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Dan River, Seventeen deal expands brand's reach

Marvin Lazaro -- Home Textiles Today, February 3, 2003

Atlanta — Dan River Home Fashions for Kids has corraled one of the most recognizable brands in the United States — if not worldwide — through a licensing deal with Seventeen magazine.

It marks yet another foray for Dan River into a potentially lucrative market segment: young women 12- to 24-years-old.

Seventeen, published by Primedia, has a paid circulation of 2.4 million, or one out of every two female teenagers and one out of every five women from the ages of 18 to 24.

The 55-year-old publication is the largest monthly beauty/fashion magazine in the United States and is aimed at the 12- to 24-year-old demographic with 87 percent penetration in that market.

Although the line might ultimately find broad acceptance at a variety of retailers, it is available for now only through JCPenney, said Laurie Berkin, director of licensing and marketing for Dan River Home Fashions for Kids.

Time and the line's success will determine whether it is offered to other retail channels in the future, she added.

Despite the already crowded juvenile bedding picture at retail, Jacqueline Blum, president of Primedia Enterprises, the magazine's licensing arm, said the Seventeen line is "incredibly viable" and its launch has been a "huge success."

"It has exceeded our expectations, and orders have been stepped up and increased as a result of the sell-through," Blum. "I think the teen market is a little starved for unique, trendy styles, and Seventeen is the leader for girls in trend and fashion. [The line] really lends itself to this arena and how girls decorate their spaces."

Dan River is responsible for marketing and selling the line. Blum said a variety of support will be supplied, whether through Seventeen's website or pages in the magazine, but "we don't give away free advertising."

The Seventeen line consists of complete bedding ensembles as well as coordinating accessories and is already available through 600 JCPenney stores, its catalog and its website. According to Berkin, the two-ensemble line keeps its target audience in mind with twin through queen-size ensembles only — king is not in the mix.

On of the styles, Starstruck, features a satin base with a sheer overlay on its comforter face with cutout stars, while Spice is a jacquard woven top-of-bed reversing to a solid velvet back. Coordinating 210-count, cotton-rich sheets are available for each ensemble as well as two sizes each of decorative pillows and soft window coverings.

Retail prices for a comforter range from $69.99 for a twin to $89.99 for a queen. Soft window coverings are in the $39.99 to $49.99 range, while the two decorative pillows are $19.99 each.

The line was designed as a result of collaboration between Dan River and Seventeen's own designers.

"Seventeen and JCPenney allow us to reach a new audience of young women who are eager to express their individuality and personalities as they decorate their bedrooms," said Dan Hammer, senior vp of sales and marketing for Dan River.

According to Blum, the Seventeen name is moving toward a more significant role in room decor. "We want to decorate the girls' entire room," she said.

Dan River is a powerhouse in the world of juvenile home textiles. In addition to the Seventeen line, the mill carries its own self-branded Kaleidoscope line, also aimed at teens.

Warner Bros., Barbie, the various professional sports leagues, the NCAA and many movies are all part of its stable.

Blum said over 20 licensees currently produce or supply Seventeen brand products, and the goal is to "have great coordination between all of them."

"Primedia is in the process of developing licensed product, and we thought there a good fit here for them," said Berkin. She added that the line may be expanded and that further development is under way.

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