October 23/30, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 10
By Lindsay Baillie
Despite the increase in hard surface sales, carpets and rugs continue to hold significance in flooring showrooms across the United States. Kane Carpet, a trendsetter in broadloom since 1947, is helping dealers increase margins and soft surface sales with its high-end carpets and rugs. The company also aims to provide retailers with upsell opportunities through its service, style and quality.
“We’ve put our customers back into the rug business,” said Bruce Kurtz, vice president sales & marketing, Kane Carpet. “Kane offers retailers diversification and profitability.”
Part of Kane Carpet’s appeal is its unique style. These fresh looks combined with premium materials provide retailers with opportunities for greater margins. What’s more, the company’s products are designed to complement hard surface offerings, which continue to creep into all areas of the home.
“Over the last few years we’ve taken a completely different direction as the marketplace became extremely casual and the consumer started looking for decelerated [carpet and rug] designs,” Kurtz explained. “This is because years ago hard surface used to be an application, but today it is a decoration. Oftentimes hard surface has a lot going on, so the customer wants to tone down the carpet. We’ve changed our whole method of styling our products to meet customer [demands].”
By providing a soft surface that complements wood, laminate, LVT, etc., Kane helps retailers sell high-end rugs to existing hard surface customers. “If a consumer is going into a store for a hard surface, chances are she will want a rug from the same place,” Kurtz explained. “Most people like one-stop shopping.”
Jeff Penrose, owner, Specialty Carpet Showroom, Salt Lake City, has carried Kane Carpet 26 years and is installing it everywhere. “We do everything from custom staircases to theaters to family rooms. These products even go into some commercial projects, including hospitality.”
While the manufacturer’s black and white offerings has done well for Specialty Carpet Showroom, according to Penrose, the retailer doesn’t just stick to one look or pattern. “They’ve got such a variety, we really sell their whole line,” Penrose added.
At Lester Carpets, Los Angeles, Kane’s uniquely designed area rugs have been selling well for the past 10 years. “We have a large display in our showroom and it’s definitely an eye catcher,” said Neil Lester. “With the increase in demand for area rugs, they have some unusual patterns that make interesting statements on the floor. Kane Carpet offers such a wide variety of patterns and color, which is unique in the industry.”
Along with high style comes greater margin opportunities. Just ask Rob Bush, owner of Abbey of Addison in Chicago. He has been carrying thousands of Kane Carpet products for about 15 years. “Selling Kane Carpet certainly helps our image, especially when a customer sees all those beautiful products and such a large selection—they look like carpets made on rug machines. Kane Carpet has a very high-end line with extremely unique, value-oriented and beautiful designer products.”
Getting with the ‘program’
In addition to providing high-end products, Kane Carpet provides its dealers with an alliance program, where the manufacturer only sells through dealers that have samples in the store. “The dealers know that their margins are always going to be higher with us than with others because we reward the dealers for showing our projects,” Kurtz explained. “We show these retailers over and over again that our prices are better than the competition.”
To complement its product offerings and designer-like style, Kane Carpet has also created a product book for its dealers. The manufacturer hopes the book will help speed up processes and provide designers with a simple way to show all of Kane’s products.
“We have been very proactive with growing our designer business through our dealers by giving them the book of Kane which has everything in it,” Kurtz said. “We give retailers the books if they show our whole line. Plus, they can have as many books as they need to support their designer trade. The book gives such a simplistic way for designers to look up any product and order samples, without them coming to the store. This makes the process that much easier. It’s a great way to do business on the fly.”
October 23/30, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 10
There’s no denying the correlation between trends in the fashion industry with home furnishings, especially when it comes to flooring. Manufacturers routinely employ teams of design professionals and stylists charged with the daunting responsibility of predicting the “next big thing” in terms of colors, patterns and even textures long before trends solidify.
But what—and even who—determines and defines style direction is largely based on the beholder. While overall global trends certainly play a key role in product development for consumers in the North American market, it’s largely up to the individual manufacturers to interpret those trends and apply them to their respective offerings.
For this special ‘Style & Design’ issue, FCNews rounded up several manufacturers and asked them how they exemplified style in their approach to product design. In short, what makes them style leaders in their respective categories.
Following are some examples:
Bamboo Hardwoods analyzes industry trends and incorporates these cues with environmentally sustainable products that emphasize style and differentiation. Known for quality bamboo products since 1995, Bamboo Hardwoods’ offerings are well respected by those who prefer using environmentally benign products that are elegant, long lasting and constantly on the cutting edge of design trends. Owned and operated by a team of flooring and bamboo experts, Bamboo Hardwoods’ flooring sets the standard for beauty and durability throughout the industry.
