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JEWELRY-MAKER SAXON SETS SIGHTS ON STORAGE.

WARWICK, R.I.-Vito Scola is a man with a mission.

Specifically, he wants to save the world from a source of universal aggravation.

"Whether you are rich or poor, male or female, young or old ... everybody is bothered by hangers," said Scola, the chief executive of jewelry manufacturer Saxon International.

"Everyone has a hanger problem."

The result: Saxon is now a manufacturer of storage products, as well as jewelry. The company has entered housewares with the Hanga-Danga, a hanger-storage unit with carrying handle.

The Hanga-Danga is currently in a four-store test run in Walgreen in stores located in the Midwest. The product debuted in August 1999 and has since been sold via a number of catalogs, including The Paragon, Improvements, Fingerhut, Get Organized and Home Trends. Scola also sells it from a Web site at www.hangadanga.com.

In the first 12 weeks of this year, 30,000 to 50,000 units have shipped, Scola said.

Cataloger Lillian Vernon plans to roll out the Hanga-Danga on June 30, Scola told HFN, adding that four or five other catalogs have also expressed interest in picking up the product.

Scola is looking to expand retail distribution beyond Walgreen, with the caveat that he does not want the product's price to be reduced.

"My item is $9.99 [$16.99 for two], and I don't want to discount."

A primary reason for partnering with Walgreen was the fact that the drug chain held the retail price.

It was personal frustration that led Scola to disappear to his wood shop in the cellar, where he put together the first Hanga-Danga. Realizing that others may very well find a use for such a product -- it is said that as many as 3 billion hangers are made each year -- Scola disappeared back into the cellar. After seven painstaking months he developed a "perfect" prototype. Scola, who has an extensive background in design, made 200 Hanga-Dangas, then gave them to his friends to elicit feedback. The results were quite positive.

Scola spent some $100,000 on developing the item and holds several patents for the design and engineering of the product.

The Hanga-Danga holds more than 100 wire hangers, 36 plastic hangers and 12 wood hangers.

At the NACDS drugstore trade show in the New Orleans convention center June 25 through June 28, sun-block maker The Mercer Group Ltd. will help Scola hype his product.

The storage category has attracted other newcomers. Manco, for one, entered storage this year. The maker of shelf liners is touting a line of storage products for bath and kitchen.

Storage overall has been a healthy category. According to HFN research, the plastic storage category grew 6 percent in 1999 over 1998, to $1.52 billion in retail sales. Wire storage was up 5 percent, to $712.9 million.
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Title Annotation:storage products
Comment:JEWELRY-MAKER SAXON SETS SIGHTS ON STORAGE.(storage products)
Author:Lieber, Ed
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 10, 2000
Words:468
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