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United Feather & Down Innovates Broadly

Don Hogsett -- Home Textiles Today, April 17, 2006

Des Plaines, Ill. — Reaching out to new markets and building a platform for growth by tapping into niche collections, United Feather & Down aimed squarely at the rapidly growing hospitality trade at this month's New York City market. At the same time, United targeted upscale and health-conscious consumers with a new set of “wellness” programs.

The centerpiece at market was the Joseph Abboud Hotel Collection, targeting the luxury hospitality trade and upscale consumers alike with down and down-alternative bedding.

“Because of the increasing awareness and excitement of hotel bedding, we felt the need for a solid designer look and quality in basic utility bedding aimed at luxury and small, boutique hotels,” said Bob Hickman, senior vp of sales and marketing. “So we created a high-end down and down-alternative group for hotels, and we're showing it at the Hotel Design Show in Las Vegas. The Abboud company is growing increasingly interested in the upper end of the hospitality business.”

At the same time, said Hickman, “We're showing it at retail to tap into the growing consumer awareness of the hotel qualities. By reaching the boutiques and luxury hotels, we can create a whole new avenue of business, one that can carry over into retail.”

The debut Joseph Abboud Hotel Collection focuses on three lifestyle looks, said Hickman, with a Glen Plaid classic menswear motif; a more feminine paisley in a silk and cotton blend; and a contemporary look. The Abboud group targets retails from $299 to $499 in queen comforters.

United Feather & Down has also launched a Wellness Collection and a Silverluxe group. “This has become an important market as more and more people are mindful of their health,” said Hickman.

The Seacell Wellness Collection of down bedding features a fabric that blends Tencel fiber with seaweed, said Hickman. “It's rich in minerals, vitamin E and it incorporates silver, to give it anti-microbial, anti-allergenic and anti-odor properties.” The Wellness Collection queen down comforter aims at a $299 retail price point.

A complementary Silverluxe collection features a cotton-base fabric infused with pure silver threads in a 360-count sateen. “Once again, it uses the healthful properties of silver, and it's anti-microbial, anti-odor and anti-static. And it also makes a very subtle fashion statement, with the silk threads creating a very rich, but soft, textured effect.”

Extending its reach in sheeting, as well as top of the bed, United Feather & Down has joined forces with luxury Italian bedding producer Pogessi to market a wide range of product, including sheets, comforters, pillows, duvets and coverlets. “It's a complete luxury bedding line with one of the premier Italian mills, based in Florence.

The Pogessi collection highlights three quality ranges, in a wide variety of looks, including damask, solids and prints. The group opens with a 200-count queen sheet set that aims at a $299 retail; followed by a 460-count at $499; and a 600-count at $599.

At the same time, the company is expanding its more moderately priced line of Tencel sheeting.

In a further rollout of luxury looks, United introduced a 1,000-count single-ply fabric, and an ultra-lightweight batiste in a Swiss shirting fabric. The batiste targets retail price points of $299 to $399 for a queen comforter, depending on fill.

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