Vervian created to hit neglected market

Carole Sloan, March 22, 2004

Seeing a void in the upper end of the decorative fabric market, David Finer, principal in Fabricut/S.Harris decided to start a new business.

"Instead of buying a company with its inherent problems and trying to bring it into our business, we decided to start a new business with this focus," Finer explained in an exclusive interview with HTT. "We tried to purchase existing high-end brands, but we didn't. But we saw the need for a separate brand to cater to the upper-market traditional customer."

The result: Vervain, a new company under the corporate banner, with different marketing, but utilizing the strength of the Fabri-cut/S.Harris 40-plus showroom network and sales force, Finer related. "One of the nice things about Vervain is that it fits within our network but with a separate and distinct identity."

The launch "is much more than a collection, it is a complete line started from scratch," explained Nina Butkin, vice president, design. Fabricut, she noted, represents traditional design in the mainstream, while S. Harris focuses on upper end transitional.

"From a design direction, we decided on a combination of things. In prints, we planned for traditional designs to build a room around. At the traditional high end, statement prints are important," Butkin said. The designs were derived from a mix of documents, original ideas and artwork. Once the color palette was established for the prints, "We built a line of wovens from them, but the wovens also work alone."

The 28 prints and 32 wovens are on silk, linen, cotton, rayon and blends of these natural fibers, with base cloths in high yarn counts and intricate weaves. Color was planned in "a couple of directions," Butkin related. First, the main focus with a clean, clear and fresh palette but then also an understated approach with an antique feeling. "We were very conscious of the need to establish a palette very different from the Fabricut and S.Harris looks," she said.

As for the name, "It came from brainstorming with a graphics student at a local college," Butkin related. "We explained the business and our objectives and said we wanted to get out of the box re the industry."

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