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  • Cecile Corral

Venus Home Trades Up

Foot Hill Ranch, Calif. — Armed with a new, state-of-the-art towel and sheeting manufacturing plant in India, a newly inked designer licensing partnership, and a new staff of design and sales executives, 36-year-old family owned and operated Venus Home is taking its business to "higher" roads.

By "higher," Venus means it is trading up its distribution with discount retailers for mid- to higher-end retail customers, who the company is courting with improved product lines and new brand partnerships with both HGTV decorator Candice Olson and longtime domestic fiber and textiles technology resource Milliken, explained Shiv Shankaran, general manager.

"Our aim is to focus more on upscale products vs. the opening price point products, where there is too much competition from suppliers in India and Pakistan," Shankaran told HTT. "We have decided that we don't want to fight in the price wars, but rather offer quality product to the market."

At the crux of this new business approach is Venus' new towel and sheeting factory. Located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, the plant represents "a 100% vertical setup" for cotton goods production, Shankaran said.

"Even the growing of the cotton is controlled by us," he explained. "We give the seed to farmers to grow the cotton. We spin the yarn ourselves. And we produce the product ourselves at this facility. It's truly a vertical operation."

Also at the site the company manufactures some of its sheet sets. Among them is the new Milliken-branded VisaEndurance 400-count sateen sheet set program. Through a recent partnership between the two companies, Milliken provides new high-performance technologies — such as VisaEndurance, which treats the product for easier cleaning, stain release and anti-microbial features — and Venus makes the solid-colored sheets at its new plant.

"All of these products are co-branded Milliken and Venus," Shankaran noted.

The recently launched Candice Olson collection encompasses bath coordinate groups comprised of shower curtains, bath towels, bath rugs and accessories in four fashion styles. The bath towels come in two solid-colored styles — a two-ply combed cotton towel made at Venus' new plant, and a Supima low-twist towel imported from China.

To its own house line, Venus recently debuted several fashion bedding patterns that represent a departure from its former styles.

"The emphasis is now on more contemporary, modern looks," Shankaran said. "We are trying to bring to the customer design that is easy to comprehend and easy to buy."

This assortment includes organic cotton sheets from Pakistan and several top-of-bed looks from China and Pakistan.

Venus' new design direction was spearheaded by the company's corporate design director, Cynthia Lerner, formerly design director of WestPoint Home, who joined Venus in January. Several other newcomers have since joined Venus as part of he company's redirection. They include: Keith Leal, vp sales and marketing; Lor.Raine Samuels, vp sales; and Ryan Nicholson, vp sales.

Aside from its new towel plant in India, Venus — which is owned by brothers Kirit and Raj Patel — also owns and operates another towel plant in Southern India. This site, opened three years ago, is where mainly white goods are produced for the company's hospitality market customers.

All bedding that is sourced from China is handled from a company-owned office in Shanghai.

The corporate offices and main warehouse and manufacturing plant for institutional goods — table linens, aprons and some sheets — are based here in Foot Hill Ranch, Calif.

And the company operates several warehouses via third party throughout the United States – two in California, one in Charleston, S.C., one in Portland, Ore., and one in Atlanta.

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