‘They want things that are cool... shows they have style’
by Jennifer Cohron
Jan 16, 2011 | 2135 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This room, furnished with pieces from the Nick collection for 3- to 7-year-olds, has a twin panel bed with reversible and removable Classic SpongeBob panels. The panels also come in “Dora the Explorer,” “Go, Diego, Go” and a “Simply Bob” design. (Photo Special to the Eagle)
This room, furnished with pieces from the Nick collection for 3- to 7-year-olds, has a twin panel bed with reversible and removable Classic SpongeBob panels. The panels also come in “Dora the Explorer,” “Go, Diego, Go” and a “Simply Bob” design. (Photo Special to the Eagle)
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SpongeBob SquarePants doesn’t live in a pineapple under the sea anymore. He has moved in with his many young fans.

Nickelodeon Rooms by Lea is a new youth furniture collection that features popular television characters such as SpongeBob, Dora the Explorer and Diego.

Earl Wang, senior vice president of sales and merchandising for Lea Furniture, said talks began with representatives from Nickelodeon nearly two years before the licensed collection was unveiled in 2009.

Wang said a partnership between the top entertainment brand for kids and the leading producer of youth bedroom furniture was almost inevitable.

“Kids today are growing up with Nickelodeon. As they shared some information about the popularity of their different properties, it seemed like a natural fit to try to blend those properties into a furniture collection,” he said.

In Walker County, Nick Rooms is only available at TD’s Fine Furniture Outlet in Sumiton, a Lea gallery.

Children’s department manager Amy Thorne said customers have responded positively to the collection so far.

“We’re always looking for something unique and eye-catching. It has really fit well into the store,” Thorne said.

There are four product lines that target toddlers as well as their older siblings.

The Nick collection was designed for 3 to 7 year olds. The height of some of the pieces is adjustable and the graphic panels are interchangeable so the furniture can grow with the child.

“We tried to create some engaging furniture so the kids could interact with it and also add some new storage ideas to help Mom organize their rooms,” Wang said.

TweenNick is geared to 8- to 14 -year-olds who are developing their own sense of style. Wang said the Tween collection features more grown-up graphics of SpongeBob.

“The one we used was called Bob Squared. There is also a Simply Bob, which is more of a silhouette of SpongeBob. Those graphics were introduced by Nickelodeon to help celebrate SpongeBob’s 10th anniversary,” Wang said.

TweenNick also incorporates Nickelodeon’s signature green slime.

TeenNick was made for teenagers, who tend to hang out in their bedrooms rather than just sleep, study and store toys there like their younger siblings.

“We asked ourselves, ‘If iCarly had a bedroom, what would it look like?’” Wang said.

The final collection is called SpongeBob Surf Club. Wang described it as “Hollister meets SpongeBob, a Southern California laid-back lifestyle collection for tweens and teens.”

Wang said both kids of all ages had an opportunity to give their input while Nickelodeon Rooms by Lea was being created.

“Kids don’t want the same things their moms and dads have. They want things that are cool so when their friends come over and see it, it shows that they have style,” Wang said.

Some of the kid-friendly features of Nick Rooms include glow-in-the-dark panels and tents that can turn the space beneath loft beds into a fort or private playhouse.

Parents, in turn, can rest assured that the furniture will last.

“They wanted furniture that was well-built and would withstand the use of kids. So we designed this furniture specifically with higher-quality standards than what we would typically put in a kid’s bedroom,” Wang said.

Focus groups also revealed that parents wanted the furniture to be functional.

To meet this need, drawers were added beneath the beds in the Nick collection and to the steps on the loft beds so that younger kids can store their toys and older ones can show off trophies.

The footboard of one of the beds was turned into storage space for books.

“We found that the number one activity parents do with their children in their bedrooms is read to them. So we created the Storytime Captain’s bed that has a built-in bookcase in the footboard,” Wang said.