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Susan Dickenson

PORTRAIT: John, Leah & Cameron Feizy

Hall-of-Famer Feizy Rugs turns 40 this year

In 2009, Feizy Rugs received its fifth ARTS Award for Rug Manufacturer of the Year and, as such, earned a Portrait: Feizy Rugs, Home Accents Todaypermanent place in the ARTS Hall of Fame, becoming the first and only rug manufacturer to have done so. Feizy's commitment to innovation and excellence has also garnered 11 America's Magnificent Carpet Awards, along with recognition from several shelter publications.

In 1973, company President and CEO John Feizy started Feizy Rugs as a small retail rug store in a suburb of Dallas. He quickly developed a loyal clientele of designers and moved to the Dallas World Trade Center. Before programmed designs were commonplace, he would travel to the great weaving centers of the world to hand-select pieces for his showrooms. The company began to take off in the late 1980s when its new programmed rug collections were especially well-received by retailers, who appreciated the idea of having a selection of designs available in a variety of standard sizes. Since then it's been steady growth both for the company and the family.

Leah Feizy, John's daughter and the company's executive vice president, joined the company in 1999 after receiving her degree in journalism. She started out as an assistant and copywriter in the advertising department, but worked various roles in order to learn the business "from the ground up." She currently oversees the advertising/marketing and inventory departments, and maintains close interaction with the design, human resources, customer service and accounting teams. Leah also acts as the liaison between Feizy Rugs and its various local, national and international charitable endeavors, including schools the company built and supports in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Senior Vice President Cameron Feizy, John's son, joined the company full time in 2001, also after completing college. He has also taken on various roles, primarily within sales and key accounts, but focuses primarily on sales and design.

This year marks Feizy's 40th year of operation, an event the family and company will celebrate with special collections, parties and promotions. In December, on the eve of that special milestone, Home Accents Today discussed the company's past, present and future with John, Leah and Cameron Feizy.

What does Feizy have planned for its 40th anniversary year? We have a bevy of really fabulous new collections debuting - some amazing collaborations with (licensing partner) Tracy Porter's new Poetic Wanderlust brand, and additions to the Fine and Home collections. We're also planning parties for the Dallas, Las Vegas and High Point markets with some fantastic promotions, incentives and contests. During off-market times, we'll host guest pinners to our Pinterest site, and offer discounts to our Facebook, Twitter and Houzz followers. And we plan to give back by participating in events with both local and national charitable organizations.Feizy Rugs 40th Anniversary

John, what has been the highlight of your career thus far? Forty years is a huge milestone. I'd have to say that's a definite highlight!

What are the biggest changes you've seen in the U.S. rug market over the decades? There has been a huge decrease in the supply of fine hand-knotted rugs, as a result of a decline in the number of qualified weavers that want to invest the time in creating these types of pieces.

Does Feizy have a best-selling rug, collection or style? Several designs from our Sophia Collection have received awards. It's a beautiful, classic grouping from the Fine Collection that seems to resonate with clients, even years after its introduction. The Ouray Collection is one of the newer Fine Collection groupings and is also doing well - incredibly opulent and elegant. From our Home Collection, Indochine and Saphir are definitely at the top for both sales volume and sales dollars. And Feizy Rugs continues to be one of the premier resources for one-of-a-kind, antique and semi-antique pieces.

Who are the buyers of Feizy rugs? We have a wide variety of customers, including large retail chains, rug stores, independent retailers, furniture stores, design firms, flash sale sites and a limited number of online stores. We're able to serve a large variety of clients because we have such a broad range of product in our catalog.

Who are your current licensees? We've enjoyed an amazing partnership with Tracy Porter since 2006. We've been approached with a lot of opportunities, but we won't enter into a licensing agreement unless we're sure it's a good fit and that each party is equally invested with a common vision.

What's new for the January markets? The Tamar Collection - a high-low soumak weave with a gorgeous palette - is our latest collaboration under the Poetic Wanderlust by Tracy Porter partnership. Our collaboration also produced the laidback-yet-elegant Coronado Collection of printed jute rugs. We are adding the Yardley Collection to the popular Saphir selection, which features transitional and contemporary designs power-loomed in beautiful greens, grays, blues and browns in a high-low texture of plush viscose. Those are just a few. We'll be keeping our Facebook, Twitter, Houzz and Pinterest followers updated with the latest news and sneak peeks.

AT A GlANCE:

Where do you live now, and where did you grow up? John: Born in Arak, Iran, raised in Tehran, and moved to the United States to attend college. Leah and Cameron: In Dallas, and we all live within walking distance of each other.

How did you earn your very first paycheck? John: My first job in the U.S. was as the oven man at the Wonder Bread bakery. Leah: Slinging candy and nuts at the House of Almonds in the Dallas Galleria. Cameron: Bussing tables at Bennigan's.

How do you relax/unwind? John: I enjoy spending time with family around the house. I also enjoy hiking and take the opportunity to do so any chance I get. Leah: Spending time with my family, cooking, reading and travel. My daughter is 5 years old now, so the traveling and reading is finally getting easier to do! Cameron: Playing with my pets or exercising.

What did you want to be when you were growing up? John: A surgeon. Leah: I had and still have a lot of artistic/creative passions. I was a vocal performance major for quite some time and still enjoy singing. I also enjoy writing, travel and fashion. The only hobby I haven't been able to work into my role at Feizy Rugs is the singing. Cameron: I always wanted to go in to the family business and, as long as I can remember, that's how I've always answered this question.

Complete the sentence: "I wish I knew how to..." John: Get everyone to peacefully coexist. Leah: Play guitar. Cameron: Work on cars. I like to learn how things work.

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