An Inside Look


Thomas Lester is Business Editor for Home Accents Today. A graduate of Emory & Henry College’s Mass Communications program, Lester spent a dozen years working for newspapers in Virginia and North Carolina covering an array of subjects, ranging from community news, government, education, ACC sports and more before joining Progressive Business Media in 2013. As business editor, Lester covers all aspects of business in the home accents world, from the latest news from manufacturers to successful retail strategies and business analysis.

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  • Making furniture assembly a ‘snap’

    Much has been said and written about the adventures that come with assembling pieces from Ikea. In fact, in this space a couple of years back, we looked at a video game that mocked the assembly process. Those concerns have been noted. To that end, the Swedish home furnishings giant recently unveiled a new assembly method that doesn’t involve any tools. Instead, pieces lock into place with wedge dowels. The wedge dowel is a small plastic or wooden fitting with milled grooves all around, which looks much like a threaded screw. It clicks into pre-drilled holes, making screws and ... Read More
  • Appealing to the man of the house

    When one thinks of men and home décor, almost always, the first thought to come to mind is of the ubiquitous “man cave,” with its larger-than-life TV, bar-themed décor and lots of sports memorabilia. While there’s a reason this thought has existed for so long, today’s man wants more than a room where he can drink beer and watch football. The topic of the rise of men as shoppers and décor drivers was the subject of the “What Men Want” seminar during January's Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market at Americasmart. Hosted by Steelyard ... Read More
  • How Henry VIII's Julius Caesar tapestry made its way to New York

    Rodney Hakim, an owner of rug and tapestry retailer Persian Gallery New York, never imagined a tapestry purchased at auction around 15 years ago would create this much buzz. The 14x15 wool and silk tapestry, depicting Julius Caesar Crossing the Rubicon, might have belonged in the court of King Henry VIII. Yes, that Henry VIII. “Over the last two decades or so, we built up an inventory of unique tapestries and this has been one of the cornerstones. It’s one of our bigger, more imposing pieces,” Hakim told Home Accents Today. “We have all these larger antique tapestries and ... Read More
  • Highlights from the #FloorTour

    I recently hit the road to visit a half dozen rug manufacturers in South Carolina and Georgia to learn more about their operations, business practices, and in one case, to cover the groundbreaking of a new world headquarters. Stories from this excursion will soon be found at Home Accents Today and Furniture/Today. In the meantime, I'll have plenty of photos and thoughts from the trip on social media. You can follow all the action via the hashtag #FloorTour. Day 3: Pair of machine-made majors The final day of the #Floor Tour involved visiting a pair of machine-made rug ... Read More
  • When sky hooks meet hand knots

      Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a three-time NCAA men’s basketball champion with UCLA. He’s a six-time NBA MVP and champion from his time with the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers. He’s the greatest scorer in NBA history, with 38,387 points amassed during a  20-year, Hall of Fame career in which his sky hook shot was mimicked in playgrounds and gyms across the country. (I can attest to attempting – and failing at – his signature shot often) He advocates for tolerance and many social issues and writes passionately about the subjects in frequent contributions to Time and to the ... Read More
  • The pillow that went viral

    Nearly four years ago, designer Aviva Stanoff introduced her Mermaid pillow, which changes appearances when a hand is swept over its surface. A video featuring the sequined pillows recently went viral – garnering more than 30 million views – after appearing on NBC’s The Today Show on Jan. 21. Dallas-based newscaster Steve Noviello of KDFW visited Nebraska Furniture Mart recently and videoed his experience, in which the Mermaid pillow made its introduction to millions. Stanoff designed the pillow to celebrate her move to California from New York. She found the fabric in the Big Apple and said she loved the idea ... Read More
  • New venture offers direct path to one-of-a-kind rugs

    It’s never been easy to find the perfect one-of-a-kind rug. Traditionally, consumers have had to pore through stacks of carpets at a boutique rug shop; that is, if they happen to live close enough to a metropolitan area that has one. Noah Krinick, a principal of Solo Rugs, believes he has created a solution to this with a direct-to-consumer website that features high-end, one-of-a-kind rugs imported from Pakistan and India, as well as an assortment of pre-embargo Persian rugs. “At the end of the day, it’s a simple premise,” he said. “We’re taking the rugs we’ve ... Read More
  • The sales approach of a rug specialist

    As any smart retailer will tell you, a great way to make furniture vignettes pop is with accessories. Rugs, lamps, pillows, throws and more can turn an ordinary brown sofa into a true eye-catcher. Those who get this are no doubt setting themselves up for success by virtue of making their furniture settings more attractive and in the process, helping a customer see how a piece might look inside her home. So while rugs can help set the stage for furniture, is it out of the realm of possibility to think that furniture can help accentuate a rug? That’s ... Read More
  • New NYICS operator advocates for education

    Murtaza Ahmadi has seen plenty in two decades as an area rug importer and market exhibitor. Ahmadi, whose family owns and operates Amadi Carpets, a high-end resource, is leaning on those experiences as he takes the reins of the New York International Carpet Show, which takes place Sept. 19-21 in the Metropolitan Pavilion at 125 W. 18th St. in Midtown Manhattan. “I have a vision for the show. I certainly want this to become more of a resource for the design community,” Ahmadi said. “We want to expand in the coming years besides hand-knotted rugs. We want to bring in ... Read More
  • From the floor up: Vendors adding rugs into furnishings mix

    Good showroom merchandising nearly always includes area rugs, and years of setting up showrooms and finding rugs from other sources has encouraged some furnishings manufacturers to try to produce a rug line themselves. Several multi-category companies, including Uttermost and Currey & Company, added rugs over the last few years, and now even more are finding themselves in the business of rug production, importing and sales as they look to expand their product lines, add new revenue streams and attract more customers. Leather upholstery producer W. Schillig’s initial foray into area rugs in April at the High Point Market was a ... Read More
  • Rug producers reaching out to help in Nepal

    The images from Nepal are heartbreaking. On April 25, an earthquake registering 7.8 on the Richter scale shook Nepal, with catastrophe left in its wake. More than 5,000 people have been confirmed killed in the quake and its aftershocks while thousands remain missing. Homes, businesses and timeless landmarks have been reduced to rubble. As the country begins to rebuild, the worldwide rug community is reaching out to help as it can. Nepal is a major source of area rugs and many importers and producers have a presence in the nation. Goodweave, which is dedicated to eradicating child labor ... Read More
  • What color is...?

    It's the latest thing to "break the internet." In case you were buried underneath the deluge of snow that hit the southeastern U.S. and couldn't get to social media, a photo of a dress, posted to Tumblr on Feb. 25 created quite the stir online. The debate rages on whether the dress in question is white and gold or blue and black with the hashtag #thedress. Personally, I see light blue and taupe, but then again I've always done things my own way.       Here's a sampling of how the home décor industry has gotten ... Read More