Trend Report - November 2013

Vive La Différence
By Wanda Jankowski

Cashmere Throws Nobile is a 100 percent yarn-dyed cashmere throw made in Italy. It measures 53 by 78 inches and is available in nature, camel, stone, jade, marine and berry. Schlossberg USA, 877-BONSWIT, schlossbergusa.com.
Cashmere & Silk Throw This cashmere throw is backed and filled with silk. It is shown in smoke. Kumi Kookoon, 310-515-8811, kumikookoon.com.
Alpaca Rug Band Rug Multi Color is hand-loomed of alpaca fiber from alpacas raised at the company’s farm in New York’s Hudson Valley. The rug retails for $84 per square foot. Alicia Adams Alpaca, 845-868-3366, aliciaadamsalpaca.com.
Ombre Effect The Voyage grouping, which includes Landing (shown), features designs that reference a world floating between reality and inspiration, and that produce a visual impression of gradation. The yarn-dyed Landing is offered in flat sheets, duvet covers, shams, throws, bath sheets, hand and guest towels and robes. Yves Delorme, 800-322-3911, yvesdelorme.com.
Sateen Jacquard Sarto is an Egyptian cotton sateen jacquard featuring a medallion design that layers into the SFERRA sateen and jacquard wardrobe. Sarto duvet covers and shams are available in honey (shown), classic white or ivory, celadon, and indigo. Sferra, 800-336-1891, sferra.com.
Embroidered Towels The Roma Bath Collection features towels made with Italian terry embroidered and finished in the company’s production facility in Redmond, WA. The embroidery is placed across the towel width and then sewn with coordinating taping. Eight taping options are offered. The terry is available in white and ivory. The collection includes bath hand and guest towels, bath sheets, washcloths, and quilted and non-quilted bath mats. Anali Inc., 425-558-4316, anali.com.
Cool Gray Italian Import The 100 percent linen Chester Collection in a cool gray colorway is imported from Italy. Shown are standard shams in herringbone allover, a flat sheet and boudoir pillow in royal sateen white with herringbone inset, a fitted sheet in royal sateen solid white, standard shams and a striped duvet that reverse to herringbone, a tailored dust ruffle with five pleats, and Euro shams and a coverlet in a quilted herringbone pattern on solid linen. Home Treasures, 713-937-7716, hometreasureslinens.com.
Romantic White Shown in a setting that includes headboard and bed also from Peacock Alley, the Penelope Collection is inspired by company founder Mary Ella Gabler’s style. The pre-washed, textural pique embodies romantic elegance with easy lines and double-layered flanges. The 100 percent Egyptian cotton collection, available in the white shown, is made in Portugal. Peacock Alley, 800-275-0784, peacockalley.com.
Luxury Cotton Towels Vossen, Austrian manufacturer of quality luxury terry products, is now distributed in the U.S. exclusively by Stellar Alliance. Vossen products include 100 percent cotton bath, hand and guest towels, washcloths, wash mitts, tub mats, terry robes and wraps in a range of weights, sizes and designs. Many feature “AIRpillow” fiber production that creates yarns soft to the touch, but with a firm core that furnishes an invigorating feel to the skin. Many products are also made with “Supersoft” cotton yarns. Vossen through Stellar Alliance, 212-563-6305.

Luxury marketing experts define luxury and explore the mindsets of affluent purchasers against a backdrop of new products offered by leading high-end suppliers

To bring you up to speed on the state of luxury retailing today, we’ve paired a roundup of new home textile products from leading luxury suppliers with ideas and insights gleaned from speakers at the Oct. 8, 2013 meeting of the Luxury Marketing Council’s New York Chapter. Contributors include: Gregory Furman, founder and chairman, The Luxury Marketing Council; Ken Nisch, chairman, JGA, brand strategy and retail design firm; and Burt Tansky, managing director and vice-chairman, Marvin Traub Associates, business development and strategy consulting firm.

What Constitutes Luxury Today

When it comes to finding customers for luxury goods, marketers are setting their sights on different quarry today than they had pre-recession. In spite of a seemingly strengthening economy, Greg Furman believes that aspirational consumers (those who make between $150,000 to $300,000 per year) are not yet back purchasing luxury goods in full force. Since many Baby Boomers (those aged approximately between 49 and 67) feel they have “enough stuff,” the older end of the Millenials or Generation Ys (those aged approximately between 10 and 30) are becoming the focus of many a luxury marketing campaign, as that generation is even larger in numbers than the enormous Boomer bunch.

Ken Nisch details what qualities characterize luxury items in the minds of 20-something Millenials:

  • Intrinsic value, exemplified by objects such as pearls, coins, gold and diamonds
  • Status or badge value, such as logo products from luxe brands
  • Exclusivity embodied in goods that are in rare or short supply, limited editions and memorabilia
  • Experiential dimensionality, such as a story behind the creator, the design or the time required to make the product
  • Place-based elements from the culture in which the product is produced that imbue it with unusual character.

