By David Gill
Last week’s New York Home Fashions Market brought the relaunch of Springmaid, one of the textiles industry’s iconic brands, as a complete home-decor label.
The new products under the revitalized Springmaid label are expected to reach retailers in spring 2009, in time to mark the brand’s 80th birthday.
The move represents a significant effort by Springs Global to reposition the brand after a long run as basically a captured label at Wal-Mart. Once an upstairs powerhouse, Springmaid was moved to Wal-Mart in the 1990s and became the top soft home brand at the big retailer.
After a long run, during which the brand may have racked up annual sales approaching $1 billion at retail, Wal-Mart began to cut back its Springmaid assortment in favor of other labels. Now, according to Mette Odom, director of marketing for the Springmaid brand for Springs Global, the goal is to broaden distribution beyond mass merchants and specialty stores to embrace every retail channel.
“One of our key strategies is about branding, and we have really gone much further with the brands we own,” Odom told HFN in an interview a week before this month’s New York Home Fashions Market. “We are now committed to brands and brand development, and the organization has put a focus on developing brands.”
More specific to Springmaid, the reintroduction was based on Springs Global’s “extensive research on how consumers shop and what they think of brands,” Odom said. “We walked away from this research knowing how they shop extensively across channels and seeing how brand-focused they are. They believe in brands, they trust brands, and brands give them the confidence and tools to express their individuality.”
Odom said Springmaid’s essential target consumers are females in their mid-30s who are married, who like to decorate their home and who care about quality.
“We’ve made Springmaid more updated and relevant for today,” she said. “The new products have simple and classic designs for the home that consistently surprise and delight.”
Edward Cardimona, chief global creative officer, told HFN, “We designed the products so that every time you make your bed or go into your bathroom, there’s a sense of discovery. There’s a real attention to detail; a clarity in the color palette; and a simple, straightforward way in which the designs are drawn.”
The ensembles that were introduced last week reflect this new design focus. Among the new looks are yarn-dyed plaids that reverse to stripes and florals that reverse to stripes, all in colors that stretch the old Springmaid palette to more adventurous levels. The fabrications include all-cottons and cotton blends, and Cardimona said the company would not feature thread counts on the packaging.
“Consumers don’t spend time on thread counts,” he said. “They don’t matter anymore.”
During February’s New York Home Fashions Market, when Springs Global first announced the coming reintroduction of Springmaid, Cardimona had said one of the goals is to make Springmaid into a home-decor brand. Prior to last week’s market, he added, “Springmaid can extend into other rooms beside the bedroom and bathroom. Currently, our focus is on owning the bedroom and the bathroom, but Springmaid has legs in other rooms in the future.”
Internal discussions are taking place now for brand introductions in other home products.
Springmaid’s rebranding goes beyond the launch of new products. The Springmaid logo has been updated and the packaging has been redesigned.
Cardimona said the graphics and copy style emphasize the simplicity and directness of the designs of the new products, and the photography uses a style that is aspirational.
Both Odom and Cardimona emphasized the word “holistic” in speaking about the new Springmaid.
“We use the word when we talk about brand development because the brand has an emotional promise,” Cardimona said. “Rather than just saying we do bed and bath and that’s where the conversation stops, we want to get into the shopper’s shoes and be prepared to deliver on her touch points as much as we can.”