Belle Maison pulls it all together
Thomas Russell -- Furniture Today, September 24, 2013
At the New York Market - Perhaps the biggest news at Belle Maison this week isn't the product on the showroom floor - although there is plenty of that. It is the company's plan to streamline the operational side of the business.
Belle Maison is the parent of Stylemaster, Renaissance and Twill & Birch, each of which operates as a separate business entity. In January, the entities will merge so that processes such as purchasing, ordering and shipping occur through a single portal.
That will allow a sharper brand focus on each property: young/urban/contemporary for Stylemaster, new traditional/Americana for Renaissance, and transitional/richer constructions for Twill & Birch.
The family-owned business has been in operation for 30 years, but over the past three Bella Maison has been adding to its in-house design team, including graphics and package design. The company produces its own product photography, both in service to its seasonal catalog and to provide ecommerce accounts with artwork.
"Since we are a family business, we are very hands-on," said Liz Romano, who handles product development, product management and the company's fabric-by-the-yard business. "We are very involved with our customer base."
At this week's market, kitchen tiers receive dedicated space as the company moves to expand the assortment. The range includes embroideries, sheers, prints and some valences.
Belle Maison is also showing a broad selection of full window panels under its three brands this week. Under Stylemaster that includes a lot of prints on sheers and semi-sheers.
In addition, the company is putting a big emphasis on valences this week, including more wovens and prints on heavier-grade fabrics. "We feel the faux silk that's been so dominant in the market is going to start winding down," said Romano.
In bedspreads, the focus is on reversibility and microfiber constructions with a surprisingly cotton-esque hand. This week, Belle Maison is also introducing a box pleat bedspread.
In terms of what draws consumers to spreads as opposed to comforters or duvet covers, she had two answers. "It goes all the way to the floor, so you don't have to worry about bed shirts. I think it's also the [lighter] weight," she said.
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