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Market Hits & Misses

Favorite Picks and What buyers Nixed

With the New York Home Fashions Market behind them, suppliers last week spoke to HTT about products that drew the strongest response from retailers.

In general, color and performance technologies did well. Classic, traditional looks and anything deemed too fashion-forward did not. Here's what a sampling of suppliers had to say:

Alpha Home Fashions

Elaine Pankowicz, ceo and owner

HITS: There is no question that the embroidered and appliquéd florals, pineapples, and coastal collections in decorative pillows, table runners, and coordinating placemats were hits, and we have already had requests from retailers to expand colorways and motifs.

Also, our two-toned Ribbons and Roses pillow collection was also very well received.

MISSES: Our printed silver and copper metallic group titled Tree of Life received the least interest. It was too contemporary for most retailers.

The Arlee Group

Marsha Caparelli, svp

HITS: Our hits included Ella, Samantha, Orbit and Mirabel. Ella, a faux silk background with chenille stripes, for both window and pillows. Samantha, a heavy textured linen look with a floral flocking on pillows only. Orbit pillows, an iridescent fabric with embroidery. And Mirabel, for both window and pillows, a sheer linen ground with all-over crewel embroidery.

MISSES: Our misses were Beverly and Botanica.

Bardwil Linens

Amy Zemser, vp, sales and marketing; and Linda Kulla, vp, Lenox Bath division

HITS: Lenox Chirp print tablecloth of watercolor-inspired birds and florals in vibrant turquoise and reds printed on a cotton-rich microfiber fabric; Vera Sunflower table linens and kitchen textiles printed on poly-spun indoor/outdoor stain- and mildew-resistant fabric; Tommy Bahama Palm Tree Logo solid-colored placemat and napkins in six colors.

In the Lenox Bath division, also Chirp from the Lenox 'Simply Fine' collection which includes a printed towel ensemble, an embroidered towel ensemble, a shower curtain printed on a jacquard weave, a hand-tufted embroidered cotton rug, and hand painted shower curtain hooks in bird and flower motifs. Opal Innocence Carved pattern featured on a matelasse shower curtain.

MISSES: Emmet in the neutral colorway with an accent of blue. In bath, a towel ensemble featuring a multicolored soft woven jacquard border on a white ground in the Butterfly Meadow collection.

Caldeira USA

Carolyn Winderbaum, product development manager

HITS: UK velvet pillows in new Urban Chic colors shown with new textured grounds; and the new multi-colored chenille construction shown in colors from the Changing Seasons collection. In the window category, black-out options were well received. In the throw collection, a selection of wool blends.

MISSES: In dec pillows a group of 100% linen embroideries. In the widow area, a selection of 100% pieced widow panels.

Creative Bath Products

Bob Weiss, vp of sales and marketing

HITS: Belvedere, once considered the industry standard for tonnage volume shower curtain sales, and Modern Classic, both of which offer five or more colorways and/or versions and hit moderate to low retails. Mystique, in eight new colorways, also addressing moderate to low retails. In bath ensemble, Juniper and Silhouette.

MISSES: Duets, a toothbrush holder and lotion pump combination sku. The combined retail of $24.99 is not what the market is looking for during these trying economic times.

Ellery Homestyles

Angela Boswell, design director,: Chip Scala, president, Waverly division

HITS: In Ellery window, Nursery Eclipse Thermaback and Thermaweave, designed for youngsters, Wander, a program of coordinated panels and sheers and more casual looks in general. In throws, jacquard animal designs; Portobello, an acrylic knit with a ruffle trim; and Aspen, a seasonal look.

For Waverly, Sun & Shade collection of window and decorative pillows for indoor/outdoor use in contemporary, colorful looks; Bliss, a crisp floral on a white ground updated classic print; and Bedazzaled, a gray print with tones of yellow on a slub ground and a three-part nature print in window.

MISS: In Ellery window, Bentley, a more formal design. In throws, Piedmont, too shiny. For Colonial Williamsburg, Canton Garden, a Chinese inspired print.

