Carole Sloan, founding editor-in-chief -- Home Textiles Today, 8/6/2001 12:00:00 AM
Almost every week the pages of Home Textiles Today detail the latest in a never-ending stream of licensing projects with "designers" — known and unknown — who are moving into this marketplace.
What the players involved don't seem to understand is that putting someone's name on a product doesn't evoke consumer confidence, respect or awareness.
Essentially we're talking about marketing, branding, and spending a lot of bucks to make this happen. And putting those words in the same sentence with home textiles is a true oxymoron.
As we begin to move into the next market-week cycle, there is news of yet another wave of "designers" becoming headliners for the industry.
The big question is whether the licensees have any idea who the designer licensor is, or what the licensor has done that has any relevance to the home furnishings world — and retailing.
It's one thing to have written a book, been on TV or established a media cult on a subject as opposed to designing product and having a knowledge of quality and construction and translating that to the public.
Over the years I have heard "designer" personalities expound on "My inspiration from my growing up in XXX" or "When I saw the landscape of XXX it just made me think of an evening in front of the fire" — scenarios that were meant to evoke soothing images that would induce people to buy more stuff.
The design mavens were projected as authorities, and consumers were expected to follow their advice and buying suggestions.
There has been a steady trickle of these design mavens who have mixed in with the smaller group of designers who really understand product, quality and marketing.
Today, however, we seem to be inundated with designer hopefuls whose products, in most part, are a rubber-stamp approval for royalties. Other than a market-week hoopla, few get on the road to work the crowds, talk with customers and understand how people really relate to their products.
As for the retailers, the savvy ones latch onto the true designers, and then get first dibs on the launches of the others to get local media coverage.
After that, try and find some of the designer collections in stores. It looks like we're in for even more come October.
We would love your feedback!
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