ZWIEBACH’S PLUS-SIZE PLANS FOR DELTA BURKE

Byline: Shirliey Fung

NEW YORK — Delta Burke Design has named Beth Zwiebach as general manager and director of merchandising.
Zwiebach, who has been with the company as a merchandiser since 1996, replaces Barry Zelman, one of the company’s cofounders who recently became vice president and general manager of Elisabeth, Liz Claiborne’s plus-size line.
Zwiebach’s main responsibility is to oversee the direction and product development activities of the $60 million company’s 12 licensees, which manufacture items such as swimwear, handbags and jewelry. She reports to Gordon Ferragina, executive vice president and cofounder of the moderate plus-size resource.
“I’m working with all the different licensees to make the look of Delta very cohesive,” she said.
Zwiebach has had over 20 years of experience in the large-size market. She started her career as a plus-size buyer for Burdines and Jordan Marsh in Boston in the Eighties, and in 1987 helped found Audrey Jones, an East Winter, Conn. 64-door plus-size specialty chain that closed in 1991. After taking some time off to raise a family, she joined Delta Burke five years ago.
In her new role, Zwiebach hopes to broaden the vendor’s category offerings and retail exposure over the next five years. For spring, the line will sell for the first time in Belks, May Co. and J.C. Penney stores. Burke previously was only available in the latter’s catalog division.
Zwiebach hopes to raise the firm’s current 500 specialty and department store door count to 750 or 800 by the fall, with growth stemming partly from a new lingerie category and partly through its newly expanded knitwear line, which will feature embellished T-shirts and cowl-neck sweaters.
“Retailers have not taken advantage of the potential business to be done in the plus-size market,” said Zwiebach. “We have seen tremendous growth in both the catalog and retail business. The market is the fastest growing area in fashion, and we hope that retailers will begin to recognize the potential.”