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Tuftex eyes multi-tier marketing strategy

March 30/April 6, 2015; Volume 28/Number 20

By Steven Feldman

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 2.20.34 PMSanta Fe Springs, Calif.—Tuftex, the premium, high-fashion brand under the Shaw Industries umbrella, is seeking to appeal to a wider audience while continuing to push its nylon franchise. With a heritage that is entrenched in leading-edge style, Tuftex will soon embark on a multi-tier merchandising strategy.

“We realized that our appeal to a broader audience is allowing us to take the Tuftex brand in a couple of different directions with our branding strategies,” said Doug Jackson, vice president of sales and marketing.”

As such, the new Tuftex Classics will focus on “affordable luxury” including as many as 25 products, constructed of both branded and unbranded yarns that in some cases will be mixed to create unique patterns.

Tuftex Classics thus allows the company to focus its flagship Tuftex brand on price points from the mid $14s on up with medium- to high-end products that most retailers identify with the brand.

“Classics allows us to offer value-oriented fashion,” Jackson said. “Over the last few years the industry has moved away from nylon and forgot what nylon can do. We felt there was a void in the market at the nylon entry-level stage. Classics is a great combination of top selling trends.” The line includes textured cut piles, tailored cut piles, cut/uncut patterns, boucle loops and more with color lines ranging anywhere from 24 to 30 in each style.

The Tuftex Classics display will appropriately be more simple, straightforward and take up a smaller footprint. Lisa Lux, director of product development, described the look as “timeless and classic, including lifestyle imagery which will coordinate with product color palettes and convey the look and feel of the product. We need to appeal to the generation that has not been putting carpet in their homes.”

The traditional Tuftex line will continue to offer its hallmark fashion-forward, experimental, bold colors in a wide array of styles and patterns like LCLs, shags and loops. Color lines will number 36, “which is typically longer than what most people do,” Jackson said.

The two collections will be unique not only in product and price point but also in their merchandising. “We definitely don’t want to combine the two on one display,” Jackson said.

Everything under one roof

Tuftex, with a longstanding history of quality and craftsmanship, has been manufacturing carpet for more than 44 years, beginning as a family-owned mill and growing through acquisitions. A recent development was moving the entire operation under one roof, specifically bringing tufting to the main facility

“It is easier to walk outside my door and talk with everyone in the plant,” Jackson said. “That is part of our service proposition. Even though the other plant was just two miles down the road, it seemed to add 24 to 48 hours to everything. Now we are more nimble. Whether they are in claims, product development, etc., it’s nothing for leadership to walk into the plant and if there is an opportunity it’s all hands on deck.”

Suzanne Zurfluh, product marketing manager, added that if a pattern needs changes in the R&D phase, they can run up to product development, make a change on the product and literally be running it within an hour. “The team concept seems so much easier that we are all here. It’s almost organic. At least we are rowing in the same direction.”

Jackson likes the idea of his team—manufacturing, marketing, product development, sales, etc.—having lunch together and talking about what is working, and where some opportunities may lie. “We think that creates a unique environment. Plus, there is obviously some cost savings. We are no longer paying rent on something that housed half of manufacturing. We are now a 100% Shaw-owned facility.”