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Kravet gets Laura Ashley license

BETHPAGE, NY -Kravet, one of the country's largest wholesalers of decorative fabrics and a converter, has been signed as a licensee for Laura Ashley Home to produce printed and woven fabrics and trimmings.

Kravet will design and market the Laura Ashley Home fabrics and trimmings under its Kravet Basics brand through its showroom network to interior designers.

It also will market the fabrics and trimmings under its Portfolio brand to fabric retailers, Laura Ashley shops and furniture galleries, said Cary Kravet, president.

Kravet joins an ever-growing roster of Laura Ashley licensees that began nearly two decades ago under the aegis of Rich Roman, now president of Revman and then with Burlington, who developed the bed and bath products.

Meri Stevens, formerly president in Weathervane Hill/Roth Fabrics, and earlier president of Waverly, will spearhead the Laura Ashley Home program for Kravet as a consultant, said Kravet.

The fabric collection is planned for a fall 2001 launch, but Kincaid-the furniture licensee that is planning an April launch-will use some of the early wovens on its upholstered frames.

No parameters have been set yet as to the number of patterns or skus that will evolve from the initial launch, Stevens said.

And while there is a lot of Laura Ashley Home product on the market, Stevens discussed the opportunities in the decorative fabrics world by saying, "It's a great opportunity. It's a brand with such a high recognition factor-90 percent. All I have to do is make it right for today."

Stevens added, "Everyone has a nice feeling about the brand-warm and fuzzy feelings. And the demographics are high on it."

As for the wholesaler, Kravet remarked, "We're very excited about developing a different look. Laura Ashley is a departure for us."

He added, "The brand has a big following and a lot of credibility."

Kravet will develop the program using the archives of the Laura Ashley studios from the past 50 years, both in Boston and the United Kingdom.

"We plan to support the program with a lot of marketing," Kravet added.

The licensing program in the United States is under the aegis of Ivy Tan, vp, marketing of the Laura Ashley North America business, based in Boston.

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