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Seen and heard at the NY market

Line extensions, licensing agreements, new category launches and cross-supplier joint ventures — there was plenty of newness at the recent New York Home Textiles Market.

Avanti Linens, Moonachie, NJ, debuted a line of German-made paper guest towels, its first imported product. The towels are available in 10 patterns that coordinate with the company's top-selling embroidered towel designs. There are plans to expand the program to include more designs, Jeffrey Kaufman, president and coo, told HTT.

Also new is a line of domestically made tub mats that coordinates with embroidered towel ensembles. They are available in 10 styles and 18 colorways.

The Bacova Guild Ltd., High Point, NC, launched its first line made in India. It includes chenille printed, chenille embroidered printed, chenille bouclé embroidered, tabletop chenille embroidered, tabletop chenille cotton, woven and shag leather styles, printed leather, sari-like designs with quilted patterns and cotton rope constructions.

India represents the third country from which Bacova sources some of its programs — the others are Egypt and China, Charlie Bowers, president, told HTT. A large portion of Bacova's offerings are made domestically.

The Baltic Linen Co., Valley Stream, NY, added two new coordinating product categories — bath accessories and window treatments — to its existing mix of bedding and bath towels.

The window treatments directly coordinate to the new bedding collections. The12 patterns are available in jacquard, micro-fiber, suede, yard dyed cotton, yarn dyed chenille and pieced dyed jacquard constructions.

Bath accessories launched with a small collection of four-piece pre-packaged ceramic sets that coordinate with three bath ensemble collections made of velour, terry and yarn dyed jacquard.

The company has also expanded its decorative pillow offerings, all of which coordinate back to bedding collections. Each bedding collection now has four to six coordinating decorative pillows as opposed to one or two, which was the case before.

Bianca USA, New York, has begun positioning its bath towels under nine distinct name brands, all of them including the Bianca name, said Shannon Lucas, designer.

Each group will produce five to eight designs each market and will hit distinct price points. Constructions include sculpted, velour, jacquard and embroidery, she said.

The collections include Seascapes, Stars & Stripes, Farrington House, The Golden Age, Travel, Maxime Hadley, Pretty in the City, Cotton Culture and Vintage Home.

Biddeford Blankets, Biddeford, ME, has signed a license with mattress maker Sealy to market a line of automatic blankets and throws to be marketed under the Sealy Posturepedic nameplate.

"We're targeting this to sell above the mass market level, to the department and specialty stores. It will be the new top of our line," said Robert Van Jones, vp of sales and marketing.

After emerging from bankruptcy with a beefed up and revitalized line, Biddeford showed off a range of Sealy Posturepedic product as it made its first appearance in several years at the New York Home Textiles Market.

"Sealy gives us the power and prestige we need to get to the next level in sales," Jones added. "It's one of the best recognized names in home furnishings. This is the top of our line, and it will allow us to build, to trade up our line from acrylic to a microfiber shell in some products."

Brumlow Home, Calhoun, GA, launched a new line of accent and area rugs, made from 100 percent nylon broadloom, that feature machine-carved designs.

The company was able to produce the line using new carving equipment it recently added to its headquarters. The line is available in eight solid designs and eight colorways.

The company's Hilasal bath and beach towel division presented a new pre-packaged Back-to-School bath set that includes plastic bath accessories. The five-piece set includes two shower sheets, a toothbrush holder, a soap dish and a metal mesh.

Burlington Rug Co., Monticello, AR, has forged a strategic alliance with towel manufacturer Cambridge Bath Fashions to produce a coordinated line of bath towels and bath rugs. The all-nylon bath rugs are produced at Burlington's manufacturing facility.

Cambridge, Cambridge, Ontario, makes solid color and patterned bath towel ensembles made of 100 percent ring spun cotton, produced at company headquarters as well as its U.S.-based plant in Belton, SC. The towel line comprises 20 colorways including pastels, natural and spice hues.

"It's a different customer for us and a different customer for Burlington," said Daniel Tamkin, president, coo, Cambridge. "This alliance allows us to provide our retailers a full bath program, with competitively priced, made-in-North-American product." Tamkin added that one reason for the alliance was to compete for market share made available as a result of Pillowtex's demise.

Cecil Saydah International (CSI), Los Angeles, has partnered with the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF) to produce a line of kitchen textiles, bath products, scatter rugs and doormats that feature the artwork of children with cancer. A portion of the sales go to the PCRF.

The licensing agreement marks the first for the PCRF, which was established in 1982 to help fund childhood cancer research. Every year, the foundation creates a line of cards with young cancer victims' drawings. To date, the foundation has raised more than $12 million.

"The cute designs are what first drew me to the cards," said Deborah Powell, director of licensing. "Our hope is this will translate to home textiles products with the same excitement."

CMI (Colonial Mills Inc.), Pawtucket, RI, presented a soft launch of its newest licensed programs — Janelle Lampp and Leslie Beck.

Under the Simply Home: A Janelle Style Collection label, CMI is producing 100 percent polypropylene indoor/outdoor mats. Rectangular in shape, these mats are available in six patterns and 18 colorways.

