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Mohawk straightens out chenille fringe biz

Heath E. Combs, Cecile Corral -- Home Textiles Today, April 30, 2001

SUGAR VALLEY, GA — Mohawk Home says it has discovered the secret to untangling those unruly fringes of its chenille rayon throws that tend to bundle up into taut knots — sometimes even before the customer takes the throw out of its bag.

Using a patent-pending technology created by technical experts at Mohawk's factories, based here, the company has "found the solution to this problem," said Jamie Tilghman, vp, global sourcing.

"If you ask any retailer about rayon chenille throws, they'll tell you that the nature of rayon is that one side of fringe tends to form into a tangled ball, even in the bag, because it's going against the grain of the yarn," Tilghman said. "The solution we came up with changes the nature of yarn on the fringe so that it doesn't form into a tangled ball, but allows it to stay tangle free."

Tangled fringes have long been a problem for throw manufacturers. In fact, at least one manufacturer of throws adds labels to its packaged product urging customers to run their fingers through the fringe of the throw daily to reduce tangling.

"Ours is a proprietary process produced exclusively by Mohawk Home," said Pat Moyer, vp, marketing. "Any rayon chenille throw not finished with this process can get tangled."

Mohawk started working on the tangle-free technology last summer.

"It took us almost a year to perfect it," Moyer said.

Mohawk will not domestically produce the throws with the tangle-free fringes. Instead, these throws will be developed with Mohawk's partners overseas.

"We are showing them how to implement the technology in the throws," Moyer said.

Mohawk is taking a stronger interest in improving its chenille throw products in part because "this is an emerging category for us," Moyer said. "Chenilles are one of the fastest growing segments of our throw category. It's just under 20 percent of our total throw business, and it's growing probably as fast as any category we have in throws. Chenilles, in general, are still growing fast."

Aside from chenille throws, Mohawk also produces — domestically and overseas — tapestry, fleece, jacquard, burn-out velvets, embossed velvets, high pile raschel knit and other types of throws.

The new chenille rayon throws with the tangle-free guarantee fringe will retail for $19.99 to $99.00 and will roll out to stores — mass, mid-tier, specialty, catalog, department and independent gift — in June.

"Our intention is that if we sell any product we want it to be made of the highest quality," Moyer said. "We are always looking for new ways to give the customer better product."

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