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  • Cecile Corral

Ireland sees green with new home corp.

Looking to increase her brand awareness with a broader breadth of product, home furnishings designer and former model Kathy Ireland has formed a new corporation titled Home Brands Inc. through a realigned relationship with existing partner Standard Furniture.

HBI is aimed at better supporting the overall brand growth of Kathy Ireland Home by unifying the resources of Kathy Ireland Worldwide and Standard Furniture.

Ireland's only current home textiles licensee is Dalton, GA-based Shaw Rugs, which produces moderately priced to high-end area rugs as well as juvenile rugs under the Kathy Ireland Home brand.

Now Ireland is actively looking for new partners to produce more home textiles lines, including bedding, window coverings and other categories.

"As our home brand continues to grow, it's become essential that we align ourselves with an amazing team. Standard and HBI are that team," Ireland said.

"Their strong leadership, commitment and resources are necessary to help us manage our brand as we take on new partnerships. Being true to our mission is more critical now than ever. Together, we're finding solutions for families, especially busy moms."

Mecke added that projected retail sales for Kathy Ireland Home exceed $700 million this year. Based on these projections, "we feel this number could exceed $2 billion in home-related product sales within the next five years."

"The rapid expansion as well as retailer and consumer embrace of the Kathy Ireland Home brand is phenomenal," shared Don Mecke, who has been named president of HBI and continues his role as vice president of marketing and sales at Standard. "At Shaw Rugs, the Kathy Ireland Home Collection continues to be their best-selling collection, representing over 57 percent of their Top 40 rugs sold and holding their number one spot of all rugs sold."

As part of the exclusive agreement, all of Standard's future product line will be developed with Ireland's design input and produced as Kathy Ireland Home by Standard. Kathy will serve as Chief Designer for all products. The Kathy Ireland Home brand partners to benefit from this partnership include Shaw Industries, Style-Line, Pacific Coast Lighting, Next Dimension Studios, A.F.D. Décor and Lady Americana.

Kathy Ireland Home by Standard and HBI will have offices here and in Bay Minette, AL. The Bay Minette team will concentrate on the administration of brand development and assist in the recruitment and integration of new Kathy Ireland Home brand partners as well as running the administration of a customer service call center and overseeing sales, advertising and marketing efforts. The Los Angeles team will focus on overall creative brand development. The Los Angeles office will also serve as the headquarters of Kathy Ireland Worldwide.

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