• Cecile Corral

Bardwil Linens Debuts Tommy Bahama Tabletop

Applying the attitude that relaxed living is not just for the beach resort scene, Bardwil Linens has developed its new licensed program with upscale island lifestyle brand Tommy Bahama into a collection of designs and styles that are appropriate for everyday use.

"We've really focused on a year-round looks and not just a resort look," said Nancy Kristoff, president of sales and marketing for Bardwil. "The brand's strength has definitely been typically in coastal areas, like California and Florida. But we were careful not create our line just for those markets. Clearly, Tommy Bahama has customers throughout the country, and we wanted to make this collection appeal to them, too."

To achieve this, Bardwil came up with "looks that are universal," Kristoff continued. "They definitely speak to the brand, but the designs are not summer specific."

There is one grouping within the new line that is more seasonally minded — the spring-summer themed Island Song design, which is made for use outdoors and comprises assorted table linen pieces as well as chair pads and picnic totes.

"But the balance of the collection is more geared toward indoor dining," she said.

Examples include coir placemats adorned with the Tommy Bahama logo embroidered subtly, some hardboard and coaster sets in signature Tommy Bahama style, a micro-fiber dobby textured group, and a variety of textured, woven jacquard and printed placemats, tablecloths, runners and napkins.

Additionally, Bardwil has created 10 free-standing placemats in an equally broad sampling of constructions such as bamboo, ramie cotton, cotton linen and solid colored poly-cotton blends, as well as cork-backed styles that match with coasters.

"To be true to the brand, we didn't make anything on a flat ground," she added.

The official launch is this week during market, and products will be ready for shipping in mid December for a 2010 rollout at retail.

Targeted distribution includes department and specialty shops. Kristoff noted the company has already made commitments for the program with several key retailers.

Suggested retail price points are set at $29.99 for a 60"-by-84" tablecloth, $5.99 for a placemat, $4.99 for a napkin and $19.99 for a runner — all of which are reversible.

Tommy Bahama marks Bardwil's third license in a roster of three that service the upper retail channel. The other two are Lenox — which this year marks its 10th anniversary licensing its name to Bardwil for table linens — and Vera, which is based on the vintage artwork and patterns of the late designer Vera Neumann. Bardwil has been a licensee to The Vera Co. since late 2008, and launched its first collection for the brand in spring 2009.

"We felt Tommy Bahama would be a really good fit in addition to the Lenox and Vera lines that we currently have underway," Kristoff explained. "Brands are so meaningful and important to the department and specialty stores that we just felt it was important to have a third brand at this point that was really different in feel from the other two but that can co-exist on the selling floor with Vera and Lenox. Tommy Bahama does that. None of them bump against each other, and each one appeals to a different shopper."

Also new from Bardwil this market are four new collections for the Vera program. These encompass table linens that coordinate with some kitchen textiles components, like aprons, kitchen towels and pot mitts. Napkin rings join the line for the first time. New patterns — all of them drawn form Vera Neumann's archive — are bright and include florals and indoor/outdoor styles.

The Vera program also is seeing "a significant expansion," Kristoff said, of the brand's kitchen textiles offerings. Specifically, there are 14 new designs, all interpreted from the archives, and some of which marry back to the new and existing table linens mix.

Cecile CorralCecile Corral | Senior Product Editor, Home & Textiles Today

Cecile B. Corral has been a product editor with Home Textiles Today since late 2000. She covers the area and accent rug, kitchen textiles, table linens, beach towels, decorative bath and decorative pillow categories, as well as some retail subjects.

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