By Barbara Thau
NEW YORK–Superior brand-building acumen is what sets Revman International apart from other suppliers, merchants told HFN.
Revman works closely with retailers to nail the essence of brands as diverse as Tommy Hilfiger, Tommy Bahama and Marimekko.
The supplier is also adept at identifying emerging trends, targeting market niches and customizing exclusive programs, buyers said.
Revman was a pioneer in purely marketing—rather than manufacturing—a home brand.
The practice is commonplace today, but it wasn’t two decades ago when Revman introduced the idea.
“No one gave them high expectations to succeed,” Dave Vernon, executive vice president and general merchandise manager of home for Fortunoff, told HFN.
While other vendors would create a line and then figure out what consumer segment it could serve, Revman first identified a market void, said Mike Nemoir, executive vice president of home for Bon-Ton department stores.
They asked, “‘What is the need? What is the consumer looking for?’” Nemoir said. By contrast, other vendors would say, “‘This is what we’ve manufactured.’”
Today, Bon-Ton carries Tommy Hilfiger, Tommy Bahama and Michael Kors licensed products by Revman, and has begun testing Columbia Sportswear.
“If there is a niche in the business, (Rich Roman, president and chief executive officer of Revman) will find a license or a brand that he can take to a retailer to fill that niche,” Vernon said.
Revman also recognizes trends early, retailers said.
These include jumping on the tropic casual aesthetic reflected in the Tommy Bahama brand, and the menswear look exemplified by the Michael Kors collection.
“Revman brought to the marketplace that young surf group Dean Miller when that [look] was hot,” Vernon said. They “keep on evolving the brands out there based on the topical fashion.”
Revman’s business model has made it more nimble than many of its competitors, retailers said.
Since the company is not a manufacturer, “they haven’t been limited based on long production runs,” Vernon said.
As a result, they can merchandise programs to size—even small programs—“something the textiles mills were not capable of doing,” Vernon said. Hence, “Revman was able to create exclusive patterns for individual retailers with small production runs on product.”
Nemoir described “a very open relationship—they’re open to your ideas,” he said.
For example, “We asked them for certain looks for back to school and they made Campus Kits bed-in-a bag” from Tommy Hilfiger, he said. “It’s doing very well.”
Bon-Ton currently carries exclusive Laura Ashley bedding by Revman. The company also makes products for its Living Quarters private brand.
Revman also collaborates with merchants on bringing its products to life on the selling floor.
Michael Kors is Bloomingdale’s biggest Revman program. When the soft home line bowed at the chain in 2006, “They helped us bring Michael Kors to all doors in the right way with fixtures, marketing and training,” said Joe Laneve, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of home.
“They have a good understanding of the Bloomingdale’s customer profile, and their marketing efforts and visual presentations fit perfectly with the Bloomingdale’s brand strategy.”