Editor's View - September 2012

Minimizing Brand Risk
By Wanda Jankowski, Editor-in-Chief

There are many reasons why brands fail, such as limitations in appeal, insufficient marketing, and poor quality control and coordination among licensees.

Offering branded products, however, remains a viable way to drive sales and promote repeat business. A key to successful branding is the creation of a strong initial concept, with clear, well-defined reasons for being. How many of the celebrity-driven brands launched three or four years ago, when it seemed the trend, are still in existence today? There’s more to branding than hitching your product wagon to a “star.”

During September N.Y. Market, several brands with concepts stemming from strong researched, historical or technological foundations make home textile debuts.

Hotel Maison co-founders, Judy George and Kim Salmela, based their boutique-hotel-style-at-home brand on extensive market research into consumer wants and spending habits. The brand launched in 2010 with furniture, added mattresses in 2012 and is premiering a fashion bedding line with Divatex Home Fashions during N.Y. Market. (For more on Hotel Maison, see “Industry Views” at right.)

There will always be consumers who embrace traditional styling and elegant, intricate design. Kalaty Rug Corp. has chosen a partner with long-term appeal in The Preservation Society of Newport County. Together they have created the Newport Mansions Collection, based on designs from the Newport, RI, mansions built by the industrialist families, who formed America’s “aristocracy,” in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

We are also in a phase when tasteful glamour and updated retro looks, that seek to offer the best of design from the recent past, have returned to both apparel and home fashions. Louis Hornick and Company has teamed up with The Bel-Air Association on a line that includes draperies, decorative pillows, duvets, bedspreads, throws and large plush towels with coordinating bathrobes and slippers. Those products incorporate the iconic cherub logo, famous gates and Art Deco signage found in the Bel-Air, CA, neighborhood, which was home to many wealthy actors, directors, producers and writers during Hollywood’s glamourous Golden Age toward the middle of the 20th century.

Brand success can also be based on product lines known for benefit-rich creative solutions. Brookstone, an established brand well-known for innovative design and technology, has partnered with AQ Textiles and Design Weave to launch the Brookstone Sleep Smart™ Collection of top-of-bed, sheets, pillowcases, comforters, duvet covers and comfort sleep products that focus on quality materials and technology-based benefits.

You may not see a wealth of reality-tv celebrities showcasing their product lines in showrooms during this N.Y. Market, but there are plenty of solid brand offerings and opportunities on display for your review—and, hopefully, profit.


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