July 22/29, 2013; Volume 27/Number 7
By Joe Fondetti
Atlanta—If variety is indeed the spice of life, then those who attended the summer edition of the Atlanta International Area Rug Market in July had a full palate with colors and options from which to choose as they inspected the offerings in the AmericasMart showrooms.
While the summer market is traditionally slower than the winter version, that did not keep companies from pulling out their finery, and buyers at the show appeared to like what they saw.
Kevin Malkiewicz, vice president of the area rug division for AmericasMart, said an intentional effort had been made to integrate the home and rug floors and that seemed to resonate with buyers and sellers. “With this much activity now, we are all eagerly anticipating the traffic and activities of next January’s market,” he said.
The integration of floors started earlier this year, although some might have missed the import of a news release concerning the expansion of Silkroute International, which offers both home furnishings and rug collections. The move to Floor 5 in Building 1 nearly tripled the company’s space to more than 14,000 square feet, allowing it to showcase a wider variety of its product mix both during the markets and in between for daily business.
“By increasing our showroom space in Atlanta, we are now able to show a broader range of merchandise,” said Ferozan Ibrahimi, owner of Silkroute International.
The mesh of rugs, home décor items and furniture appeared to be a key to the July show, where a stroll through the market offered a wide variety of items for the curious shopper.
In Shaw Living’s showroom, noted designer Bob Timberlake, who is known for contributions in both the furniture and area rug worlds, held court. The company introduced 36 new area rug styles in the Bob Timberlake collection, inspired by Southern gardens, Southwestern patterns and enduring historical design. The collection is available in popular sizes ranging from 1’10” x 2’9″ to 9’6″ x 12’10”.
At Kashee & Sons, vice president Bob Kirby expressed a positive sentiment. “It’s not bad for a summer market. It feels like something good is about to happen.”
A pair of Canadian buyers was spotted on the fifth floor of Building 1 with maps in hand. They appeared eager to continue exploring the market. “It’s always an excellent show,” one said. “We come every
year. This year looks like there are a lot of people here, and that’s a good sign.”
At the Oriental Weavers showroom, it was all about color as the company continues its licensing agreement with Pantone. For those who might be uncertain about how Pantone views itself, a visit to the company’s website will leave you no doubt about its image. Pantone claims to be “the world-renowned authority on color and provider of color systems and leading technology for the selection and accurate communication of color across a variety of industries.”
In other words, from rugs to paint, Pantone knows how to make colors aesthetically appealing. Oriental Weavers launched four collections for the Pantone Universe collection during the July show, according to Nicki Rayburn, Oriental Weavers’ new director of marketing.
One of the offerings from Oriental Weavers is the Focus collection, a colorful, woven shag. While some might associate shags with the 1970s, the style is back. “I don’t know if it ever went away,” quipped Rayburn. “We have them in great colors, and they are fun.”
Oriental Weavers also brought a new crossweave, a flatweave and a printed nylon in the Pantone Universe family to show off in Atlanta, all quite colorful and ranging in price from $349 to $199 for a 5 x 8.
Thomas Itty, marketing director at Nourison, was also pleased with the market. The company brought new offerings from its Kathy Ireland collection to the show, with products ranging in price from $199 to $799.
“[The rugs are] machine made and run the gamut from polypropylene to wool,” Itty said. “It’s a pretty balanced collection targeting a certain demographic, which would be Middle America and families—that’s the caveat of the brand.”
The licensed brands always bring something new to the table, he said. “We try to find ones that fit spaces we don’t already have. They all have different brand spaces. This is the middle, family, woman-oriented brand we didn’t have before.”