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B. Smith just being herself in BBB roll

Retail Editor 1, Andrea Lillo -- Home Textiles Today, November 17, 2003

Sheets are at the core of an expanding soft home collection from B. Smith that features additional and fresh designs at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Introduced in spring 2001 with some quilts and duvets, bath, window and decorative pillows, the collection is currently evolving to include sheets, bedspreads, table linens, bath towels, door mats, area rugs, wall art and dinnerware.

The personality of the author, television host and restaurateur seems to demand her immersion in the effort. Mere dabbling with the categories isn't enough.

"I can't help but be absorbed in all parts of the home," said the former model, who has lived in such cities as Milan and Vienna. "With my products exclusively available at Bed Bath, I'm not only on television but also in the home."

At Bed Bath & Beyond, the program started with top-of-the-bed products manufactured by Keeco. Now sheets are part of the collection, manufactured by Zorlu. Made in Turkey, the 350-count jacquard sateen sheets are available in gold, burgundy, cream and sage, and in queen and king sheet sets retailing for $99.99 each. The colors reflect back to some of the quilts and other bedding pieces, and "as we go forward I will try to continue the story."

Among the newer products are matelassé bedspreads from Mohawk, jacquard bath towels from Santens, and table linens from Avonhome. Full/queen quilt prices range between $99.99 to $149.99.

Her spring collection "will continue to be luxury but affordable," she said. And "color is still important to me. I'm all about glamour, and a lot of what I do comes from my background in fashion."

At one metropolitan NY store, Bed Bath & Beyond showed a single dressed B. Smith bed at the rear of the merchandise bay containing quilts and coverlets. Supporting stock even within the category was not contiguous, but split between a sidewall and a center rear position on a gondola.

Through her television show, "B. Smith With Style," now in its seventh season, as well as her three restaurants and two books, Smith uses all of her businesses to leverage her brand.

"I am in people's homes; it make me familiar to them," she said. And people open up to her when they do meet her: "I can almost do focus groups in my restaurants." In addition, many people "grew up" with her when she began her career as a model and later as an entrepreneur.

She also just won a Textile Designer award from Cotton Inc. for her Puzzle Box quilt design, produced by Keeco.

"What I'm doing is an extension of those things —cooking, traveling, etc. — and always with style. It's important to me that the food looks good, as well as the table."

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