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  • Cecile Corral

Gold Coast hopes to strike it rich selling direct

NEW YORK -Gold Coast, an overseas manufacturer of decorative pillows and throws, will be for the first time courting retailers at the upcoming New York Home Textiles Show.

Gold Coast has spent the past seven years generating $15 million in business strictly supplying one major domestic distributor with "millions of units" from its broad line of decorative pillows and throws, many of which are made of chenille, manufactured in its Shanghai, China facility.

But now, Gold Coast is restructuring its business strategy to add "direct supplier" to its offerings and extending its reach to include major department stores and upscale retailers, said Steven James Gordon, executive vp.

"We made the decision to go direct, and it has exploded," Gordon said. "We're looking to build on creativity and fashion."

Added DaZhou Wang, chairman and ceo: "We want to be the primary pillow and throw manufacturer in the country. We want to be the fashion house of this category."

Gold Coast's experience as a direct provider stems from the company's years in the business as a major overseas manufacturer of gift products and cosmetic goods, in addition to home textiles. Gold Coast's sister divisions include Icon Group, a tabletop and gifts manufacturer; and recent acquisition Drummers, a cosmetic goods manufacturer. All products are made in Shanghai, China, where Gold Coast owns major manufacturing facilities.

"We do importing, warehousing programs, private-label programs. We already do all levels," Gordon said. "We know the business."

In light of increasing competition and a slowing economy, Gordon acknowledged the timing of the company's entrance into the category as a direct provider is not ideal.

"We did a soft entrance. We didn't take out any ads intentionally," he said. "We've been pretty conservative and our response so far has been better than expected."

Gold Coast initially started partnering with retailers in February at the winter mini-market here. "We had 30 to 40 appointments," Gordon said.

For spring market, when it officially launches its new business strategy as a direct provider, Gordon said he expects "more than 100 appointments" to show up at the new showroom, Ste. 1003 at 295 Fifth Ave., where Gold Coast has been a tenant for one month.

"We're already working with some (retail partners) now, before the show," Gordon said. "We can pick up the phone and talk directly to the president or gmm when we call. [Retailers] want to deal with fewer and fewer resources. They want to simplify the process and we are looking to do that. Now, they have the opportunity to buy soft goods directly from us."

For April, Gold Coast will introduce 10 new coordinating collections, including crushed velvet.

"And everything we are introducing in April we can deliver in the fall, and not everyone can say that," Gordon said.

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