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Outlast branches out into bedding

The world of home textiles will soon have another player as Outlast Technologies, a company usually associated with the outdoor apparel market, will be introducing a line of bedding.

According to Guy Eckert, director of sales and marketing for home furnishings, the company plans on unveiling a complete line of sleep pads, pillows, comforter, duvets, pillow cases and other top-of-bed and basic bedding items during the April market.

The winter apparel company manufactures fibers and fabrics that adapt to the micro-climate inside an individual's jacket or coat. According to the company, Outlast uses phase change materials (PCMs) that work with body heat and the outside environment to help the wearer stay comfortable. Fibers and fabrics coated with Outlast's PCMs store warmth and help a person maintain his or her thermal equilibrium.

"Looking at the technology, which is designed to create a comfortable environment around your skin, we realized home furnishings might be a sweet spot for our company," Eckert said.

The theory behind the home furnishings line, Eckert said, is based upon studies that concluded that a person gets their deepest sleep when the body is at its coolest, and therefore it begins to cool down when the sleep cycle begins. In the winter, most people begin covering up with heavy layers, which runs counter to the body's natural system, Eckert said. The Outlast bedding is designed to store the radiated heat and then return it in a steady fashion, avoiding excess perspiration and cold sweats and keeping the person's body temperature at a constant.

"Outlast eliminates those peaks and valleys and will give the consumer more of a consistent environment as they sleep," Eckert said, adding that Outlast can also be applied to virtually any fabric, manmade or natural.

Despite the wide range of the planned introduction, Outlast will shy away from getting into sheet production, at least for now, said Eckert.

Although a manufacturing partner has not been named yet, Eckert added that negotiations are ongoing with a U.S.-based company.

A full range of sizes are planned for the high-tech line, but a retail channel has not yet been determined. A mid- to high-end pricing strategy is planned, though.

In an effort to help its own cause, Eckert said Outlast is also planning on a "substantial consumer awareness" program for the first quarter of 2002.

"We have a pretty significant marketing campaign planned," he added. "It's a comprehensive plan that basically finalizes with the market launch."

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