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  • Cecile Corral

Fashion Inds. moves into rugs, throws

Griffin, GA — Decorative pillow and table linen manufacturer and importer Fashion Industries, based here, is adding another feather to its cap of home textile categories.

As seen at the New York Home Textiles market, Fashion Industries converted its showroom's conference area to make room for a new display of area and accent rugs, bath rugs and throws — all of which represent new categories and importing businesses for the company.

With the launch of the new product categories, the company hired three executives, all formerly from area rug importer Trade Am: James Saleh, vp, rug division, who was the former senior vp of sales and marketing for Trade Am; Gerrit Swearingen, account manager, who held the same position previously at Trade Am; and Donna Hintson, account manager, who also held the same titled formerly at Trade Am. All three are based in Atlanta.

"Fashion wanted to diversify into more product categories to be more competitive," said Saleh. "These new categories are a natural progression of expansion for us."

Fashion Industries first entered the rug category in February.

"Back then we just focused on the hand-hooked area rugs and the nylon bath rugs. We got a great response, so now we have well-rounded lines and increased the category at least fourfold," said Saleh.

Saleh explained that for the New York market event, Fashion Industries introduced about 100 different designs of area and accent rugs in varied constructions, including: hand-hooked and tufted rugs from China; polypropylene rugs from France; Indo-tufted, Indo-hooked and cotton woven rugs from India; and a broad collection of natural fiber rugs from both India and China.

In bath rugs, the company introduced nylon and cotton varieties made in India and Egypt.

Within Fashion Industries' expansion, the company announced it is also positioning itself as a global sourcer for "new and innovative home textile products like new constructions in decorative pillows, woven throws out of China and India and door mats," Saleh explained.

The company has introduced two constructions in door mats — heavy-weight rubber mats from Sri Lanka and coir mats from India.

Saleh said price points for the new product categories cater to all levels of retail.

Area rugs are priced at $79.99 to $399; door mats, with 30 designs available, are set to retail at $4.99 to $19.99; bath rugs, available in 30 to 50 designs, will cost at the store level $4.99 to $19.99; and throws, which are imported from China and Sri Lanka and are considered the most promotional of the new categories, are set at $9.99 to $12.99.

Decorative pillows and table linens are Fashion Industries continue to be the company's business mainstays.

But Saleh's goal for 2003 is to make the rug division "to be at least one third of our total business."

"This market, we had a tremendous response as well as product placement based on our introductions," Saleh said. "Even though we did have cancellations coming into market, we had a fabulous response. We will continue expanding and growing this new division."

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