"Consumers also love the great size and design of the Historic Natchez collection from Henredon," adds Hershey. Henredon's newest Natchez furniture collection incorporates the lavish decorating style associated with mid-19th century American Greek and Rococo Revival-a period of tremendous wealth and prosperity for the cotton aristocracy of Natchez.
"Consumers are more likely to decorate their front rooms-such as the dining and living areas-with traditional pieces while maintaining a casual look in the back and bedroom areas," says Carolyn Gomez, vice president of merchandising at Mastercraft Interiors, a retail store in Beltsville, MD, that features product from the Mount Vernon Collection (the home of George Washington) and Colonial Williamsburg.
"Our furniture from Colonial Williamsburg is selling very well," says Dee Dee Tileston, owner of Them Furniture, a Charleston, SC, retailer that features product from the Colonial Williamsburg, Historic Charleston, and Mount Vernon collections. She notes that in a recent in-store promotion with L.& J.G. Stickley, the furniture licensee for the Colonial Williamsburg Reserve Collection, customers bought furniture on the spot, including the famous Williamsburg Cart's Grove bed, a $5,000 purchase. "We got orders for the collection even before we began making the furniture," adds Rod McLean, vice president, sales and marketing, L.& J.G. Stickley in Manlius, NY.
The Reserve collection consists of high-end reproduction and adaptation pieces from Williamsburg historical sites, while the Pure Simple Today line offers interpretive 18th century pieces at more moderate price points. Colonial Williamsburg also features decorative fabrics in the Reserve collection (with licensee Greeff) and the Pure Simple Today collection (by licensee Waverly). "Consumers are surprised to see the fresh, fun colors and patterns in our Willamsburg fabrics," says Beth Moore, brand promotions manager for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. "But the colonialists used a broad array of color." At Mount Vernon, fabric and wallpaper by licensee Brunschwig & Fils, New York, represent a growing category.
Bringing Luxury Home
International landmark collections likewise can add color and splendor to a home. This year, New York-based Fabricut debuted its Ritz Paris home fabrics collection in decorative and designer showrooms across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. "The history and name recognition resonate with consumers not only in Paris, but around the world," says Michelle Alfandari, president of Moda International, New York, exclusive licensing agent for the Ritz Paris brand. Haviland USA, a porcelain manufacturer based in Limoges, France, recently launched a line of dinnerware featuring authentic designs from L'Espadon, the Ritz's gourmet dining room, and the Ritz Club restaurant. Both lines are available in limited distribution at select upscale stores nationwide.
A newcomer to licensing is The Plaza Hotel, New York. East Rutherford, NJ-based Habersham, The Plaza's first licensee, debuts its 15-piece Plaza Collection at this month's International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, NC. "Everyone would like to stay at The Plaza. This furniture gives them something to talk about," says Joyce Eddy, founder and owner of Habersham. The collection includes bedroom, dining, and occasional pieces with hand-painted designs and finishes. Product will be available at high-end retail stores by third quarter this year.
Going forward, Colonial Williamsburg seeks to strengthen its Pure Simple Today collection by expanding product categories with current licensees and engaging new licensing partners, especially in the textile category.
The Historic Charleston Foundation is looking to expand the brand into building accessories, including decorative moldings and hardware, while Mount Vernon is seeking licensees for less structured, casual furniture.
Moda wants to develop a line of furniture, bed, and bath accessories mirroring the opulent style associated with the Ritz Paris Hotel. The National Trust for Historic Preservation (also represented by Moda) seeks licensing partners for all things associated with renovating, restoring, and remodeling homes, including decorative molding.
The Plaza is seeking additional licensees for home furnishings, including tabletop, wall coverings, floor coverings, and fabrics.
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