Sunday, Jun 17, 2018
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La-Z-Boy aims at iPod generation


The group to debut in March features mix-and-match pieces.


Its Lea Industries unit will introduce next March a bedroom collection dubbed iRoom, taking color, design, and other cues from Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod digital-music player.

Lea, which makes youth furniture, expects the contemporary dressers, costing $599, and matching clear-maple-finish pieces will appeal to those aged 12 to 17, said Jack Richardson, president of La-Z-Boy's American Drew and Lea brands.

The company, which has its headquarters in Monroe, is one of the nation's largest furniture makers.

"The iPod, the whole concept, has really captured the teen market," he said.

Various companies have jumped onto the iPod bandwagon, much as they did after Apple introduced the colorful iMac computer a decade ago, said Paul Parkin, a founding principal of SALT Branding in San Francisco.

Following those devices has produced mixed results, and companies run the risk of trying to capitalize on what ends up being a short-lived fad, he said.

"It's a very common strategy," Mr. Parkin said.

"The iPod has gone from being essentially a niche technology product to being a huge national seller."

To make the strategy successful, companies need to come up with unique products instead of becoming a "me too" brand, said Britt Beemer, founder and chairman of America's Research Group in Charleston, S.C.

"If it's all the same, then of course it never works," he said.

La-Z-Boy, for example, advanced its brand this year with an alliance with trendy designer Todd Oldham. That furniture collection is aimed at people in their 20s and 30s.

Lea's iRoom collection was revealed this month at the International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, N.C.

The collection features sleek lines and the potential to mix and match colored metal hardware, allowing teens to customize their bedroom sets, said Mr. Richardson of Lea. Plus, the modular entertainment center can be sized to fit any space, including a corner.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at:

or 419-724-6087.

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