Cannon Brand Ready for Business
Brent Felgner -- Furniture Today, February 26, 2007
Promoters of the Cannon and Royal Velvet names believe that the retailers they took appointments with during market week here brought an "open to listen" attitude.
They've got plenty to say — beginning with a large Cannon billboard delivering a "Life is Beautiful" message to one of the busiest intersections in the world. It's located over the H&M store near Seventh Avenue and West 34th St., directly across from Macy's.
The sign pictures two beaming little girls bundled in white floral towels. The distinctive Cannon logo appears in the upper right corner.
"We just did it locally to give the prospective retailers coming in a flavor of what we can do with a brand and how you can breathe emotion and difference into your business with a brand," explained David Greenstein, president of the Homestead Textiles division of Li & Fung. "We're going to try to break the cycle and we feel like pioneers in this respect. If there are any names that deserve to be up there on billboards they are Cannon and Royal Velvet."
Greenstein has pledged that's just the beginning of a much broader, long-term brand-building strategy. He said it's likely that one of two retailers will pick up Cannon top-of-the-bed for the fall; Homestead is committed to outdoor and shelter press advertising near market.
Li & Fung Home has been merged into the Homestead division, itself picked up out of bankruptcy in an auction a few months ago. Greenstein heads the division, with Scott Maddalene as executive vp of sales. It's a somewhat ironic twist, particularly since Greenstein — through then-parent company Broome & Wellington — was one of the original bidders for the Pillowtex assets, including the Cannon, RV, Fieldcrest, and Charisma brands.
Li & Fung holds the licenses for Cannon and Royal Velvet under a "rejiggled" extended agreement with Official Pillowtex LLC that runs through 2013, Greenstein said. He acknowledges it is a challenge but is focused on developing what he said are the four critical components of the business: national branding, microbranding, private label, and hospitality.
"We're building those four subsets to make a real business out of this," Greenstein said in a series of telephone interviews in recent days. "I think the market is a little more ready for what we're doing than it was three or four years ago. There must be a strong place for national brands in home textiles properly advertised, properly assorted, and properly distributed. So we feel there is an open-to-listen, which there wasn't some time ago."
He said he is encouraged by the first round of previews shown to retailers during market. He hopes and expects to announce one or two placements following market.
"It's brand building. We didn't just throw it into the design studio and say, 'Make a couple of beds,'" Greenstein said. "We took all the market research, hammered out a brand document and came up with our essential brand statements and philosophy. That comes out as a cohesive statement that always has a point of view and the point of view is constant. That's what people need."
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