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Vanderbilt Home still seeking partner

The Gloria Vanderbilt Home and Garden company is finding that re-entering the world of home textiles with a line of Gloria Vanderbilt branded products includes a number of challenges and obstacles.

A little less than a year after announcing the re-introduction of the Vanderbilt name into home textiles, the company has hit some snags, namely finding a manufacturing partner or partners for the various products the company would like to bring to the marketplace. The biggest problem, said Susan Olshan, vp of marketing and creative services, has been the reluctance of manufacturers to take on a licensed collection without the assurance of shelf space in an already crowded licensed field.

According to Olshan, Vanderbilt Garden and Home would prefer to ink a deal with a manufacturer and then approach a retailer with resources in hand. However, she said, manufacturers had told the company they preferred Vanderbilt Garden and Home to approach retailers first, secure an agreement for shelf space and then return and sign a manufacturing deal.

The company had hoped to have product ready for viewing for the 2002 October market but has since pushed back its target date to the 2003 April market.

"We're looking to somebody who is looking to take a leadership position in textiles. Someone who is willing to take on new ideas, new products, new technique for selling products and new merchandising methods," said Olshan.

Olshan said the company would prefer to go with a single company that could manufacture and market bed, bath, soft tabletop, rugs and window treatments. However, reaching agreements with several companies is also acceptable. She added that Vanderbilt Home and Garden is poised to sign a deal with a sheet and top-of-bed company, but the door remains open for any company in any of the other businesses which Vanderbilt is looking to enter.

The Gloria Vanderbilt Collage Collection is the umbrella name for the soft home offerings. Nine looks make up the core, Archive, a classic line; Penthouse, an urban sophisticated line; Hacienda and Casa, both of which feature bold colorations; Private Island, which features a sophisticated spa retreat look; Nantucket, an everyday casual look; Nantucket Americana, with red, white and blue; English Mod, a '60s collection with an English flavor; and SoHo, a young urban, loft-living look. Vanderbaby, a baby's collection with three looks, is also part of the overall collection.

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