follow us

Home Alone 3

Warren Shoulberg, editorial director for HTT, always seems to have something to say about things.
  • Truth in Textiles

    The global home textiles industry is rapidly – and very suddenly – coming to grips with the idea that it needs to look before it leaps. With reports of a big retailer – Target – cancelling its business with a large global supplier – and pulling the products from its shelves – because what was inside the package didn’t match the labeling, there is now real debate about making sure customers are getting what they are being told they are getting. For those in the global home textiles industry, this does not come as a shock, even if the particulars of who got caught – Welspun ... Read More
  • New Business…New Business Models

    Remember the old days when if you were a factory in Asia all you had to do was to be able to manufacture textiles product inexpensively and find a way to efficiently get them from your loading dock to retailers and importers around the world. Ah, those were indeed the good old days. As the textiles world gathers in China next week for Intertextile Shanghai Home Textiles the road to global success is very different. Just being a low-cost producer with a good logistics department isn’t enough anymore. Many things have changed, but as it has with just about ... Read More
  • Sriracha Retailing

    OK, here’s your quiz for the day: What do all of the faster growing players in the home textiles retail business have in common? A. The best prices B. The best products. C. The best customer service. D. The best locations Time’s up. Did you get the right answer? It’s obviously E, none of the above. In today’s retail environment, it’s not really about having the lowest price in town. Or the best products. Or terrific customer service and locations. It’s all about being different. About offering the customer a shopping experience they can ... Read More
  • Donald Trump’s Home Furnishings Connection

    Abraham Lincoln may have a room with his name on it in the White House, but it’s a pretty safe bet that Donald Trump is the only person in presidential politics to ever have a credenza named after him. Regardless of your politics, it’s a rather fascinating little aside that Donald Trump, through his brand licensing, has been involved in the home furnishings business over the years with products in several key categories bearing his name. The most prominent Trump products were in furniture, where Lexington Brands had a program for several years that was featured at Macy ... Read More
  • Who Moved My Recovery?

    A lot of people are getting pretty sick and tired of this business rebound that continues to be out there … somewhere … on the horizon … somewhere. Yes, the economy is better and none of us should lose sight of the fact that the economic picture is better in the United States than virtually anyplace else on the planet. The housing market is strong, employment is starting to enter historically high levels, and with lower gas prices and higher wages, people just have more spending money in their pockets. But every first quarter for the past several years we’ve been sold ... Read More
  • The Limited

    No, not the fashion apparel store, but the increasing trend of retailers offering limited editions products and collections to create a sense of urgency on the part of shoppers. The latest example is Ikea, which has been otherwise well known for very long runs on benchmark products, some of which it has been selling for decades. Last week it announced it would be bringing a short-run, limited edition line of bedding, rugs and decorative accessories created by Belgian designer Walter Van Beirendonck into its U.S. stores this month. It’s a pretty radical idea for this particular retailer but ... Read More
  • Follow the money

    We’ve all heard the line from Willie Sutton, the infamous bank robber who, when asked, why he robbed banks, answered, “Cause that’s where the money is.” It’s time for the home textiles industry to start thinking the same way. It’s no secret that business over the first half of the year has been spotty at best. There’s no denying that it has not lived up to earlier forecasts that 2016 was finally going to be the breakout year for the American economy. Low gas prices, bustling housing market, fuller employment: all signs pointed to better ... Read More
  • Excess on Herald Square

    Let me say right off the bat that I like most of the things Macy’s has done – and is doing – to keep the modern American department store relevant and in business. They have my respect and admiration and I have the credit card statement to prove it. But maybe, just maybe, it’s time for the merchandising honchos over there to take a look at some of their assortments – particularly in home textiles – and ask the pointed question whether enough is… well, more than enough. As evidence I reference a recent sale catalog the store issued, this one was ... Read More
  • Truth in Textiles

    Liar, liar, sheets on fire. Let’s face it, complete honesty and transparency has never been a hallmark of the overall home textiles industry. The folks who make and sell sheets and towels have been making up euphemisms for their products for generations. Down alternative? Cotton rich? 160-count percale? Billion thread count? The packaging archives are full of products that while they weren’t exactly mislabeled or misrepresented didn’t excel at giving shoppers the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And in fairness, home textiles is no different from lots of other consumer products or other ... Read More
  • Omni-oblivious

    To the news that Victoria’s Secret is going to be scaling back – perhaps even eliminating – its print catalog going forward, all one can say is they must have their underwear on too tight over there. While the rest of the retail world is embracing the omnichannel strategy – be anywhere and everywhere your customer wants to connect with you and be able to sell them accordingly – the VS folks seem to have decided the cost of printing and mailing all of those catalogs is just too expensive. Well, so are electricity in the stores, web programmer salaries and the ships ... Read More
  • What a Wonderful FIT

    There was a time when I looked at those speed bumps on 27th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues on Manhattan’s West Side as just an annoying hindrance to getting across town. Then I got to know FIT. This year the Home Products Development department at the Fashion Institute of Technology celebrates the 20th anniversary of the admittance of its first class. It is a wonderful celebration, as hopefully you will read about elsewhere in this issue. But as someone who has been involved in the program since …well, since before the beginning, this milestone is particularly meaningful. Before ... Read More
  • Eyes on March

    It isn’t every year that the New York home textiles market week falls during one of the most infamous dates in history, when a Senate even more dysfunctional than the one we have now decided to off the leader of the country. That doesn’t happen anymore, the ambushes are strictly political these days. Which isn’t to say there still isn’t much to beware of during the semi-annual gathering of buyers and sellers this week. But there are also many things to be aware of as well. Beware the crumbling retailers out there. Sears and Kmart continue ... Read More