14479 Wed, 05/14/2008 - 3:06pm
NEW YORK–One of the nation’s signature suppliers of window treatments for many years, S. Lichtenberg & Co. has now taken a major leap into another category, bed ensembles.
The company had been selling bedding in a limited way for a couple of years, but then decided to accelerate this effort in the fall of 2007, according to Michael Lichtenberg, the company’s vice president. “Based on the success of our programs over the past few years, we felt there was a tremendous opportunity to broaden our distribution of bedding in the market,” he said.
Last fall, S. Lichtenberg made a key move to be a major player in this category. The company hired Bob Flynn as its director of bedding and put him in charge of developing this business on both the design and the sales sides. Flynn is one of the veterans of the bedding industry, having served in key posts for Home Innovations (later Decorative Home Accents), Kensington Home Fashions and Thomasville Home Fashions.
“We have known Bob for 25 years,” Lichtenberg said. “His experience and work ethic make him a perfect fit for our company. He is highly regarded in the industry and will be a tremendous asset leading us into this product class.”
Since starting with S. Lichtenberg in November, 2007, Flynn has moved rapidly to boost the bedding assortment.
“We’ll have 12 to 15 styles in the line by this summer,” Flynn said. “We’re trying to carve some niches in styles and makes, for example, supply bedspreads to retailers that don’t have them.” A niche strategy makes sense, Flynn added, because “for us to be a ‘me-too’ in bedding makes it too difficult to make money at it. We want to do it right, presenting value to the consumer and our customers.”
The S. Lichtenberg ensembles will include 100 percent cotton products and cotton-polyester blends. The designs will include prints, solids, sateens and wovens. The products are divided into a moderately priced line and a mid- to upper-priced line; plans are also in the works for a lower-priced line that will be aimed at mass merchants. The ensembles will consist of a top-of-bed product (comforter or bedspread), pillow shams, sheet sets and throws.
“We’ll have quality, fill and packaging differences between the levels to differentiate them,” Flynn said. “To further the separation, we’ll create brand names.” Department stores will be another target retail class for the line, along with specialty stores and Internet retailers, “but we need to separate the products and price levels for each channel of distribution,” Flynn added.
Regarding the company’s goals for its bedding venture, Lichtenberg said, “Our business philosophy has always been to do more business than the year before. We do not have any defined volume goals for bedding. But if we offer trend-right, well-priced items, we are sure that the volume will be significant.” — David Gill