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High Point market: Rug mills open up color palette

HIGH POINT, N.C.—Before the latest International Home Furnishings Market even opened its doors, industry consultant Jerry Epperson issued this statement: “After several years of neither the manufacturer, the importer or the retailer willing to take any styling risks, many retail floors are looking stale and unimaginative. We expect 2010 to be a year of creative new styles and concepts.”

Epperson’s prophesying seemed to be on track as manufacturers from all industries touted braver, more expressive lines during the spring edition of the market.

Area rug companies joined suit, conveying their distinctive traffic-stopping qualities in different ways. Company C, for example, took the most visual route by offering attendees three groups of rugs— Paint, Fusion and Shimmer—that focus on a unique color and pattern story.

Paint, a loomed 100% wool rug, is inspired by a range of techniques, from pointillism to pop art, tie-dye to graffiti and splatter. Hues in this line are turquoise, purple, orange and green. It retails for $990 for a 6 x 9. Fusion takes its ideas from Asian cultures and features jade, crimson, periwinkle, mango and kiwi colors. The 100% wool hooked line sellsfor$935fora6x9.Going in a little different direction is Shimmer, which puts the spotlight on metals and aged patinas. The 100% wool rug applies motifs from Art Nouveau and Art Deco with shades of copper and pewter. A 6 x 9 retails for $1,160.

While most home furnishings manufacturers might unveil new furniture lines and then seek companies to partner with in order to offer consumers a total lifestyle look, Company C added pizzazz to the marketplace by taking a different approach. Its success with its rug line, which led to coordinating product lines of bedding pillow, throws and fabric, has been expanded to include upholstered furniture.

Not playing it safe

Familiar with broad-spectrum marketing, Kathy Ireland is not playing it safe with styles or colors this season. Ireland, known in home furnishings arenas for her expansive Kathy Ireland Home products, has put her design stamp of approval on new looks for Shaw, including 14 in the Young Attitudes collection and 11 in the popular International First Lady collection, which has continued to grow and expand since first being introduced in 2005.

“With a colorful rug, consumers can start, literally, from the ground up and build their room, their furnishings and accessories around those colors,” she said during an exclusive interview with FCNews. Ireland shared her belief the flooring industry has weathered the economic woes and will have future success by focusing not only on styles and colors, but on environmentally friendly, sustainable and durable products, noting all her Shaw rugs tout those attributes. “Life is messy. We need products that can handle those messes but are also wonderful to live with, and are clean and green.”

Both collections are offered in a variety of popular sizes and are made with Shaw’s recycled/recyclable fibers. In the Young Attitudes line a 5-foot 5-inch by 7-foot 9-inch rug carries a suggested retail price of $199, while the same sized rug in the First Lady collection offers a suggested retail price of $739.

Ireland suggested retailers take some of the new styles and colors unveiled this season and “mix them up” to help bring some excitement into their stores. “Put an area rug over broadloom,” adding that dealers should feature small vignettes with furnishings to show how a unique rug can pull a room together.

Epperson offered High Point attendees other ideas for achieving success after the recent economic woes:

  • Offer new products, replace and upgrade at least one-third of the retail floor mix;
  • Replace, paint, refurbish signage to keep the store looking new, and
  • Explore new media opportunities to make your presence known.

Dalyn is betting on the expansion of its custom rug collection to bring consumers into retail stores for the second half of 2010. Twelve new looks include constructions of wool, natural grasses or nylon in a myriad of design, texture, color and size options. There is a throwback to shag with Maxim, a 100% nylon pile in 33 colors, 18 designs, 17 sizes and five shapes. A 5 x 8 ranges from $599 to $899. There is also hand- carved detailing in Vista, while Boulevard, at $399 for a 5 x 8, offers dual yarn construction: plush and twist yarns that are both made of 100% premium polyester and provide 32 colors.

“We’re excited,” says David Adams, executive vice president at Dalyn. “The new collections make custom rug ordering even more enticing. With an almost endless amount of options and Dalyn’s simplified custom rug ordering process, the decision is no longer whether to order a custom rug, but which one to choose.”

Another company creating interest at High Point was Feizy, which focused on three lifestyle trends that call attention to the “mystique” of the Oriental rug. Its new Namche collection is hand-knotted of premium handspun wool. Patterns in the line display vital colors to freshen today’s homes. A 6 x 9 has a selling price of $1,728.

Capel reported having one of its most successful markets in recent years. Allen Robertson, vice president of sales, said the company’s domestically produced American Originals braided rugs were double that of typical market sales. “Buyers responded to the huge variety of colors, shapes, sizes and materials this unique category of area rugs offers.”

He added Capel’s transitional and soft-contemporary introductions were also favorites, so much so that its chic, nature-inspired Graphique collection was the company’s best seller at market, with a 5 x 8 having a suggested retail price of $499. “We have worked hard to create collections that meet the changing needs and tastes of today’s consumer,” Robertson said, “and this success shows how our hard work has paid off.”

-Deena Bouknight