Ex-Nautica execs debut baby bedding line
By Marvin Lazaro -- Home Textiles Today, 12/4/2000 12:00:00 AM
NEW YORK -With the introduction of its baby bedding and accessories, Sweet Tulip is hoping to fill a market niche that it feels has been left relatively unfilled.
Drawing from their experiences working for apparel companies such as Nautica, Banana Republic and Polo Ralph Lauren, founders and partners Sharon Redman and Renee Wightman have created innovative baby bedding that is designed to be simple and sporty but also sophisticated.
"There's a market, in our eyes, for something a little more sophisticated, and we believe we're providing that," said Redman.
"Part of our focus was to not make it frilly," added Wightman. "We wanted Sweet Tulip to be soft and natural and not typical for the baby market."
Redman and Wightman came up with the idea to start the company, based here, while working for Nautica in 1997. At the time, both were working for that company's Home Collection division, Redman as senior designer/ product manager and Wightman as design director. After a year of working with each other, the two put together their design sense for Sweet Tulip.
The initial offering of the baby bedding includes two collections-Knit Classic Sport and Juniper-in bumpers, dust ruffles, fitted and flat sheet pillowcases and decorative pillows. The 100 percent cotton Knit Classic Sport is modeled after prep school scarves and hand-knit sweaters and will ship in spring 2001. Two color combinations, oatmeal/navy and pale blue/yellow, are available.
Juniper is inspired by fine European linens and is made from a 55/45 linen and cotton blend. A simple embroidered leaf or crown are the only adornments on the collection, which also features scalloped edges and channel-stitched silk bumpers. The color white paired with soft butter, lily or juniper completes the look.
Also available in bedding are Knit Classic Sport blankets, which are also 100 percent cotton knit and made to complement the knit bedding. Yellow/blue, blue/green and orange/yellow make up Candy Stripes, while khaki/red, red/blue and oatmeal/navy make up Neutrals.
"We've tried to focus on being able to use the items after they've been used for the baby," Wightman said. "You don't want to buy something you're going to have to get rid of in just a year."
Heirloom bib and burp cloth sets, hats, mesh buckets, enamel mugs, a photo album, various sized and shaped tote bags, and a crib organizer are also available from Sweet Tulip in addition to the bedding. Retail price points for the bedding and accessories will range from $7 to $220.
So far, roughly 80 boutiques nationwide have placed various items by Sweet Tulip. And the company hopes to have its products placed with major retailers, in addition to gaining more name recognition.
"The boutiques are a great place to start," Redman said, "and we would love to do a line for a department store in the same vein. That is the plan."
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