Nicole Crews -- Furniture Today, September 10, 2012
CHICAGO - Lexington Home Brands launched its initial Tommy Bahama lifestyle collection in April of 2000, and over the ensuing 12 years has built that business into a consumer brand juggernaut. The December 2011 announcement by Lexington that it is expanding the scope of its Tommy Bahama home furnishings license to include outdoor designs caused quite a buzz within the casual industry.
After nine months of research and product development, the launch of Tommy Bahama Outdoor Living is set to take place in Chicago during this month's International Casual Furniture and Accessories Market. The program will include eight lifestyle collections comprised of over 160 SKUs of deep seating, sectionals, outdoor dining, bistro tables, freestanding bars, fire pits, occasional tables, umbrellas and accent items.
Due to the scale of the initial offering, Lexington will launch the new program in Chicago at a private 22,000-square-foot venue just one mile from the Merchandise Mart, where the market takes place. The facility, Venue One, is at 1044 West Randolph St., across from Oprah's Harpo Studios and is surrounded by a number of restaurants. To accommodate buyers, Lexington will operate continuous town car service to and from Venue One from 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, through 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, overlapping the market dates of Sept. 20-23. The company will open its showroom on Wednesday in order to accommodate existing and new dealers who may not have anticipated an outside venue for the launch.
"Tommy Bahama is the number one brand in a style category that has experienced exceptional growth despite the economic downturn," said Lexington Home Brands President and CEO Phil Haney. "The brand is iconic, with designs and a lifestyle message that resonates with aspirational consumers. Tommy Bahama Outdoor Living is a natural extension for Lexington. We have a keen understanding of the brand, and will leverage our design and marketing expertise to offer outdoor dealers the opportunity to differentiate themselves with the only lifestyle consumer brand in the category. At the same time, we see an opportunity to partner with our traditional home furnishings retailers and design professionals by adding an exciting new dimension to our successful indoor business."
Tommy Bahama, whose motto is "Make Life One Long Weekend," has evolved from a purveyor of island-inspired camp shirts to a worldwide lifestyle brand with 102 stores and 13 restaurants in the U.S., newly opened units in Singapore and Macau and a Hong Kong unit scheduled to open in November. The company's U.S. flagship location in New York is also slated to open in November. The 8,500-square-foot destination, comprising a retail store, restaurant and two bars, will be at 551 Fifth Ave. and 45th Street in the historic Art Deco Fred F. French building.
The essence of the brand is a relaxed and sophisticated island lifestyle. "Who in the world doesn't want to relax, be comfortable and escape from the pressures of life?" said Terry Pillow, CEO of Tommy Bahama Group.
The nation's first Tommy Bahama Home store just opened in Newport Beach, Calif. The 5,000-square-foot unit features all of Tommy Bahama's indoor collections. The new Tommy Bahama Outdoor Living assortment will be added by the end of the year.
"All of us aspire to relax," said Chrisann Furciato, senior vice president of licensing at Tommy Bahama. "Whether it's grilling on your lanai, lounging in the spa or going to the beach, this brand offers them that opportunity in so many ways. It also affords us the opportunity to create an emotional connection with our consumer."
"One of the signature elements of our Tommy Bahama indoor designs has been the concept of bringing the outdoors in," said Haney. "It seems somewhat intuitive that this would work with equal impact in the opposite direction. We have a wonderful relationship with the team at Tommy Bahama, along with a great respect for the power of the brand. We find it particularly interesting that the brand promise translates quite effectively beyond stereotypical island styling. Three of our last four Tommy Bahama introductions have not been defined by that benchmark. Ocean Club is a contemporary Pan-Asian design, Royal Kahala is a British Expeditionary design in ribbon stripe mahogany and Road to Canberra is a casual contemporary Australian design. Extending the brand appeal to embrace consumers in non-coastal areas has been central to growing our business and keeping the designs relevant and exciting."
In addition to Tommy Bahama, Lexington Home Brands' portfolio also includes the Lexington brand, Sligh, Henry Link Trading Company and Aquarius.
"Our goal is to inspire consumers with fresh styling, innovative designs and an aspirational lifestyle message," said Haney. "We have a real passion for the product development process, and have enjoyed great success in translating that passion in a relevant fashion to our dealers and consumers. We have also differentiated ourselves through superior quality and value, along with a commitment to stocking all of our products in North Carolina. For our dealers and designers, this mitigates their inventory risk while assuring rapid fulfillment and a great customer experience."
The Lexington product line is sold both domestically and internationally through independent retailers, interior design professionals, trade showrooms and select Internet accounts. The company also serves the contract and hospitality segments of the industry. Lexington owns and operates two trade showrooms. They are located at the New York Design Center at 200 Lexington Ave. in Manhattan and at the Denver Design Center in Denver, Colo.
"Given the phenomenal success that Lexington Home Brands has demonstrated in their lifestyle designs for indoor product, the decision to expand our relationship to include the rapidly growing outdoor category was one that felt very appropriate," said Furciato. "When it comes to interpreting the relaxed sophisticated style of Tommy Bahama in the home, Lexington totally gets it."
"The outdoor category features a number of great trade names," added Haney. "We will offer dealers in Chicago the opportunity to differentiate themselves with a true consumer brand - one that resonates powerfully with the affluent segment. The demographic that shops at a Tommy Bahama store, or purchases the product at Nordstrom, a prestigious resort or golf pro shop finds an immediate connection with the brand promise of a relaxed, casual, comfortable and sophisticated lifestyle. We think that translates brilliantly into the outdoor living category."
The program will include eight new lifestyle collections inspired by Lexington's best-selling indoor designs. The Ocean Club Resort and Ocean Club Pacifica collections highlight the contemporary side of Tommy Bahama. Island Estate Lanai and Island Estate Veranda showcase a sophisticated coastal lifestyle. Island Estate Hamptons features a custom oyster white finish. Road to Canberra takes an eclectic approach to outdoor living, with designs inspired by Australia. Kingstown speaks to an elegant Tuscan lifestyle. Finally, Al Fresco Living is a collection of occasional accents items and signature umbrellas.
The company has developed a custom merchandising display unit that will anchor the presentation in Chicago. It features 175 Sunbrella branded hanging fabrics, high-impact graphics, point-of-sale marketing information and 30 designer boards to inspire consumers with correlated settings.
Every SKU in the program will be stocked in Lexington's distribution complex in North Carolina for immediate delivery. Dealers will no longer be required to assume the inventory risk of container orders, although container pricing will be available for stocking dealers. This component of the program will be significant for smaller dealers and designers who lack the ability to flow large container orders.
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