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Fallani & Cohn acquires Audrey Table Linens

Also signs deal for Royal Doulton license

Within the span of a week late last month, table linen manufacturer and importer Fallani & Cohn forged two business deals to help it continue moving forward as a major industry supplier.

First, it signed an agreement to be the new licensee of luxury china and giftware The Royal Doulton Company for kitchen textiles and table linens. And then days later it acquired longtime competitor Audrey Table Linens from investment company VKO Inc., which had bought out the then-privately held company in January 2001.

The deals are complementary as Royal Doulton has been licensing its name to Audrey Table Linens for the same products since October 2001.

Fallani & Cohn became interested in the two propositions upon learning from a broker that VKO was giving up its Audrey Table Linens division and, as a result, Royal Doulton was losing its successful partner.

"It's really two separate deals — we didn't have to acquire Audrey to get the Royal Doulton license," Larry Kay, ceo, told Home Textiles Today. "But it was beneficial to us to have both because Audrey [Friedman, who owned and operated Audrey Table Linens for 27 years and stayed on board with VKO as the division's director of design and product development] developed a great line for Royal Doulton, and with both we are able to get shelf space in various retail channels we aren't currently in, like department stores. We want to conquer that business right now and being that Audrey has a strong name and Royal Doulton has a strong name, we think we can accomplish that."

Fallani & Cohn will launch its first line of Royal Doulton products, designed and developed by Friedman, in October at the New York Home Textiles market. For this initial introduction, the company will present an elegant collection — comprising high-quality embroidered and printed tablecloths, place mats and napkin — as well as a casual collection that includes oven mitts, pot holders, place mats, napkins, kitchen towels, chair pads and two new products for the company — window valances and 2' x 4' and 3' x 5' accent rugs.

Kay said all the products will be imported from Taiwan, China or India. All warehousing, distributing and administrative work will be based at Fallani & Cohn's 100,000-square-foot corporate headquarters and facility here.

While Fallani & Cohn has its own showroom at 295 Fifth Ave. in suite 319, Kay said that as of October the company will permanently relocate to the larger Audrey Table Linens showroom in suite 904. Friedman will retain her title and will also continue to be based from the showroom, Kay added.

"We want to make a full coordinate presentation to become the one-stop shop for Royal Doulton table linens and kitchen textiles," said Ana Werbel, national sales manager, Fallani & Cohn.

Royal Doulton represents Fallani & Cohn's only current licensing partnership, although the company has worked with others in the past.

"This is the most important one for us to date," Werbel said.

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