15023 Mon, 08/11/2008 - 12:07pm
By David Gill
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.–Nate Berkus, who came to prominence as an interior-design guru on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” is preparing to become a featured performer on HSN as well.
The television shopping channel will debut Berkus’ line of home decor and furniture on the premiere of “HSN Home Design Event Presented by Elle Decor.” This five-week series of one-hour episodes will run from Oct. 13 to Nov. 15, and will profile Berkus’ collection along with trends in home decor.
The new line will include textiles, classic linens, decorative pillows, porcelain vases, coffee tables, headboards and sofas. Down the road, the collection will expand to include decorative accessories, lamps, wovens and rugs. The line is eventually expected to total more than 100 products, according to an HSN statement.
In an interview with HFN, Berkus described the line as “very far-reaching. We’ve worked for the past year in developing this line, and there will be a continuous rollout of new products as people get more familiar with the line.”
The looks Berkus has created have elements of mix-and-match, he said. “One of the tenets of how I’ve designed interiors is that if things work well, they can combine two or more styles in each room,” he said.
It also includes looks that can fit into existing decor. “The bed collections work well with each other and work with what consumers already have,” Berkus said. “I want to offer ways for consumers to personalize their home instantly, and you can’t do that unless you incorporate some of their treasures.”
For HSN, the Berkus program is part of a master plan for home goods. Speaking to HFN, Lynne Ronon, executive vice president of merchandising for HSN, said, “We’ve gone through an evolution in the past couple of years in remixing our business. In home, (the Berkus program) is a natural expansion in terms of introducing new designers and new brands.
“In the past, we had focused on proprietary lines in home,” Ronon added. “Doing a designer line at this level is another part of the evolution.” She said the Berkus launch is significant for HSN because of the designer’s products and his TV experience. “Part of our focus is on great products, great story and a great storyteller,” she said. “Nate is both a talented designer and has great experience with TV from being Oprah’s favorite design person.”
The program isn’t Berkus’ first venture into a home line. In 2005, his collection of bed ensembles debuted at Linens ’n Things, which then pulled back on the program last year. Berkus said he learned some important lessons from working on that line.
“Being in a brick-and-mortar retailer, you don’t have the opportunity to explain your inspiration,” he said. “I can explain it to a customer through HSN. Also, I can explain how I’m able to source things worldwide. I want the capability to explain what those designs mean to me, and it’s impossible if your designs are only in a store.
“What I learned from the Linens ’n Things program is that everybody wants to live really well in their home,” he added. “They want to see something that makes them smile, that brings them happy memories. Home is the perfect place for consumers to realize their aspirations and their lifestyle.”
Berkus’ ability to communicate all of these aspects is what Ronon believes will make his collection a strong performer on the network. “The whole thing about Nate is, he can tell a story about how you can change your room with just a bed ensemble and/or decorative pillows,” she said. “Instead of redecorating your whole house, just use accessories to change the look and the lifestyle.”
Ronon also predicted that the collection “will have broad appeal. Maybe all of it won’t be something for everyone, but an element of it will be.” While the specific pricing has yet to be determined, Ronon said the line will have a broad assortment of price levels.
Berkus also said it’s not clear whether Winfrey will talk about his HSN line on her show, but added that she has been “very supportive. She wants me to do what’s important for me.”