Volume 26/number 28 June 10/17, 2013
By Ken Ryan
John Lewis is in a very enviable position these days as the Tuftex-Shaw sales rep for Venecia and Palladia, the hugely successful collections crafted from Stainmaster TruSoft nylon.
“I tell my wife when I get home at night, ‘This is our house-payment maker,’” said Lewis, who represents RC Willey in Salt Lake City.
Other flooring professionals have voiced similar laudatory remarks about Venecia and Palladia, which Tuftex-Shaw introduced about eight months ago along with four other collections.
According to Steve Hendricks, buyer for RC Willey, Venecia and Palladio were successful from the beginning. “I brought Palladio as part of my stock program in the fourth quarter of 2012 and it shot into my top five as soon as it got here,” he said. “We just finished our spring Stainmaster private sale and it ranked No. 2 by yards sold for the sale; Venecia made top 10 for the sale. By the end of May I will have all the soft options in my showrooms. I anticipate Venecia being my No. 1-selling soft fiber style.”
Suzanne Zurfluh, product development manager for Tuftex-Shaw Industries, is responsible for the lines, which she said took just six months to develop, from start to finish. “The unique blend of yarn combinations make Venecia and Palladio different than anything on the market today.”
Zurfluh also said the styles are meant to capture the color complexity found in natural stone, which tie into the Tuftex philosophy of color and design, called “Color Logic.”
“By recognizing that color can significantly affect the mood and feel of a room, Tuftex developed Color Logic principles by offering color palletes that complement and coordinate with stone, ceramic and hardwood to allow homeowners to create their own ideal interior spaces,” she explained. “This complex variation in color makes it easy to coordinate with contemporary decor whether you are decorating a traditional or contemporary home.”
RC Willey did not have much success with the TrueSoft fiber until the Tuftex styles arrived, noted Hendricks. “It’s really the styling that sets them apart. It might not be as soft as the other soft fibers out there but it’s good looking enough to be just soft enough. The other soft fibers have gotten away with being average looking and sold on softness only.”
David Snedeker, division merchandise manager, Nebraska Furniture Mart, Omaha, said Venecia and Palladio sell “based on the softness…but I still believe color and style are the primary drivers. The product’s natural granite characteristic look is the selling factor. The softness seals the deal.”
Palladio, available in 30 colors, was introduced with Martinica as a best/better duo inspired by the natural colorations of travertine, limestone and granite. “Martinica is a lighter weight version of Palladio,” Zurfluh said. “It includes the same color palette as Palladio with the unique blend of yarn combinations.”
Venecia, which comes in 36 colors, was inspired by and created using the same vision of natural stone as Palladio. The line also shares the same complex yarn combinations in a “more luxurious construction,” she noted.
“Coronado Bay and Montage are better/best textured cut piles that incorporate luxury, softness and durability. Their sophisticated heathered color palette with unsurpassed color clarity makes them statement products in the market,” Zurfluh said. “Sheer Delight is a tip sheared loop made with a blend of TruSoft yarns. Its small-scale grid pattern portrays timeless sophistication and features a modern, contemporary look with a rich luster.”
While Martinica, Coronado Bay, Montage and Sheer Delight have performed well in the market, Venecia and Palladio are the stars of the collection.
Hendricks expects Venecia to rise to the No. 1 spot in his showroom even though it will be priced slightly higher than similar soft fibers. Why? “It is the best looking option out there,” he said. “First and foremost, it is great looking; softness comes second and pricing third. If it were made out of a ‘less soft,’ less expensive fiber, I don’t think sales would increase much simply because the price went down. Customers are willing to pay for soft.”