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In Style: Kane Carpet finds success in high-end rug biz

October 23/30, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 10

By Lindsay Baillie

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 12.52.31 PMDespite 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.”

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Rising star looks to make her mark in flooring arena

May 8/15, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 24

By Steven Feldman

 

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 3.03.43 PMRenowned designer Khristian A. Howell is getting into the flooring business. Howell, a color and pattern expert who has been featured in Elle Decor, Real Simple and HGTV magazine,” is in the process of choosing a complementary partner to launch an area rug collection that fuses her eclectic range of styles into bold designs for product and spaces.

She classifies her personal style as modern and clean with a feminine edge under the moniker Fearlessly Chic Living. “The fearless piece is having the courage to forget about trend and be unapologetically you. My philosophy is no one has to live in the space except you, so it should be filled entirely with things you love.”

Howell loves the interplay between hard and soft, light and dark, and feminine and masculine, to create depth and interest in her designs. It is the mastery of this push-plus-pull that creates ease and balance in the work. She aims to deliver color-focused, modern work with a touch of romance and edge.

“I love big, bold color as much as I love clean gallery white,” she explained. “I love a hard-lined caramel leather chair as much as I love a pretty patterned throw pillow. In fact, the more all of these things are mixed up in the right balance, the better. My philosophy is—as with all things in life—it really is all about balance.”

While many designers have come and gone in the flooring industry, Howell’s background positions her for success. “Working in house in product development has given me an important edge that many artists lack,” she said. “I know the product must be beautiful and sellable. I understand how to create work that is both aspirational and accessible. My edge is leading with my gift of instinct. I know which trends will soar and which ones will flop. I keep my pulse on the real consumer, and very carefully and gently push her creative comfort zone. This keeps the work exciting but still digestible and very marketable.”

Screen Shot 2017-05-15 at 3.03.48 PMHowell knows what she wants in a manufacturer partner, particularly one that shares her vision. For example, she said the perfect partner will be willing to experiment and challenge, but not alienate the consumer. “That company will have interest in innovation in design, concept and color, and marketing is very important to me as well. The perfect partner will have an empathetic world view and want to create interesting product that makes people feel something.”

Prosperous path
Howell’s design career began as a colorist on the product development team at Nordstrom. She very quickly transitioned to a textile designer while maintaining her role as a colorist. “I worked on every piece of development—and creating color palettes, print and pattern development, working with a wide range of embellishments, and communicating with factories in Hong Kong and India.

Howell left in the summer of 2008 to start her business. A 2011 spread in Better Homes and Gardens led to a contributing editor role. She left in 2015 and since then has continued to be pulled into interiors space. She has appeared with Nate Berkus as a judge on his “American Dream Builders” TV show, on “The Today Show” and HLN as a style expert, as well as other media outlets in Atlanta and Chicago. “I complete a handful of interior styling and color consulting projects a year and see this growing in the future.”

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Make the most of your Coverings 2012 experience

Orlando, Fla.—Anyone heading to Coverings 2012 will find the greatest business payoffs if they come armed with a plan of attack. For all that the annual tile and stone show offers when the doors open at the Orange County Convention Center here April 17—with more than 800 exhibitors representing 50-plus countries, nearly 70 educational seminars, live demonstrations and countless networking opportunities—the four-day event can put even the most seasoned show attendee into sensory overload. Continue reading Make the most of your Coverings 2012 experience

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Durkan CYP offering boasts separation from competition

Marietta, Ga. — Great design is derived from the perfect blend of talented designers and the industry’s most innovative design tools, which work to bring a designer’s vision to life. Only Durkan consistently delivers this unique balance, showing once again why it is the hospitality market’s most trusted brand. Durkan has outdone itself once again delivering a wide selection of newly designed and intricately patterned Computer Yarn Placement (CYP) carpet collections. These advanced new offerings are certain to infuse any hospitality space with both comfort and sophistication that will not disappoint. Continue reading Durkan CYP offering boasts separation from competition

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Karastan Rugs and Luxe Interiors + Design to sponsor designer panel

DALTON—LUXE Interiors + Design editor-in-chief Pamela Jaccarino will lead an engaging and informative panel discussion with top interior designers about the New Traditional design, grounded in the classics yet entirely modern in feel. Discover how these designers put a fresh spin on tradition. And, in honor of keynote speaker President Bill Clinton, we’ll have some fun and view the designers’ contemporary interpretation of classic White House rooms. A wine and cheese reception will follow the presentation in the new Karastan Rugs showroom (C-312) where attendees will have an opportunity to meet the designers and continue the conversation. Continue reading Karastan Rugs and Luxe Interiors + Design to sponsor designer panel