SLF re-branding youth program
Jane Kitchen -- Kids Today, 10/9/2012 11:55:40 AM
SLF last introduced youth under the name Sammy, but is re-launching the category as Room Gear.
"(Sammy) wasn't what it needed to be relative to the marketplace," said SLF President Lee Boone. "So we thought it was better to re-do it. We've gone at it with a new approach, and changed almost everything."
Boone said his experience at two youth manufacturers means he knows the lay of the land; the company is moving production from Malaysia to Vietnam, to a dedicated youth factory that also features a dedicated warehouse within the factory. This allows customers to mix containers right out of the factory, said Boone.
"The logistics of this is going to be much easier, and the service is going to be easier," he said.
Boone said with the changes in production, SLF wanted to choose a new name for the category as well.
"We wanted that cache with the consumer - something they could understand and relate to," he said. "We think (Room Gear) has that youthful, outdoor, sports vernacular."
Room Gear will debut this market with three collections is the best-selling styles in the category: Summertime, a white cottage group; Expedition, a gender-neutral cherry collection; and Sweetheart, a girls' white Victorian look.
"At the end of the day, you don't need that many styles to have a credible youth program, but you have to have the best, and you have to have fresh takes on those categories," said Boone. "...They're what you're going to sell every single day."
Each group includes about 25 SKUs, and price points are targeted at $399 for a twin and $499 for case pieces. Construction is wood solids and wood veneers, as well as select cherry veneers on Expedition.
While that's above where the Sammy youth groups were priced, Boone said he thinks Room Gear is priced very competitively and feels that those price points are at or below where the marketplace is.
Boone said each of the three groups features fresh, innovative approaches to the tried-and-true categories. He's paid special attention to finishes, looking at a true white finish and a fresher cherry, and used all premium specs, including English dovetails, full-extension metal side glides and fully sanded drawers.
The groups also include a few unique pieces, including a new type of staircase for a bunk. The nightstands feature back panels that fit onto the top of the nightstands with cork panels and picture frames.
Each collection will include three different beds; a basic, bunk and signature bed, which Boone describes as a "wow" bed.
In the Sweetheart collection, the signature bed is a platform bed with a storage option in the footboard, and a headboard upholstered with crystals. Expedition features a Dream Surfer Bed, a brown leather fully upholstered bed with built-in electronics in the headboard: an iPod docking station, speakers, storage and reading lights.
The Room Gear collections will begin shipping in January. After launching these first three collections this fall, Boone said Room Gear will follow up with additional looks at future markets.
"The youth business continues to grow in the U.S. - it's not getting smaller and it's not going away, and in fact, it seems to be growing faster than most categories," said Boone.
SLF shows in 220 Elm, space 200.
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