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Thomas Russell

Arley inks deal with artist Kinkade

With an eye on increasing its presence in the home textiles marketplace, Arley Corporation recently signed a licensing deal with popular American artist Thomas Kinkade.

The deal, announced by Arley Corp.'s senior vp of sales and marketing, Jerry Pittman, is for two-and-a-half years and was signed during fall market. It will encompass bedding, top-of-bed and soft window and will be unveiled for previewing in January 2002.

"We picked four of his best-selling paintings, and we're trying to translate them now," said Pittman about the development of product so far, adding that none of the designs for any of the products had been finalized yet and were still subject to approval by Kinkade and his management group. Although it had been determined that the license would encompass bedding and window, the final selection of products is also still under consideration. The construction of the bedding, as well as retail price points, were also still being discussed.

Whether the bedding will be sold as open stock or as bagged ensembles, Pittman said, will depend on retail needs. He said the line is tentatively aimed at department and specialty stores as well as certain specialty catalogs.

The four paintings — "Pools of Serenity," "End of a Perfect Day II," "Lamplight Bridge" and "A Light in the Storm" — range in looks and include a tranquil garden scene complete with gazebo; a small cabin in the woods; a village's scenic bridge; and a lighthouse next to a roiling sea. The look of each ensemble, said Lesley Brooks, art director for Arley's bedding division, will feature elements taken directly from each artwork. Kinkade's signature will also be reproduced on the face of each. Engineered looks and border scenics will most likely adorn the comforter face, with some of the main border elements pulled out as patterns for the sheeting and top-of-bed items. Just as in Kinkade's paintings, plenty of color will also make up the signature look of the line.

According to Pittman, the Kinkade deal is Arley Corp.'s first foray into the world of licensing.

"We're hoping to use this as a means of expanding our customer base," he said. "I think this will be very, very powerful for us.

"We're very excited about having this brand name."

Pittman said the popularity of Kinkade's art throughout the United States was a huge advantage to Arley as the company looks to make the license into a lifestyle brand. Kinkade, who Arley claims is the United States' most popular artist, is so recognized that the television show "60 Minutes" recently featured the California-based artist. It aired on Nov. 25, and Pittman said it would be included in Arley's marketing strategy.

"If this license has the success we think it's going to have, then there's a lot of different ways we can go forward with this," Pittman said.

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