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Trendex Adds China Stores

Trendex Home Designs, which produces goods that it distributes in the U.S., Europe, Central and South America and Australia, has been quiet over the past four years about its new retail initiative.

But now that the table linens and decorative pillow company is opening its eighth unit in the densely populated Eastern China region, Trendex is ready to share the news about its blooming retail division.

As explained to HTT by senior vp Lorraine Ragland Maberry, Trendex opened its first unit in Shanghai in June 2004 to "fill a void" in the marketplace.

"There was a void and lack of fashion in the table linens and soft home fashions categories," Ragland Maberry said.

The company had noticed Chinese customers increasingly becoming receptive to Western or American ready-to-wear goods and in particular, fashion accessories. But shoppers' choices for home goods were not up to speed in the marketplace.

"Everything that was already in the Chinese marketplace was very Chinese," she said. "For example, anything in solid was very simple — no texture, the colors looked dated, the prints looked ditsy and many of the heat transfer jacquards were dated. Everything [in table linens and home accessories] just looked very tired."

Looking to parlay the apparel trend to home, Trendex took a chance and opened its first ever retail store, stocking it with the same types of products it sells in the U.S. market.

"For our stores, we take products out of our assortment for the U.S., and they work," she said.

Admittedly, there were some adjustments, mainly in color schemes and sizes. "They lean toward red and gold, which are very important colors to the Chinese because they symbolize wealth and power," she said. "Those are the colors we've been most successful with."

And because Chinese homes — which are mostly apartments — are typically smaller than Americans' abodes, the Chinese gravitate toward tablecloths that measure 60"-by-80" or smaller.

"For them that is on the large side, whereas here that's a smaller tablecloth," Ragland Maberry said.

Trendex to date operates three units in Shanghai, three in Beijing and two in Nanjing.

They are stocked exclusively with Trendex product — tablecloths, placemats, runners, napkins, napkin rings, chair pads, decorative pillows, chair covers and sofa covers.

But they also carry Port Meirion goods because Trendex is that tabletop brand's distributor.

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