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Lichtenberg tries shower curtains

After concentrating solely on soft window treatments since its inception, S. Lichtenberg and Co. is now preparing to branch out into shower curtains.

A product launch is slated for October during the New York Home Textiles Market, Carl Goldstein, svp, told Home Textiles Today.

The company first tested the shower curtain category in April with about 24 free-standing fabric shower curtains on preview for channels of trade ranging from mass merchants to department stores.

"It was very well received, enough that we decided to get into it for October," Goldstein said. "We have the financial strength, the distribution and the marketing knowledge to do it right."

For the October launch, the company will introduce 40 patterns in three fabric constructions — some 100 percent cotton offerings; some poly-cotton blends; and mostly 100 percent polyester varieties. The majority of the line is imported from China and India, with limited cut-and-sew work done domestically.

Spearheading the effort is Karen Wertz, director of product development. Wertz joined S. Lichtenberg in April after leaving Guilford Home, where she was design director for window and shower curtains.

Of the new line, only a handful was represented during the April test. Wertz said many of the designs feature embellishments and embroideries, "borrowing from a lot of the looks you see now in apparel."

"From my previous experience, I am able to bring some design concept ideas that I know have worked in the past for [Guilford] and that I know will work for S. Lichtenberg, as well," Wertz said. "Adding shower curtains to our line is certainly a way to grow the company's business. It will never be as big as window, but in a way it's a natural extension of what we have and what we know how to do best and it compliments it."

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