.
"It was love at first sight," Gunn told HTT of his first meeting with the Indecor team. "I came here with no assumptions. I was a blank slate. I thought, ‘Let's see where this conversation takes us.'"
What he liked was the Indecor team's commitment to style, quality and affordability, he said.
"At the high end, there's a lot of very beautiful bedding. It's also very expensive. At the lower end, I feel as though that customer in a way has been treated disrespectfully. ‘Let's give that customer dumb stuff,'" Gunn explained.
Hence, the through-line for the new Tim Gunn Collection: sophistication.
Gunn and Indecor aren't tiptoeing into the business, either. The launch collection includes multiple beds, bath towels, bath rugs, bath accessories, dec pillows, throws and window. Constructions include 300- and 400-count cotton bedding as well as blends and microfiber.
For Indecor, which specializes in bath and window, the collaboration has opened a host of possibilities. The team is already contemplating brand extensions into other categories, including pet.
"We're taking a thoughtful approach about how people live," said Gunn. "We're giving them a lot of options. We know we have a quality product."
Gunn will spend two days in Indecor's New York showroom participating in meetings with what he described as "a diverse array of entities."
Now Indecor awaits reaction from retailers.
"We're open to options," said Gunn. "We're eager to listen, participate, and in the course of conversation, assimilate."
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