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Bardwil cooks up new kitchen textiles program for Tommy Bahama, Lenox and beyond

New York - Under its new leadership, barely four months at the helm, Bardwil Industries is gearing up for the expansion of its newer business segments - kitchen textiles and bath coordinates - driven by a newly implemented refined strategy.

Company president Alan Kennedy, a 38-year industry veteran who joined Bardwil in early March, told HTT, "We have had the opportunity through attrition to bring in an extremely talented and experienced team of people to help us grow our table, kitchen and bath businesses. We have foundation in place now, and we are in the right position to take this company to the next level."

Susan D'Arcy, who formerly ran her own design consulting firm and prior to that worked at Jay Franco and Northwest Co., in mid April was named svp of design; and Mike Scotto, whose career includes WestPoint Home, Town & Country Living and Franco Mfg., was named vp of sales and merchandising April 1.

Kennedy explained Bardwil's new team recently held a meeting to explore new avenues for growth, and in that meeting outlined a plan to build up its kitchen programs into untapped areas.

"We've learned that having a good brand on kitchen textiles is a major impetus for retailers," he said.

Bardwil is currently developing new kitchen products for its current licensed brand table linens programs - namely Tommy Bahama and Lenox - as well as new collections for other brands and private label programs at mid to high tier retail channels.

For about three years, Bardwil has been Tommy Bahama's licensee for table linens and kitchen textiles - but only now is the company delving into the latter category with a product lineup.

While some customers have previewed the collection, the official launch of the Tommy Bahama kitchen textiles collection is set for September during the New York Home Fashions Market.

"We think it is a very exciting brand for kitchen textiles," Kennedy said.

Using lightly accented solid colored looks with iconic elements from the Tommy Bahama lifestyle, this new collection comprises an apron, pot holder, oven mitt, and three styles of kitchen towels - a berber-like solid, a fiber reactive print, and a printed towel on flat-woven plaid.

In total, there are six color stories, each featuring a different Tommy Bahama theme, such as pineapples.

"The design influence comes from [new and] sophisticated Tommy Bahama apparel," D'Arcy said. "We liked the idea there was a lot of plaids and tone-on-tone color looks with pops of contrast, and we've brought that to our kitchen towel line. It is very different from what you see in table linens. It is more casual, and more masculine. You can see a man easily wearing the apron and using the [accessories] while he barbecues. It's very Tommy [Bahama] but in a subtle way."

Bardwil is also bringing kitchen textiles to its longtime Lenox-branded line. The company has offered some kitchen offerings in the past for the program, but this new effort represents the first time Bardwil creates a fuller program.

Designed for the ladies in the kitchen, especially young brides, the Lenox collection centers on aprons, with six styles created for the initial offering, all based on existing Lenox patterns: Floral Fusion; French Pearl, Midnight Garden, Butterfly Meadow Blue, which comes in two versions; and Chirp.

"We went for very romantic looks here," D'Arcy said. "And we went to town on the aprons with many cute details - buttons, layered effects, trims, all kinds of frills."

Rounding out the offering are kitchen towels in up to three different constructions, oven mitts, pot holders and shaped trivets.

Bath coordinates is another area of focus lately for Bardwil. Kennedy said the strategy here is still in development, but the plan is to expand into other brands.

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