• Andrea Lillo

Sargent to expand with Mohawk

Continuing her licensing reach into the home textiles arena, designer Susan Sargent has inked a deal with Mohawk Home for a collection of accent rugs, throws and decorative pillows to debut next market.

Although Sargent already produces handmade rugs, pillows and other items, aligning herself with Mohawk will allow her line to expand into many new levels, she said. And for the "first round," Mohawk will take over the distribution and development of her existing line.

Handmade rugs will comprise the largest product category in the new line, with 20 tufted and 20 hooked rugs to premiere in April 2003. About 15 colors of silk pillows will also be offered.

The alliance will also result in deeper penetration in the throw category, with eight woven throws to debut. Although Sargent's company, based in Pawlet, VT, dabbled in throws before, she only produced about two throws a season. The new alliance will result in greater depth in product. "We didn't really get into throws...they were a spinoff of our pillows," she said. But now it is expected to be a much broader line.

And though it is still too early to price product, she said, "I guarantee you — they will be cheaper than what I sold them for."

Mohawk and Sargent began having discussions about a year-and-a-half ago, she said, and though other firms had approached her, she liked the range that Mohawk will give her. "I liked their breadth of products; they're not just pillows or rugs. They are a resource. And they want to do what I want to do."

She also complements the other licensees and products at Mohawk. "I'm a good fit with a lot of their lines, from neutrals, deluxe, the whole palette. You can't just say, 'Let's put a lot of color on everything.' The looks and licenses have to be a good fit. That's important to me; I'm bringing something special to the company."

Sargent's wholesale business includes handmade rugs, pillows, bedding, etched glass, ceramics and decorative accessories, and her textiles licensors include Wamsutta by Springs and John Ritzenthaler.

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