It is important to define what constitutes luxury—and the qualities cited above are really desirable by any generation’s affluent purchasers—because the key to luxury sales growth today is to exploit those characteristics to insure differentiation.

Omni-Channeling Is The Future

Furman notes that major luxury retailers are tending to renovate and increase the visibility of flagship and existing stores rather than open new ones. They are going deeper into the brand and merchandise to differentiate and enhance the shopping experience and brand marketing.

One motivation for this strategy may be the explosion of e-commerce. More brick-and-mortar stores may not be needed with the rise of the internet as the fastest growing selling venue in retailing. That growth is not happening in a vacuum, separate and apart from other distribution channels. Rather many savvy brands are using e-commerce to complement other existing sales venues.

Millenials are heavy-duty online purchasers: 58 percent indicate they buy online, as opposed to 42 percent who say they buy in stores. Some consumers, including Millenials, research online before they touch, feel and subsequently buy products in the store; others see and examine products in the store and then purchase later through a different channel. Research has shown that consumers will purchase three to four times more from brands available on multiple channels than in one channel only.

The Luxury Marketing Council panelists agree that the wave of the future is to provide “omni-channel” experiences. Omni-channel retailing involves seamless integration of the selling experience across all channels, from brick-and-mortar venues, mobile internet devices and computers to television, radio, direct mail and catalogs.

Marketing, graphics, product offerings and service must be up to the same standards for a luxury brand consistently across all platforms, insuring that both the affluent and aspirational luxury consumer enjoy the same shopping experience.

Retailers can use all channels to track consumer behavior, but with more outlets available for learning about a brand and its products, consumers are becoming more savvy and so store employees must also keep their knowledge current about the brand and its products.

Luxury Globally

When it comes to locating luxury customers around the world, Burt Tansky states that there are pockets of wealth everywhere. “If you can’t buy a luxury item [in a store] in the town you live in, you can buy it online from Neiman’s,” he explains.

Furman reveals that by 2025, 50 percent of luxury goods will be purchased in China with 1.3 billion in sales.
Nisch points to “hidden cities” as another class of opportunities for the sale of luxury goods moving forward. These cities, such as Jakarta, Kolkata, Bogota, Manila, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Lima, Ho Chi Minh City and Lagos, have substantial populations, but are not fully developed when it comes to the presence of luxury retailers.

He cautions that, “These places beg for different strategies.” Cultural considerations have to be worked into the selling environment to appeal to consumers who are just in the beginning stages of investing in luxury goods.

Perfecting The Basics

Whatever the sales channel or consumer location, the ultimate question always remains, “How do you get the consumer to shop?” Nisch reveals four stages in the mindsets of affluent consumers as they mature in purchasing luxury goods:

  • Acquisitive—the focus is on acquiring luxury goods
  • Inquisitive—the consumer then learns more about available brands and quality
  • Authoritative—the consumer knows enough about what’s available to set standards and differentiate among top-quality brands
  • Meditative—consumers view purchases in relation to their lifestyles and think less about goods and more about the memorable experiences they provide.

The “hidden city” consumers who are new to luxury purchasing may be in the “acquisitive” stage, focused on the thrill of owning items from established luxury brands. But Tansky believes that in a mature market like the U.S., stores must be more experiential in their product presentation—from providing impeccable customer service to organizing special events—in order to attract that “meditative” consumer who is looking for reasons to purchase beyond mere acquisition.

Luxury brands and retailers, Tansky relates, must create demand by offering products that are wanted, and a selling and service environment built around that with outstanding follow up and follow through.

“Segment and position yourself above your competitors,” Tansky concludes. “It’s all about differentiation.”

This strategy isn’t new, but the necessity to execute it well in this era of complex retail channeling is more compelling than ever before.

TTT USA Opens The Lab In New York

Tessitura Toscana Telerie USA, Inc. (TTT USA) has opened “The Lab” in New York City at 230 Fifth Ave., Suite 1915. Intended as a meeting place to conceive and shape special projects and productions, the think-tank space allows TTT USA to be closer to its U.S. clients.

When Tessitura Toscana Telerie was founded in Italy in 1947, it initially offered tablecloths, but eventually expanded its range to include bed linens. Over the years, its product reach also grew beyond the borders of Italy, with merchandise offered today in Germany, France and the U.S. It remains a family owned and managed company with goods wholly made in Italy.

TTT USA expects to increase the company’s presence in the U.S. market and service through The Lab, which also serves as the company’s U.S. headquarters. Shown are two products that debuted during N.Y. Home Fashions Market: the Volaille tablecloth (right) adorned with detailed, realistic renderings of chickens, chicks, ducks and rabbits; and the Grand Air bedding ensemble (above) that features an array of multi-colored flowers in varied sizes.

Tessitura Toscana Telerie, 646-682-9201,
tessituratoscanatelerie.it.



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