21 Century bolsters basic bedding

Marvin Lazaro, August 31, 2001

New York — 21st Century Ideas is trying to introduce some new ideas to the basic bedding market. And so two new products, designed to complement its line of printed down comforters and pillows, will debut at fall market.

Both products , according to Nina Spivak, president, and John O'Keefe, national sales manager, will hopefully give the basic bedding category "a little juice and a little energy."

The first introduction will be a bagged ensemble, which will include a down comforter with coordinating sheeting. The sheets will range from 180- to 240-count construction and will be made from 100 percent cotton. The comforters, made from 100 percent down-proof cotton, will range from 240- to 300-count construction but may go higher. Sizes will run the gamut from twin to king.

"We're going to be among the first, I believe, to give the market a bagged ensemble with a down comforter,"

O'Keefe said. Spivak added that the company was very flexible and could vary construction as well as contents according to a retailer's needs.

Also new for the fall is a baby-sized down coverlet which may be used for a variety of purposes, due to the incorporated zippers. In addition to being a 45" x 35" coverlet made from 100 down-proof, 233-count cotton and weighing 10.6 ounces, the ends may be zipped together to create a sleeping pouch or, in another configuration, a snug sack. Spivak said wool or synthetic fill may be substituted for down. Although the pricing for the bagged ensemble will vary according to construction and quality, the three-way coverlet will range from $69 to $99 at retail.

21st Century's current line of down baffle-box comforters and pillows are offered in a good-better-best strategy in a choice of eight prints or several solid colors. Initially, the company had only offered "best" quality, 90 percent down with 10 percent down fill. But after realizing more opportunities were available, 21st Century changed its offering.

"We needed to do it because there were so many people asking for more," said Spivak. "And you don't see down comforters in the United States that have printed shells," she added, referring to the company's base line of products that use only Siberian goose down. The down is collected and brought to Lithuania where is it assembled into finished product with fabric from China. In addition, 21st Century also manufactures down robes and booties that may coordinate with the bedding or be sold as a stand-alone product.

The company will also introduce some new prints for its comforters. While the line will remain predominantly floral, the new designs will be more subtle and not as flowery. The company is also looking into a yarn-dyed down comforter line, Spivak and O'Keefe said, which it is strongly considering for debut during fall market.

Because of its good-better-best strategy, O'Keefe said 21st Century could tailor programs for retail channels ranging from upper-end department stores to "the marts."

"We can make product for the price they're looking for," O'Keefe said. "But, of course, it has to be something that's viable for us."

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