Avanti Linens co-founder Arthur Tauber could have thrown in the towel when his uncle fired him from his monogram company more than a half-century ago. Instead, he invented a new textile category and launched a business with his wife, Sandy.
Embellished towels – with fringe and other decorative trim – originated with the Taubers, who started Avanti Linens in New York in 1969.
As rents rose and the business grew, Avanti moved to Moonachie in 1986, leaving behind its site at 111 Eighth Ave., now the Google Building in Manhattan.
Tauber chose its New Jersey Meadowlands location after a dedicated search, said Jeff Kaufman, Avanti’s president and Chief Operating Officer.
“Arthur Tauber did a lot of looking once the decision was made to move out of the city,” Kaufman said. “He looked farther west and south, but in the end, he liked our current location because of its proximity to the city.”
Meadowlands Location Offers Ample Space
First occupying 65,000 square feet at 234 Moonachie Road, the company expanded three more times in its current location, now occupying the entire 175,000-square-foot facility.
The site offers ample space for Avanti’s employees to pick, pack and ship its products, as well as
sewing and embroidery operators for Avanti’s free-standing embellished towels, plus design, marketing, sales and administrative functions. Last year, Avanti opened a 1,500-square-foot showroom at 34 W. 33rd St. in New York.
“They love the Meadowlands and they like what they do,” Kaufman said of Avanti’s 120 employees, some of whom have been with the company for decades.
A New Design Takes Off
Avanti’s scope is a quantum leap from its origins years ago.
When Tauber graduated from college in 1959, his uncle offered him a job in his monogramming business, which lasted until he was fired after an argument.
Out of work, Tauber visited a Lord & Taylor buyer, and told him about a towel with a bamboo design that his wife, Sandy, had created.
With no actual business and no business plan, Tauber bluffed his way into his first order, using towels from Lord & Taylor’s stock to embellish with Sandy’s design.
“He didn’t know what he didn’t know and before he knew it, he received his first order from Lord & Taylor,” Kaufman said. “They soon had placements in all the major department and specialty stores in the country. Avanti quickly became known as the go-to for decorative towels.”
Decorative Accessories Expand Business
In 2003, Avanti’s focus on embellished towels expanded as the company made its first foray into decorative bath accessories, including countertop accessories, shower curtains and rugs. In 2009, it acquired a larger company in bath accessories, as well as table linens and kitchen textiles.
“That changed the trajectory of the company,” Kaufman said. “With that acquisition came the Spode Christmas Tree license, the most successful license we’ve ever owned and still own 14 years later.”
In 2020, Avanti entered the decorative bedding business, which Kaufman described as a logical product extension. Along the way, the company has expanded its license business to include Fiesta Bed and Bath, Jonathan Adler and Nicole Miller, with another well-known national brand waiting in the wings.
Kaufman cited a trend to cleaner, simpler designs, with a focus on texture and color, overall design and pattern.
“A more contemporary or transitional aesthetic has come on strong over the last several years and looks like it’s here to stay,” he said, adding that Avanti still offers a balance for customers “who like to have it all match.”
Tauber Family Still Involved
Arthur Tauber remains CEO and chairman of Avanti Linens, involved in the company’s financial and strategic direction, while Sandy Tauber, the primary designer for years, has stepped back from the business side. Their son, Michael Tauber, is president of sales, involved in Avanti’s day-to-day operations.
Retail consolidation has dramatically changed the industry in recent years, and with Bed, Bath & Beyond – one of Avanti’s biggest customers for a number of years – entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the number of customers decreased.
Still, Avanti’s expertise in fashion bath, speed to market and commitment to deliver high-quality products on time, at the right price, allow it to flourish in a difficult environment, Kaufman said.
“We look forward to continuing to do more of the same, in the Meadowlands, for many years to come.”