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Lighting recharge: Lawrin presents a new identity.

Kosciusko, Miss. - Lawrin Lighting has a new name, an its new president has developed and focus and marketing strategy.

The accessories division of furniture manufacturer Johnston/Tombigbee has changed its name to Allure, Distinctive Home Accents. The company will unveil its new identity, as well as more than 50 new lamps and accessories and an in-store merchandising display, at the JTB showroom on South Main Street in High Point during this week's home furnishings market.

Executives hope the renewal will attract new buyers and bring back retailers who had stayed away during Lawrin's troubled times.

At one time, Lawrin was a leading promotional lamp resource. The company lost ground as margins eroded, went bankrupt and was sold to Johnston/Tombigbee in March 1994. Since then, the company has sold promotional lamps to furniture retailers. Last fall, the company auctioned off a warehouse full of old component parts to make room for new components and new merchandise.

Phil Williams, who was named president of Lawrin in December and subsequently took on operational and managerial responsibilities as vice president and general manager of JTB, has been developing market goals and strategies to meet them. Williams reports to Scott Berry, president of JTB.

One of the first orders of business was to survey the market and find a new place to fill. When Williams researched the retail lighting market, he said he found an opening in "moderately priced, but stylized product.

"We don't want to be a metoo company," Williams remarked, adding that Allure will try to differentiate itself from other vendors by designer looks, value prices and new marketing concepts.

This market, for instance, buyers will see a new product line with designer collections by industry talents Jan Graf and Delores Everhart and Tina Higgins, a designer new to the lamp arena.

Graf has signed on to develop a line of sports motif lamps and sculptures, the first of which will debut this week: the image of a golfer driving from a tee. The piece will be available in alabaster or bronze finish and will be signed by the designer. It will retail for approximately $100.

Other introductions include a collection of native pottery and metal combined in several lamp bodies, resin accent lamps, hydrocal lamps in varied finishes, and several brass and ceramic pieces.

Themes include environmental looks, French country, Spanish Gothic, traditional styles, eclectic looks and what Williams describes as "feminine looks."

The bulk of the line will be priced under $100. Opening retail prices will be $39 to $49, while the top will be $200 for a table lamp and $329 for a floor lamp.

"All accent lighting will retail in the $39 to $79 range, but will offer lots of detail, added value," Williams said. Accent lamps measure 22 inches and under.

Additionally, Allure will present a new in-store modular merchandiser for accent lamps and accessories. It hopes to market the display to furniture dealers with a minimum purchase.

"This is a new concept for furniture retailers that can really differentiate them," Williams said.

Allure finishes and assembles merchandise and manufactures all its shade at its Kosciusko, Miss., facility.

Johnston/Tombigbee's roots are with the independent furniture dealers. Over the past seven years, JTB's sales have grown from $6 million to $50 million; the company has added product lines and expanded its retail clientele, according to Berry. JTB is currently pursuing department stores.

"We're trying to get out of the box with market expansion into other areas," Williams reported. National chains, department stores and specialty stores will be targeted.

The company is also putting together a special sales rep force to address the retail lighting showroom trade.

"From the inception, Lawrin was a strongly recognized name, but for a host of reasons, the eye was taken off the ball," Berry related. "The company was idle when we showed up about two years ago. That image has carried over, that image of a close-out company. It's been somewhat of an obstacle to overcome," Berry explained.

Executives decided to shed the name and, they hope, any connotations the name carried with it in the marketplace. Because the company wanted to strike out with new home decor products that coordinate with JTB's furniture lines, it needed an name that did not limit it to one accessory category. Hence the name "Allure" and the tagline, "Distinctive Home Accents."

This market, Allure will present lamps and mirrors, but executives expect the collection will eventually encompass wall decor, occasional furniture and furniture from the Old Waverly division, which produces wicker and iron pieces.

"Lighting and accessories are an integral part of our business," Berry commented. "They're the glue that binds."
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Title Annotation:Lawring Lighting
Author:Meyer, Nancy
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:Apr 15, 1996
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