By Carole Sloan -- Home Textiles Today, 10/31/2005 12:00:00 AM
It was an interesting market here in New York as many retailers praised the product innovation and many-faceted design direction shown.
But equally as interesting, and perhaps more significant, were the amount of home textiles products and the formalized programs of home textiles, showcased in High Point at the International Home Furnishings Market just after the New York event.
In New York, designer collections for the department stores were among the more highly praised for their innovation, updating and balance.
There was a new surge of eco-oriented product as well. Perhaps, the marketplace — both suppliers as well as retailers — is beginning to get the message about environmental issues. Whether the industry has trained consumers to be penny-wise and not environmentally wise is an issue that still needs to be resolved. But at least the products are being offered, and in most every home textiles category.
Still evolving are the many issues involving global sourcing — the wheres, whys and whos are as important as the product in this highly competitive arena. And from conversations over the week, it seems that opinions on each element change from day to day, if not hour to hour.
Home textiles in the mainstream arena seem to be the spearhead of the ever-expanding licensing phenomenon. Names and logos are coming out of the woodwork, and what these labels will mean to consumers as a magnet to get them to buy yet another sheet, towel or comforter still is a question mark.
At this point, too many players think that simply slapping a name or label on a home textiles product will differentiate it from the hordes of other look-alike products, category-by-category.
And to further complicate the situation, there is a major surge in home textiles energy being directed to the small home furnishings retail specialists and well as the furniture specialty retailers — from powerhouse chains to individual moms and pops.
These are the folks that are looking for quality, better price points for their consumers buying bedrooms in the $1,000-and-up brackets. They're identifying price brackets that most home textiles retailers have abandoned in their quest to offer lower and lower retailers.
It will be interesting to see, as this segment grows in importance, who makes the most money in home textiles. Stay tuned!
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