Elrene Home Fashions

Bryan Siegel, chairman and ceo

HITS: In the soft window category, Stratton, a grommet top window panel with a linen look, and Eco products at affordable price points.

In table linens. OPP Straws, a collection of easy-care natural looks at great prices; Fun in the Sun collection, a fully coordinated collection of tablecloths, placemats, and kitchen accessories. Summer is a very strong season for outdoor motifs. This collection, along with an easy-care novelty vinyl tablecloth, capitalized on what buyers were looking for at affordable price points.

MISSES: In soft window, Manchester Silk, a luxury-priced 100% silk. The luxury category has not fully recovered from the recent economic situation. In table lines, Phoenix Plaid pink/orange. The colors might have been too fashion forward for a traditional cotton plaid woven tablecloth.

Ginsey Home Solutions

Elizabeth Stevenson, sales and marketing coordinator

HITS: Simply Soft TPR floor/step-out mats and head rests; Bébé stages line of potty training brightly colored tools to advance through the potty training stages, Toilet Tool Tightening kit in fashion colors; and gelspa line of bath tub products — head rest and mats.

MISSES: Novelty juvenile aquatic tub pieces, the Fish & Snake Toy Tray and Frog Step Stool, and Hot Colors wooded toilet seats.

Home Fashions International

Amy Bell, executive vp ; Neil Zuber, evp

HITS: In bedding, Corinne, a paisley jacquard; Murphy, a neat jacquard with an off-center stripe; Lodbrooke, a traditional jacquard in teal and brown;. and Geneeration, an embroidery on faux silk.

In window, Aria, an embroidered pieced panel of faux silk; Zoe, a contemporary floral jacquard; Rugao Diamond, a fleecy chenille with an inverted contemporary diamond; Primadonna, a floral transfer print on a lightweight texture.

In decorative pillows, 'Out and About' collection of indoor/outdoor fabrics; and the embroidered line.

In table fashions, embroidered Lucky Linen designs offered in several new styles, including Moths and Palm Leaves; seasonal, Easter and Valentine's Day placemats and table runners; and Latin Lover linen embroideries.

In pet beds, appliquéd styles, especially of dachshunds, labs and Scotties; and Designer Chenille upholstery jacquards in several styles.

In shower curtains, Maxton, a metallic scroll print pieced in a stripe layout; and colorful geometric jacquards, Cornucopia and Hex.

MISSES: In window, Gracie, a heavy traditional jacquard. In bedding, Tyron, an overscale diamond texture. In pillows, new print collections. In table, 100% polyester kitchen check tablecloths. In pet beds, linen and cotton floral prints. In shower curtains, Floral embroidery was a bit too delicate.

Home Source International

Keith Sorgeloos, ceo

HITS: The two signature Vera high energy colored beds rather than the black and white; Portico's solid color sheets, top of bed and towels.

MISSES: Solid color Vera sheets, Ruch, a ruched embellished bed from Portico.

John Ritzenthaler

Elissa Vogt, vp, marketing

HITS: Signs of Spring print ensemble, which includes a kitchen towel, a pot holder, an oven mitt, a full apron and a hostess apron.

MISS: Peppers print ensemble, which includes a kitchen towel, a pot holder and a full apron.

Loftex

Gretchen Dale, president

HITS: Soil Release, a performance towel with a new direct applied process for absorbency; Duo Texture, a new construction, heavy texture fashion towel; Two-Sided Velour, a contemporary two-sided fashion towel; Colorpure, a peroxide-resistant towel.

MISS: Renu, a recycled short staple cotton towel.

Maples Rugs

Arnie Stevens, vp

HITS: Our shag made out of recycled bottles. Our kitchen print line also was received very well.

MISS: The cotton blend bath rug was tremendously overshadowed by our bath rugs made of the new fiber from Invista — Stay Fresh, Dry Fast, and PermaColor.

