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Elrene to add Warren Kimble

NEW YORK -Adding to its growing roster of licensees, Elrene Home Fashions earlier this month signed a deal with American folk artist Warren Kimble to create a new lineup of table linens. The partnership came together just in time for a soft launch of product at mini-market in February.

"Because holiday is so hot, we didn't want to miss the opportunity to include Warren Kimble product in our selection," said Christine Ullman, executive vp. Elrene's design staff began creating Warren Kimble product last week for mini-market. A major launch for fall 2001 is scheduled for April.

Elrene shares the Warren Kimble license with casual dinnerware brand Sakura and will tie in its vinyl and fabric pieces with Sakura's line. The company intends to sell the merchandise under its Elrene brand to both discounters and upstairs specialty retailers.

Dubbed "America's best known living folk artist," Vermont-based Kimble uses the themes of country living, rural scenery and the American flag in his American folk-inspired work.

For mini-market, Elrene will produce two collections-harvest and Christmas-of kitchen linens.

"He's got such a signature look that it really welcomes the harvest and holiday season," Ullman said.

Elrene, which boasts 75 years in the table linen industry and four generations of the Siegel family in its company, only started working with licensees about five years ago, said president Mark Siegel. The Warren Kimble license is the fifth the company has signed on.

"Our Warren Kimble license is the only license that we share with another company," said Siegel

Other licensees include Sunbeam, Daisy Kingdom, Villeroy & Boch and most recently designer Sue Zipkin, who creates colorful patterns for the Sweet Shoppe Dinnerware collection by Sango.

Elrene's Zipkin lines of table linens and kitchen textiles will be introduced for mini-market to coordinate with Sango's line selling at department and specialty stores. But like its Warren Kimble lines, Elrene plans to officially introduce its Zipkin lines at April market.

"We have one particular retailer who is getting exclusive rights [to our Zipkin lines]," Siegel said.

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