The Leslie Beck launch comprises braided rugs made of fabric. It resembles CMI's first license with designer Lynette Jennings for the Thimbleberries brand of braided rugs that coordinate with top of bed.

Don Scarlata, president, said the official launch of both collections is slated for October at the home furnishings market in High Point, NC.

Concord Global Trading, New York, has opened a new 30,000-square-foot distribution and warehousing facility in Jefferson, GA. It is the second site for the company, which also owns and operates a 10,000-square-foot facility in New Brunswick, NJ. The company is a Turkish manufacturer of heat set polypropylene area rugs, also available as rounds, runners and room-size rugs.

At market, Concord introduced its new Talya collection, a 525,000-point heat-set polypropylene assortment in nine traditional, transitional and modern designs. A 5' x 8' is set to retail for $199. It caters to department stores and independent floor covering dealers.

Dan River, New York, has acquired the license for "Astro Boy," the new Sony Pictures Television Japanese anime series set to debut on the Kids' WB network in early 2004. The domestic manufacturing giant will be producing comforters, bedspreads, duvets, quilts, sheeting, bed skirts, pillow shams, decorative pillows, blankets, window treatments, laundry bags and accent rugs based on characters from the show.

Ex-Cell Home Fashions, New York, launched its line of licensed bath products with Tabletops Unlimited. The company introduced three collections that employ popular designs from the licensor's popular tabletop line.

Glenoit Rugs, New York, has expanded into imports, and at the recent market showed accent, scatter and kitchen rugs from India and China.

This new assortment includes printed cotton jacquards in kitchen and scatter sizes, printed cotton designs, solid color jute, solid color cotton chenille and jute with cotton sari borders with embroidered designs.

Home Comfort, Atlanta, will add Warren Kimble designs to its Jellybean accent rugs. The accent and area rug maker inked a licensing agreement with the folk artist to bring out a line in 2004.

The Jellybean rugs are made of a polypropylene/ acrylic blend and are machine-washable. Available in a 22" x 34" size, they also come as 6-foot squares, with both styles carrying an approximate retail of $29.99.

Huntingdon Home, Montreal, launched its collection of synthetic throws and coordinating decorative pillows under its license partnership with Textillery Weavers.

The machine-washable collection targets mid-level to upstairs retailers. Constructions among the 50 skus include faux chenille, faux fur, dagoli, plush and sculpted plush. All of the products are made at company headquarters.

The throws measure 50" x 60" and are set to retail for $60 to $75. Coordinating decorative pillows, which measure 20" x 20", have suggested retail price points of $28 to $35. The decorative pillows have removable covers.

Huntingdon Home, which opened its doors about one year ago, is a division of apparel manufacturer Huntingdon Mills. Aside from Textillery Weavers, the company also produces its own line under its company-name label that targets mid-tier retailers.

Louisville Bedding, Louisville, KY, introduced foam pillows that come in regular shapes and sizes — standard, queen and king. The 17 new introductions include smart foam, shredded latex and shredded visco elastic varieties.

The company has also introduced a luxury European collection of pillows and mattress pads made from European double layered jacquards. Retail prices range from $79.99 to $109.99 for queen-size mattress pads that feature a matelasse face with some trapunto elements. Louisville will also offer its patented Expand-a-Grip bed skirt to fit 15-, 20-and 24-inch mattresses.

Saturday Knight Ltd., Cincinnati, added imported stand-alone scatter and bath rugs made in India and China. Accent constructions include jute, printed jute, sea grass, leather, leather and jute blends, chenille, cotton woven, polyester, cotton and silk blends and polypropylene. Bath constructions include cotton and chenille looks with embroidered and embellished designs.

The company also expanded its standalone bath towel ensemble business by 25 percent, with many ensembles coordinating with some stand-alone bath rug designs.

Table linens and bath towel supplier Stone Brook Linens, Edison, NJ, added beach towels to its terry offerings. The collection is yarn dyed in stripe designs and set to retail for $11.99. The beach towels coordinate with a line of bath towels, which are set to retail at $9.99.

Town and Country Living, New York, expanded its licensed program with designer Laura Ashley to include table linens and kitchen textiles — all of which debuted at market. Since last year, Town and Country has also been Ashley's licensee for decorative pillows.

Trade Am, Norcross, GA, has expanded its design studio in Atlanta, more than doubling the space to 3,000 square feet. The rug, table linen, decorative pillow and bedding importer's goal is to produce all marketing materials in-house — advertisements, labels, customer presentation materials and showroom graphics — and enhance its archive of product development and artwork.

Bedding and table linens supplier W-C Design, Anaheim, CA, more than doubled its decorative pillow offerings with the introduction of a large assortment of stand-alone styles.

In the past, the company's decorative pillow line coordinated directly to bedding collections. The new decorative pillows, all targeting an upstairs distribution base, are available in several colorways and styles and feature various types of embellishments.

Also new, W-C revamped its Waterford table linens collection with more contemporary looks and colors borrowing from traditional designs, said Kathleen Moore, director of design.

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