Rug companies invigorated by positive market signs
Thomas Lester -- Home Accents Today, 5/1/2013 2:00:00 AM
If April's High Point market is any indication, rug companies have reason to feel good about 2013 and beyond. Several companies reported strong markets with optimistic buyers and increased traffic flow. They say those factors portend good things to come.
Mark Ferullo, Rizzy Home's vice president, said many of Rizzy's rug collections fared well, but the company's customizable bedroom package really grabbed the attention of buyers.
"The best items at market were the ‘Dress the Bed' program where people can mix and match our bed sets, our rugs and our pillows along with the kilim furniture," Ferullo noted. "We have made it so retailers can offer a starting price point of $199 for a top of bed set and build on with accessories to make it all the way to $1,999."
Ned Baker, Tamarian Carpets' client liaison, said certain colors piqued the interests of buyers and designers, including ocean blues and greens, soft lilacs, creams and grays.
"All the fresh, vibrant colors seemed to attract the most attention and excite people. We also showed a lot of new textures, mixed fibers, different knotting techniques and finishes," Baker said. "The subtle beauty of these techniques excited designers who look for ‘friendly' product that will harmonize with an interior."
Nourison's Nepal collection and new Kathy Ireland introductions (see story, page 100) were well-received at market, according to Joyce Lowe, executive director of the area rug division. She noted textures and color stories were most important to buyers and designers who visited the showroom.
Making its first venture into High Point, SAMS International had a positive experience, according to David Abecassis.
He observed that eye-catching products are what drew buyers into showrooms.
"I think the general reaction we're seeing is people are looking for creativity," Abecassis said. "It's not really specific, but when they see it, they know it. They want something with a twist. To me, that's the new standard; the unique feel of each design. It's up to us to express that."
Capel Rugs added 19 new products, including a new line of rugs by designer and blogger Coco, who was on hand for the official launch on April 22. It also brought more than $1 million worth of one-of-a-kind rugs to market. At the other end of the price spectrum, said VP of Sales Allen Robertson, Capel also featured a rack of 120 rugs at market, which could each retail for less than $500 for a 5x8.
Cyrus Loloi said many buyers gravitated toward rugs with eased traditional looks, and several of Loloi's featured rug lines fared well.
"We saw a strong response from a couple of our hand-knotted collections including Mirage and Essex as well as our power loomed Nyla collection," the Loloi principal said. "On the more contemporary side, people also liked our Escape collection."
Loloi's brother Steven, also a principal of Loloi, said he observed "cautious optimism" at market's outset. At its conclusion, he still felt buyers were opening their checkbooks with a little less apprehension than before.
"It was a strong beginning of the year and we're still seeing recovery in the housing market," he said. "That bodes well."
Andrew Shabtai, vice president of The Rug Market America, said a number of new lines drew buyers' attention when they visited his company's showroom.
"We introduced a new collection called Vogue," Shabtai said. "It caught people's eyes. It's kind of a glamour line."
Candace Clarke, marketing director for Jaipur Rugs, said the company couldn't have had a better market week. Jaipur had around 450 new samples in its showroom.
"Business has been good all the way around," Clarke noted. "We're excited. We had people staying longer in the showroom. The categories are going deeper with us, which is a good sign."
Buyers and designers seemed more interested in making purchases rather than just visiting the showrooms for future reference.
|A line of rugs designed by Kate Spain
was introduced by Surya at the April High
|This rug from the Boardwalk collection
by Foreign Accents was on display at the
|Jaipur Rugs had around 450 new rug
samples at its showroom for the April
High Point Market.|
"By feel, I think traffic is about the same as last market, but I think there's something in the air that is making people want to buy more," said Seth King, vice president of sales for Surya, which launched new rug lines from French interior designer, author and product designer Florence de Dampierre, surfaces designer Kate Spain, fashion designer Peter Som and the brand for late Australian designer Florence Broadhurst (see story, page 102).
Feizy Rugs had a particularly eventful weekend at market, with its 40th anniversary celebration and buyers coming through placing orders. Dale Sweary, vice president of sales, noted the rug source introduced several collections ranging among machine-made, tufted and knotted rugs. He said all of which were well received by visitors, particularly Feizy's unique, knotted offerings.
"Our knotted, one-of-a-kind ‘Trends' collection had wide appeal once again and we were excited to see the business continue to grow in that category," Sweary said. "Overall we feel terrific about every new intro during the April market."
Sweary said if buyers' moods are any indication, the rug industry could be looking at a boom on the horizon.
"I would have to say that, across the board, we felt the momentum swing to ‘we are eager and looking forward to great things this year,'" Sweary observed. "If the buyers' comments are on target, we have an exciting year in front of us at all levels, and I believe the industry is stepping it up to bring new and consumer-oriented products to the forefront."
Patricia Rempen, president and CEO of Foreign Accents, noted rugs sometimes move easier than furniture and the company's Boardwalk Collection fared very well at market. She said rugs generally tick upward earlier than furniture.
"What's cool about rugs is if furniture sales are slower than people like, rugs are an easier sell," she said. "They transform a room without a lot of expense."
Rempen said she feels buyers' priorities seem to be shifting.
"It seems that customers are looking a bit more for quality and good design these days," she said. "It has been ‘price' for so long that ‘quality' and ‘construction' are a nice change! Also, the larger sizes are growing in popularity."
Brandon Culpepper, Mohawk Industries' vice president of specialty sales, said the company's Axminster line from Karastan and printed Flagstaff and Concord lines from American Rug Craftsmen did well at High Point. He said as a whole, business appears to be trending upward.
"We saw more order placement at the show than we have in several markets," Culpepper said. "In general, the retailers we worked with are excited about their rug business."
While many rug companies reported busy showrooms, others said it is difficult to anticipate how each market will perform. Don Newton, senior vice president of Orian Rugs, said traffic was sometimes slow, but appointments remained steady. However, Newton believes buyers are feeling better about business.
"We started seeing it in January; more optimism and less complaining," he said. "If the head gets right, the body follows. If the retailers start feeling better, they start acting better."
Kamran Kalaty, one of the operators of Kalaty Rug Corp., said from his vantage point, there weren't as many attendees to the market. He said visitors to the showroom seemed more interested in contemporary styles.
"Not for us, but in general, it seems like there's been less traffic," Kalaty noted. "Sunday, we had OK traffic. Monday was good."
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