Starting Small & Thinking Big
By Wanda Jankowski, Editor-in-Chief
The recession that hit full-on in 2008 greatly affected the home textiles field, with significant attrition in major product categories, and a number of established companies downsizing and some even going under. A common concern among suppliers today is that the changing retail landscape seems to provide limited market share growth, particularly for large-volume players.
Yet in spite of the hard economic times, during the past five years small businesses, like tiny sprouts of green appearing in fire-ravaged woods, have sprung up from the ashes, continuously infusing the industry with fresh perspectives, creative designs and new ways of approaching business.
Tourmaline Home (tourmalinehome.com), established three years ago by designer and co-founder Karin Reiter, is based in Cold Spring, NY. It offers pillows and table linens that are designed in-house and then created by craftspeople in Asia. The company’s accessories line includes designs, based on vintage finds, that are reproduced in limited quantities.
Slate & Coral (slateandcoral.com), which has an office in New York City, was established about two years ago. They “emancipate through artisanship,” offering jobs to people in India who might otherwise not have made ends meet. Hand block printing is executed in varied regions of India and then the duvet covers, bed runners and decorative pillows are assembled in Delhi. The bold designs emphasize fine detailing and juxtapositions of unexpected materials, such as burlap and sequins.
After achieving a degree in textile design and further studying at London Central St. Martin’s College of Art and Design, Esra Cakir worked with American and British brands for 14 years before establishing her company, Calla Breeze (calla-breeze.com) in Istanbul, Turkey, at the beginning of 2013. Calla Breeze offers table linens, pillows and throws created with natural fibers, such as silk and linen, and printed with eco-friendly paints. Cakir’s designs embody modern interpretations of traditional hand-weaving and hand-printing motifs. Calla Breeze exhibited at NY NOW for the first time this past August.
Houston, TX-based Fehr Fara was begun by husband-and-wife duo Siddharth Nadkarni and Shilpa Amaram in 2012. The product line revolves around the concept of reversibility—not front to back, but inside to outside. For insights into their company and product concept, see “Industry Views” at right.
While doing your rounds at Fall markets, visiting with your tried-and-true established vendors, keep an eye open for some of the newer, smaller companies driven by passion to enter the industry even during difficult financial times with what they believe are fresh ideas and perspectives.
As with all industries, the home textiles field is constantly changing and evolving. This issue brings you a snapshot of what’s new now, concentrating on products debuting during September’s New York Home Fashions Market.