Mohawk Home

Jeffrey Seagle, director of marketing and product merchandising

HITS: The Pinnacle collection, which focused on brighter, more intense colors and exuberant designs; the indoor/outdoor offering with designs ranging from botanicals to geometrics and beautiful new colors; the printed Textured collection with a wide array of visually intriguing tufted textures coupled with brilliant creative; juvenile and tweener designs; and high-end kitchen.

MISSES: Offerings featuring more traditional design and upper-price-point coir and rubber coir products. Buyers could not see the perceived value in increasing the thickness of the mat and price point. Retailers were not ready to trade up the customers just yet.

Newport/Layton Home Fashions

Belinda Ballash, evp, fashion director

HITS: A large selection of prints instead of only wovens and embroideries in spring brights, and a chambray stripe that was added to our Chambray solid story.

MISS: The Vintage story — too many dark colors, perhaps.

Nourison

Paula Paquette, vp, domestics

HITS: The entry in to the utility rug category, the Multi-Purpose rug collection.

MISSES: Machine-made accent rugs that were introduced into room-size styles. The styles were received well in the accent size, but not received well as room-size opportunities.

Peking Handicraft

Mark Grand, president

HITS: In bedding, Fleur, a floral with a smockjed quilted look in soft purple; and Vivaldi, a heavily embroidered design on white pique.

MISS: Amala, an embroidered pieced comforter set in citrus colors.

Raymond Waites/Next Creations

Michael Vidra, president

HITS: Josephine, a lush, more traditional French embroidery look; Genevieve, a more contemporary floral on a white ground; in the Regatta Collection, American Cup, a red/white/blue combination with embroidery accents; Endevour, a stripe in chocolate/black/white with white appliqué.

MISS: Emma, a jacquard that wasn't special enough/ The construction wasn't unique enough.

Revere Mills International Group

Elaine Aschenbrand, director of marketing and product development

HITS: The towel and rug program introduced in partnership with the U.S. Polo Association; the Plush towel line made with Fibermax-branded cotton for a soft, absorbent towel; and the NanoSpun towel made with an embedded yarn that uses no chemical PVA in the spinning process.

MISSES: The new Diamond Jacquard design and Supreme, a super soft zero-twist introduction.

Springs Creative

Peter McCabe, national sales manager

HITS: Snapz, "a home run" that lets a child decorate a bed with snap-on "charms" for comforters and shams that can be changed and grow with the child; Swagger, a two-part duvet cover — the top a fashion bed, the underside a solid color fashion fabrics with clips on each corner to facilitate using a comforter or duvet; Hoodie bed, a hooded sweatshirt with the hood as a sham, the top of bed a sweatshirt fleece.

MISS: Zip Bed, a one piece fitted sheet/bed cover blanket that was not fully developed.

Soft-Tex Manufacturing

Robert O'Connell, evp Sales and Marketing

HITS: The new Sona Pillow assortment — featuring the well-known Stop Snoring Pillow previously a sold exclusively through Brookstone; and Sensor PEDIC Memory Foam line with an expanded line up of premium pillows, toppers and three levels of mattresses.

MISSES: The new collection of down comforters. Styling and quality levels were in line with the market, but we are not known as a down supplier.

Trident Group

Joanne Krakowski, U.S. sales and marketing manager

HITS: The new Southern Living Home collection towel license in 16 signature colors; Centrum and Air Rich towels, two nouveau yarn techniques developed from PVA, which create and add extra absorbency; the Pro line, which incorporates Bleach Pro and Color Pro towels; and a coarser count low-twist product under the Bounce Collection.

MISSES: In the Re:vive Collection, a thick luxurious spa range of towels constructed in a high grams per square meter with a mixture of both thick and thin yarns.

Welspun

Bob Hamilton, director of merchandising

HITS: In bedding, Ashville, Addison, Melissa and Buttercup Blossom because of the texture, timely colors, focus on detail, and current themes.

MISS: Lillian, too seasonal.

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