March 14/21, 2016; Volume 30, Number 19
Atlantic City, N.J.—Building on the success of Life Happens, the revolutionary carpet collection introduced in January 2015, Shaw Floors earlier this year rolled out Anso Living with the same backing technology but at a more mainstream price point to attract a broader audience.
Life Happens debuted last year with a patented 100% thermoplastic commercial-grade backing—LifeGuard—that provides a moisture barrier engineered to be highly resistant to liquids soaking into the carpet padding and subfloor. The line is also treated with Shaw’s patented R2X stain and soil resistance protection that keeps most liquid spills on the surface for easy removal.
“Life Happens was focused on high performance through [Lifeguard] and Anso fiber,” said Trey Thames, vice president of residential marketing and product development. “That has done great, but with a price point of $20 a square yard and up, we knew we were missing a segment of the market. So we came back with Anso Living, all targeted around $15. So an RSA can now show every style at one price point with the Lifeguard backing system.”
Anso Living offers a broad variety of styles consisting of solid cut piles, tonals, LCLs and flecks, and retailers will appreciate the smaller merchandising footprint compared to Life Happens. “We put a lot of product in the market in 2015 and the year before we had Caress,” Thames explained. “That was expensive for us, and expensive for dealers. So this year we didn’t want to overwhelm people with a lot of new introductions and big displays.”
Ed Leaf, owner of Leaf Floor Covering, Malvern, Pa., is already reaping the benefits of Anso Living. “I got the line five months ago and have sold a lot of jobs off that display. It is one of the easiest displays to take the customer to because everything is the same price. I have no trouble selling it. The consumer pays $5.65 a foot, including pad and labor. And all my pad is St. Jude, which gets the consumer an extra seven years on the warranty.”
Bret Smith, co-owner Carpet World of Martinsburg, Martinsburg, W. Va., believes the concept of having one price point for 12 different styles is a great selling point. “I take the consumer to the rack, tell her everything is one price, and simply ask, ‘Which one do you like?’” Smith has also had some success with Life Happens. “It’s a great product. The price point is not high for what it is. However, I would almost consider Anso Living to be a value item. It should be an easy upsell from a regular-backed carpet to LifeGuard backing.”
Dave Shepherd, general manager of Choice Floor Center, Owings, Md., welcomed the Anso Living introduction. “I liked that they are bringing Life Happens to a lower price point. The idea of Life Happens is great for young families but may have been priced a little too high. It had all the bells and whistles. You pull a few of those things back, and you can hit that price point. The colors are right in line with what people want. And for the marketplace they are targeting, they don’t need to go crazy.”
The price of the Life Happens products actually dissuaded Stephen Luisa, owner, IGS Flooring, Miller Place, N.Y., from taking on the line last year, but he wasn’t going to pass on Anso Living. “I liked the concept of the LifeGuard backing but the price points were a bit out of range for my clientele. However, the Anso Living collection gives me some versatility and allows me to offer that backing to a more mainstream clientele. I think the display is fantastic.”
Regarding displays, just about all have been designed to “live on the floor” for 10 years or longer. “We can trade out product and still have the same fixture,” Thames said. As such, Shaw freshened up some existing collections with new styles, colors, etc., without having the dealer buy new fixtures.
Among the lines receiving updates are Caress and TruSoft. Enhancements were primarily seen in the Caress Pattern collection that was launched last year. “There is a huge demand for patterns,” he said. “If you look at today’s consumers, they are into mass customization. They do not want what their neighbors have. We are trying to get people to think about flooring as a fashion statement and not something to just cover the floor.” New tufting technology by virtue of the Colorpoint machine is what enables Shaw to make unique patterns. “Rug-type looks,” as Thames called it.
TruSoft is a “well-styled” Stainmaster collection with a soft color palette to match the design of the products, Thames said. “We have some great LCLs and some solids, but the focus is more on tweeds and LCLs.” At a price point of $2.99 a foot and up, TruSoft is still doing well in the market, he said. “Pet Protect has the momentum, but people still want options in terms of color and styles they can’t get in solution dyed but can in piece died.”