PHI comfortable going well beyond 'just quilts'

Michele SanFilippo, September 29, 2003

NEW YORK — With a fresh coat of paint barely dry on its new 5,000-square-foot showroom at 295 Fifth Avenue, PHI at market last week had the space it needed for the business it seeks.

Its new digs at suite 714 are 50 percent larger and fit 25 beds. The company unveiled its Debbie Mumm license with eight new patterns and a Kids Corner juvenile line with 18 designs.

It also showed expanded offerings in window, table linens, decorative pillows, accent rugs, including hand-hooked wool varieties, and handpainted glassware and wooden waste bins, tissue boxes and trays.

PHI also increased its production of comforters this market, showing upwards of 30-50 new full bedding ensembles that comprise both quilts and comforters.

"Business is good," said Mark Grand, coo of PHI. "In terms of moving into comforters, it's a much larger business than quilts and we don't want to be known as just a quilt house. We're also building our own dedicated quilt and comforter factory near Shanghai that will be up and ready by January or February 2004."

Janis Meek, director of merchandising and product development, added that the company has been transitioning to reach its current level of growth for about a year. She said the move into the comforters was a natural extension.

"We've also added emphasis on specific fabrications such as Silkallure, microsuede, linen and combinations of all three," added Meek. "But we don't want to lose sight of our hand-crafted roots and will continue to work on embellishments."

In Debbie Mumm, PHI offers three beds and six quilt designs that are all fully accessorized with Euros, shams, bedskirts, dec pillows and three heavily pieced cotton quilted throws that feature embroidery, 3D appliqued buttons and flags, and ribbon trims.

Another feature adding value to the quilts is that they all reverse to a coordinate print found on the face of the pattern, also picked up in the bedskirt.

"Debbie Mumm appeals to a traditional quilter because of her designs and heavy piecing; her patterns are motif-driven and more difficult because of her use of 15 to 20 fabrics per quilt, adding more value to the finished product, said Meek. She added that Mumm designs all her patterns from her licensed fabrics and then works with PHI to realize the bedding lines. Queen-size quilts will retail for $99.99.

The Mumm designs shown on beds at PHI were Floral Reflections, Butterfly Blessings and Vineyard.

Another highlight was Silkallure, PHI's branded polyester fabrication with a soft sueded hand that is machine washable. Silkallure was shown in a collection that has four beds with plain, embroidered and printed solids in a variety of seven patterns. Current programs include solid diamond quilts with shams and bedskirts, comforters, bedspreads, throws, window panels and valances, and decorative pillows.

According to Meek, Silkallure is a versatile fabric. The program is designed for mixing and matching.

"It's very easy for us to customize a program for retailers with this product," she added.

PHI also presented its first extended line of freestanding window treatments with fabrications that include linen/cotton, cotton velvet, rayon velvet burnout, silk dupioni, cotton and polyester embellished sheers, and several pieced combinations.

Treatments include basket woven fabric, crochet and lace insets, French knot embroidery and reversible trims. Retail price points range from $19 to $49 a panel.

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