Inhaus was founded on the pillars of style and innovative design. Thanks to its highly skilled design team and state-of-the art design center, North American-sourced materials are produced into stunning, ready-made flooring. Inhaus is proud to work closely with its designers and master carpenters from concept to finished design to develop new textures and colors. Exciting new design ideas are generated from continuous research into color and home fashion trends from around the world that are adapted for North American markets. This attentive design process supplies its retail customers with a curated collection of beautifully unique and exclusive products.
To be a consistent styling leader in the flooring industry there needs to be a collaborative effort between multiple departments within the company. At the company, styling, R&D and manufacturing work together to drive innovation and quality along with the right aesthetics to provide high-styled products to the consumer.
Styling leadership starts with doing the proper homework, researching design, color and home fashion trends. Developing flooring product lines requires not only a creative perspective, but also factors in the technical know-how in manufacturing a quality product.
On top of developing state-of-the-art textures and colors, Mercier allows its customers to go even further into customization by offering the most extensive range of glosses and grades. Mercier is the first—and still the only prefinished hardwood flooring manufacturer—to offer a gloss as low as 10 degrees across its product line. Character marks, gloss and hues are in direct connection with the look of the product, and this is why Mercier makes it a priority to develop products that can be adapted to any style while keeping in line with the current design trends. Case in point is Mercier’s white oak Fjord, the ideal color for consumers who want a gray floor but still keep their home warm and inviting.
For almost 140 years, Mohawk has crafted quality flooring for the American home. Mohawk builds innovative design into all its products to make life better—and provide customers with the best flooring possible.
As the world’s largest flooring company, Mohawk and its family of brands offer unlimited style and design options with the latest in on-trend colors, exceptional durability and highest quality from an array of flooring categories. Also, Mohawk is more committed than ever to American-made manufacturing and the communities and families it impacts daily, which means peace of mind that all products are manufactured safely and responsibly.
This style approach helps Mohawk provide the foundations for homes around the world.
Quick-Step has taken the latest trends in flooring and translated them into elegant looks that are both stylish and durable. This means that Quick-Step’s LVT and laminate floors are not only beautiful, but also made to last.
This balance is evident in product design and development. Quick-Step’s laminate and luxury vinyl floors all look stunningly authentic with the most true-to-nature looks on the market today. Though ultra-realistic looking, with moisture-resistant technology and innovative dimensional stability, they can still withstand the everyday wear and tear of an active family.
Now that’s style—for life.
Shaw’s product designers look at the way design elements speak to the larger lifestyle image that consumers want to project. “Our homes reflect our personalities, and flooring is just one piece of an overall aesthetic consumers desire,” said Pamela Rainey, vice president soft surface product development. “It needs to complement paint color, furniture and accent pillows, etc. We are creating a canvas for consumers to live their lives.”
The crafted patterns of Shaw’s Natural Bouclé, for example, are as exquisite as sisal, with subtle color variations that highlight their natural hues and offer the ultimate texture and softness. Shaw’s Epic Plus Extreme Nature furthers the ever-expanding trend of longer, wider planks and its timeless hardwood visual.
Tarkett is an organization that interacts and shares with design and product colleagues throughout a worldwide creative and manufacturing community. Tarkett provides solutions worldwide for multiple categories and cultures. It is a unique advantage that gives the company an awareness of timely new information and perspectives that will influence the way we live and see.
Tarkett strives toward understanding the relationship between life, the workplace and societal interaction. Through these goals and efforts, the company delivers products that have an existential connection—communicating rather than simply decorating. These tools go beyond servicing its customers to build an enduring connection as creative partners.
USFloors’ COREtec offers today’s retail consumer a floor that can truly be lived on. The vast assortment of decors, visuals, plank widths and lengths, along with its patented construction, makes COREtec the go-to brand in composite waterproof flooring.
USFloors’ process of selecting visuals spans the globe. The company is interested in what’s new and different. USFloors is known for having the most impressive visual choices, a result of its extensive selection process. The visuals range from natural to eclectic and will match the style of any environment. This allows consumers to enjoy beauty and strength without the maintenance while enhancing their home or work space.
October 23/30, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 10
By Reginald Tucker
You’ve heard it time and time again: “We’re not in the flooring business; we’re in the fashion business.” Whether we consciously realize this, it seems to play itself out not only in the development of various flooring products that aim to reflect current or impending style trends but also how flooring designs are influenced by broader trends across the home furnishings spectrum.
