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A new way to dress up sales

In this issue, tucked among all the information about the upcoming market and the new products and marketing activities that come along with market, are some profiles on retailers that don't come to this market.

But they are retailers of home textiles, in some measure of their significance; one chain has 1,500 beds that are redressed twice a year. That's an awful lot of bedding.

And we're not talking about bed in a bag. We're talking wonderful fabrics, lots of embellishments and decorator details, and pillows, pillows and more pillows.

Others use throw pillows like popcorn coming out of a machine. But these are not your everyday promotional $20 and $30 pillows in this season's fabric du jour-chenille-the successor to the '90s fabric-chintz.

No, we're talking about elaborately decorated and lusciously covered pillows in the three-digit price points. Yes that's $100 and up.

And they sit on every sofa in the store, pile out of armoires and are part of feature fashion statements throughout the stores.

As for the throws that are draped across the backs and arms of the furniture, we're not talking about the basic promotional stuff that the marts push. No, these are supersoft, cuddly fabrics, in wonderful colors.

Now before all of you suppliers out there get overwrought about a whole new audience-a.k.a. customer-think about what these retailers need and get.

Their customers are buying a bed or a bedroom of furniture that easily hits the four-figure mark-and easily moves up to the five-figure level.

When these retailers dress the beds, they're dressing the bedroom. Neither they nor their customers are worried-or even interested-in whether they are buying the cheapest 250-count sheet at $4.94. They are interested in buying what will enhance their total bedroom look.

Or the accents that will make their living rooms and dining rooms something special.

It's a concept that to date has evaded the psyches of mainstream home textiles suppliers and retailers. But it's a big business out there. And those folks who are moaning and groaning about the problems in the mainstream could well walk through some of these stores for ideas on another way to do business.

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