13615 Wed, 01/23/2008 - 3:53pm
By David Gill
NEW YORK–Welspun’s new product offering in basic bedding moves the home textiles importer closer to its goal of becoming a one-stop shop for retailers’ soft-home departments.
The company unveiled its basic-bedding division last year, and will display its first product offerings in this segment at the upcoming February Home Textiles Market. The division will market bed pillows, comforters, mattress pads, blankets and quilts. Welspun has also named Scott Walters, formerly national merchandise manager at Louisville Bedding Co., as sales director for basic bedding products.
According to Bob Hamilton, Welspun’s chief marketing officer, the new division will take advantage of the company’s recently opened facility in Juarez, Mexico, in shipping and distributing products to U.S. retailers.
“We decided that it would make a lot of sense to open a facility in Mexico that would enable us to bring in fabrics from India and China and assemble, fill, sew, package and ship the finished products,” Hamilton said. “The basic-bedding line is a fairly significant extension of this facility.”
The line includes bed pillows, comforters, mattress pads, blankets and quilts. Under the division’s structure, Walters reports to Tim Landers, director of sales/marketing for bedding in North America. Landers in turn reports to Humberto Tello, president and chief executive officer.
“We knew that basic bedding would fit the supply model at Juarez,” Landers told HFN. “These are bulky products that require shipping from Mexico, and as soon as Juarez opened, we realized we could start fulfilling retailers’ needs with these products.”
“The Welspun model is a vertical approach, from the fabric weaving in India to the finishing in Juarez,” Walters said. “With the Mexico location, we have a cost advantage in a market that’s very competitive and price-sensitive. The Mexico equation allows us to bring in the shells, which cost almost nothing to ship, and fill them here.”
Welspun is targeting all of the major retailers with the basic-bedding line, which makes this effort even more of an uphill battle. “It will be challenging starting this business up, but from our cost advantages, I think we can get some market share in the very, very near future,” Walters said. “We’ll leverage our existing relationships with Welspun customers.”
The products will be filled with down-alternative synthetic fibers. “These products are trending very well at retail at this time,” Walters said.