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Portico Showing Product, Merchandising Genius

PureLuxe GeniusIn the debut PureLuxe Genius sheet and blanket line, Portico offers a natural and sustainable fiber blend of 60% Tencel Micro and 40% organic cotton.
NEW YORK - Building on an impressive retail launch last spring for its core home textiles program, Portico Home + Spa extended the line and also added a whole new fabrication under the Genius moniker.
     Previewed enthusiastically at the fall 2009 market, and positioned as a luxury brand that is absolutely faithful to eco-friendly principles, the Portico Home + Spa launch collection had entered hundreds of upstairs specialty store doors by March 2010.
     The tagline for the core program has been "Portico Pure Organic Genius," referring in part to the company's commitment to using 100% organic (GOTS-certified) cotton. The word Genius is now being applied to a new product line development that will feature a blend of 60% Tencel Micro and 40% organic cotton. This line is being offered "to both current and new retail partners," Gregg Haft, president of Portico, told HTT.
     Haft said the launch program is "exceeding all of our expectations and those of our retailers."
     Haft and Charles Schlang acquired the brand, previously a high-end home furnishings specialty retail operator, in 2007. They have now placed the Portico fashion bedding and bath products, as well as basic bedding and a personal care line at retail.
     Haft said the company now plans "aggressive category extension - but also brand growth ... we expect to have major developments in this calendar year." The current Portico licensees for home are Home Source International for fashion bed and bath, and United Feather & Down for basic bedding. (Personal care products are made by Hunter International.)
     Key to success, Haft said, is "leading with fashion, with a luxurious hand" to an extent that will always "meet or exceed the non-organics" in sensory pleasure for the consumer.
     "The Portico brand and lifestyle maintain the highest benchmark standards for sustainable fashion," Haft explained, "but despite the fact that retailers in the past have had mixed experience [in this area], we are showing them that if you approach that space focusing on product that is unique and innovative and lends itself even to those consumers that don't really consider being organic and/or sustainable as an important part of their decision-making process - then you've achieved the formula for success."
     Portico marketing efforts include its Earth Day showcasing on QVC as well as on the Ellen Degeneres show, and its endorsement by practical-eco guru Summer Rayne Oakes. The company also recently leveraged its personal care distribution in the hospitality sector to introduce bed linens, towels and robes to some hotels - an effort that will soon lead to greater placement and visibility there, Haft predicted.
     Portico brand director Megan Wiseman said the fashion element is freshened this market with the EcoLuxury sense of "chic, easy, elegant - casual, clean, crisp" mode, that informs the addition of a soft fern green and a moonlight blue to the color palette of the sheeting. Among new featured bed ensembles, there is a Vintage Print that interprets resort colors into a soft treatment; the Moonlight look, which Wiseman described as "tapestry- inspired, integrated with a natural pumice color," and an additional print design, a distressed look featuring earthy colors.
     She said a sandstone-inspired texture will be offered on bedding styled for higher end department stores and boutiques. And for the tier immediately below that, Wiseman said there is an opulent branch moire, "or watery oil effect" in the line. Both of these woven jacquard beds show sheen and are available with embroidered sheets.
     Overall, the Portico Home + Spa programs support mix-and-match assortments, both within rooms and across categories, with bathrobes and other accessories that refer back to the main lines.

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