FCNews reached out to several design professionals, manufacturer stylists and other experts to help illustrate the connection between flooring and fashion.
Chicago—Mohawk Group received several prestigious design awards and other accolades at NeoCon 2016. Held annually in at the Merchandise Mart here, NeoCon is the largest trade show for interior design professionals in North America.
At the annual event, Mohawk Group presented new product collections and customer experiences by expanding boundaries and taking flooring to a new level of design versatility. The company’s Expand Your Boundaries theme was revealed through a broadened line of product options and a completely renovated showroom (Merchandise Mart space 3-377) designed by Innocad. The packed showroom was abuzz with an overwhelmingly positive response to the new products from the A&D community.
For the third consecutive year, Interior Design magazine conducted the HiP (Honoring Industry People + Product) Awards to recognize individuals and product solutions in the design industry. HiP people were selected by a distinguished juried panel while product winners were selected by popular vote online. According to Interior Design magazine, more than 15,000 people voted in the competition. Royce Epstein, Mohawk’s director of design segment, captured the Rising Star, Manufacturer HiP Award, while Geometry took top HiP honors in the education/government/institutional flooring category. Mike Gallman, Mohawk’s vice president of product management, was an honoree in the HiP Leader, Manufacturer category. Serenity Carpet Tile, Onyx Definity by Durkan, Grown Up and Topography were also recognized as HiP Award honorees. Mohawk’s Topography also earned the Best of NeoCon Product Innovation Award. Sponsored by Contract magazine, the Best of NeoCon Awards is an annual juried competition for new products that reflect the greatest in design excellence and innovation.
Other accolades included a #MetropolisLikes honor, given to Moonscapes by the editors of Metropolis magazine. Moonscapes was created by the Mohawk Design Studio in conjunction with Austrian firm 13&9. The social media-based award program recognizes emerging design trends and innovation at design industry events such as NeoCon.
Finally, Mohawk Group is proud to announce Buildings has selected Serenity carpet tile as a 2016 Product Innovations Merit Award winner. Serenity was evaluated by the Buildings editorial staff for innovation and sustainability features that it offers to building owners and facility managers.
For more details on Mohawk Group’s presence at NeoCon 2016, visit the company’s interactive microsite at neocon.mohawkgroup.com.
Norwalk, Conn.—Metroflor’s first continuing education unit (CEU) course has become available online from AEC Daily at bit.ly/1RQHMrS. The one-hour program, “Sustainable Attributes of LVT Flooring,” qualifies as a one-hour health/safety/welfare credit in partnership with The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Continuing Education and has been approved by USGBC with approval from Interior Design Continuing Education Council (IDCEC) expected in the coming weeks. AEC Daily is a registered provider with The American Institute of Architects Continuing Education Systems (AIA/CES). The CEU is a natural evolution of Metroflor’s presence in the commercial marketplace with its Aspecta contract LVT brand.
“While vinyl is one of the most popular types of plastic because of its durability and cost-effectiveness, the safety and sustainability of vinyl flooring often comes into question,” said Corey Carter, Metroflor’s director of safety and sustainability. “The purpose of this course is to discuss the human and environmental impacts of LVT, sustainable corporate strategies and product transparency.”
At the end of this program, participants will gain a basic understanding of:
Environmental and human impacts of LVT flooring
Corporate sustainability strategies
Industry third-party certifications
LVT in the green building industry
“This CEU will reinforce that we at Metroflor are the LVT specialists,” Carter said. “It provides a direct and meaningful way to demonstrate the facts of our products to architects and designers. It’s the first of many courses we plan to create that will make the A&D community feel confident and safe specifying LVT.”
Pending authorization from AIA and IDCEC, Metroflor also plans to offer this course as a face-to-face presentation for credit to staff at architectural and interior design firms in major North American markets. This second phase of the CEU will feature—in addition to the live health and safety presentations—an optional design forum for up to 20 designers hosted by Robert Langstaff, Metroflor’s director of design. The forum is intended to involve the audience creatively by asking them to bring design ideas and color boards for inspiration that can lead to future Metroflor products.
ANAHEIM, CALIF.—The World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) received the Golden Thinker Award from North American Precis Syndicate (NAPS). The honor is presented to a select few companies each year whose content for editorial placement is the most highly sought by press across the country. Continue reading WFCA receives Golden Thinker award