Elrene Adds Window Treatments
By Cecile B. Corral -- Home Textiles Today, 8/4/2007 12:00:00 AM
New York —
After 75 years of serving up table linens and more recently, kitchen textiles as well, three-generation family rug supplier Elrene Home Fashions is opening a new window of opportunity this market with the addition of curtains to its line.
But these soft window treatments are not being treated as stepsisters to Elrene's table linen and kitchen textiles mainstays. Instead, the company is categorizing its panels and related treatments as a separate business.
Shari Feinstein, vp of sales and marketing and the person credited with helping develop the new category, said that she wanted Elrene's window business to be a separate division of the table linens side, for the most part, because of the way retailers merchandise the two categories at the store level.
"Most retailers don't merchandise the whole coordinate package together, and it is important to think how a retailer thinks," said Feinstein, who joined the company in February after an eight-year stint at Linens 'n Things, where she spent the bulk of her time as senior buyer for window.
"How are they going to display in the store, how will it look when it is sheered up in a rod," she continued. "I tried to answer all of those questions before someone asked me."
Elrene, which in 2006 was the country's second biggest table linens company with $65 million in sales and the fourth largest kitchen textiles player with $20 million in sales, will devote one third of its showroom this market to its soft window treatments. It revamped the large display space to properly tell this new story, Feinstein said.
In building the new soft window category for Elrene, Feinstein said she tried to be "very broad based."
By that, she meant including in the mix jacquard silk, silk blends, faux silk, and taffeta, among other dressy fabrications — 95% of which don't match to Elrene's table linens fabrications.
"We run gamut to be able to offer to different levels of retailers: something fashionable and new that is trend-right but priced right for each retailer," she said. "Our design standpoint is updated traditional and formal looks, but with new twists that we've added. For example, silk is a growing part of the window industry, so we're introducing silk jacquards to take solid silk to the next level."
For the launch, the line comprises more than 40 styles, each available in three to eight colors, depending on the fabrication. All are made in China and India.
There are also 10 kitchen-themed styles, only two of which marry directly with new table line collections.
Retail price points start at $14.99 for crushed organza sheers and run through $89.99 for 100% silk jacquard panels.
But Feinstein said the core line centers on a $19.99 to $29.99 bracket for standard-sized 84-inch panels, and within this realm there are jacquard chenille, linen blends, faux silk, and other styles.
To offer added value, each style is lined and/or interlined for more fullness.
"We over-specked everything," she continued. "Most [panels] are more than 52 inches wide, are lined and/or interlined and feature interesting cut-and-sew detailing, such as inverted pleats and covered buttons."
The updated traditional and formal looks come in a variety of patterns, including damasks, stripes, plaids, appliqués, embroideries, and metallic-accented looks.
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