Avonhome inks Adler; expands lineup
By Cecile B. Corral -- Home Textiles Today, 4/29/2002 12:00:00 AM
NEW YORK —
Avonhome recently became a licensing partner with Jonathan Adler, who designs haute couture for the home.
But equally as noteworthy is that for the first time in the company's 75-year history as a table linen supplier, Avonhome is adding four new categories to its roster of goods — decorative pillows, throws, accent rugs and window treatments — through its partnership with Adler.
The goal is for the two entities to create a collection of textiles inspired by Adler's signature high-end boutique looks but that targets mass, mid-tier and specialty store customers.
"Right now [Adler's] line is very high end, and we think there's a broader audience out there that shops the mass and mid-tier channels of the world looking for good design," Robin Sayetta, principal of Ripe Ideas, the licensing and brand-building agency representing Adler, told HTT. Adler's existing collection includes his signature ceramic pottery, bath accessories, lighting and dinnerware. Many of these pieces can be seen on the set of NBC's "Will & Grace" TV program.
Sayetta said Ripe Ideas is also shopping for other home textiles licensees to produce mass, mid-tier and specialty products under Adler's brand in bedding.
Added Chris Mooney, vp of design and marketing, Avonhome: "We're basically graduating Jonathan Adler's existing couture line to more of the mass market. The look is extremely clean. We constantly hear people saying that there is not that cleanness of design that Calvin Klein or Donna Karan brings in the mass market. There are unbranded attempts at it but no comprehensive branded strategy out there covering this design point of view for mass. Our new collection builds around an already successful person who is part of the upper echelon of contemporary design."
Part of the effort between Avonhome and Ripe Ideas is to partner with a retailer to exclusively sell the line. They are currently in conversations with several retailers but have not struck a final deal with anyone yet.
"We are creating up to 24 feet of product coverage and it will be built around four to six color stories that have a variety of icons and imagery shared across color stories," Mooney said. "We're able to take advantage of [Adler's] best sellers with known sales track records to make this the lowest risk introduction we can."
Adler describes his line by Avonhome as "Happy Chic," in style.
"I see an opportunity to address a groovy, modern consumer," Adler said. "The world doesn't need another floral pattern."
Mooney said that as Adler grows his high-end line of goods for the home, Avonhome will build on its collection based on those looks.
All the Avonhome product, which is imported from China, India and Pakistan, is both stand alone and coordinated — but strictly by the five colorway groupings, a range of hues in blues, blacks, whites, greens and pinks.
"Every four feet or so all the product can stand alone but it also all goes together," he said. "Nothing is meant to be in the exact same fabric used in multiple ways. Instead, all of the product just hangs together so you can buy multiple pieces or just one."
Price points and packaging styles are still under development.
For Avonhome, the licensing deal with Adler represents just the beginning of the company's new effort to stretch out its product offerings.
"We're beginning to take advantage of opportunities outside of table linens as each opportunity presents itself," Mooney said. "The basis of a lot of our success at Avon is attributable to our overall creativity. We're trying to build on that by applying our creativity to other categories as each opportunity dictates."
One such opportunity slated for launch at the next New York Home Textiles market in October is the new "Vintage Vera Neumann" collection for table linens and decorative pillows through its licensing partnership with the property of the late Vera Neumann, a ready-to-wear designer of the 1950s through the 1970s, who was one of the first major designers to use her name on home textiles as well. Aside from Adler and Vera Neumann, Avonhome is also a licensee of Croscill and home guru B. Smith.
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