Embellished, luxury designs in style at High Point

Carole Sloan, April 30, 2001

HIGH POINT, NC — Despite the threat of a slowing economy, home textiles producers showing at the International Home Furnishings Market here last week poured on the embellishments, the luxury, the fun and frivolity of their bedding and decorative pillow introductions.

And the results, they reported, were impressive. Despite the clouds hanging over the marketplace here, and the potential for some major retail failures in furnitureland, the mood of the market was strong.

"We see more romantic looks coming back, with jewel tones, deep reds, purples and golds, and our retailers are buying into the looks," said Angela Brown, owner of Tomasini Fine Linens.

"The reaction has been great from all segments of our customer base — linen stores, high-end furniture stores and designer showrooms," she added.

Although "traffic was way down, our business was strong. We even sold a real mink throw," said Marty Dollenmaier, vp, Anichini.

"We keep doing more in the higher-end top of the bed, and the furniture stores are gaining confidence about selling these looks and price points," she added. "Our customer is a luxe customer, and they don't want lower quality. Finally, people in this market are getting it. They're also not afraid of color," Dollenmaier said.

According to Sharon Wilson, director of marketing for Legacy, "High Point brings more traffic. New York for us is a more regional customer base."

Here last week, Wilson reported "business was pretty good, but pretty typical in traffic and sales. We see our regular customers but always see new people."

"We had been concerned because of the economy, but we had the best show ever," was the evaluation from Jamie Riggins, sales manager for Eastern Accents. The company's sales channels are mostly furniture stores and then mail-order catalogs and interior designers, Riggins explained.

At Malabar Grove, "I think this market will pay out in the long run," said Rakesh Grover, president. "I see most of my major guys here except the small linens stores, and add new customers from other channels."

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