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Mills find a niche with custom rug programs

March 19/26, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 20

By Ken Ryan

 

As hard surface products continue to take market share residentially, carpet mills are facing some choices: hope the pendulum swings back to broadloom, or get in on the action. Many of them chose the latter, offering custom area rug programs as an add-on sale to hardwood and other types of hard surfaces. In fact, for some mills, business has been flourishing in this era of hard surface growth.

“I tell people we are no longer in the carpet business,” said Don Karlin, director of broadloom sales for Nourison, which is strictly a soft surface supplier. “I tell people we are in the hard surface business and rugs are the complementary piece. The world is all about fabricated rugs.”

Following is a sampling of some custom rug programs and offerings available today.

Anderson Tuftex

A/T, a Shaw Industries brand, will continue to utilize the custom area rug program Tuftex has had for the past several years. “We can cut any of our A/T carpets into a custom area rug up to 24 x 36 feet,” said Katie Ford, director of brand strategy. She said shapes for area rugs include rectangles, squares, rounds and ovals, as well as floor and stair runners. “We also offer a full assortment of edge treatments such as binding, serging, fabric and leather.”

Couristan

Couristan has built on the success of a custom area rug program it started in 2014. Its program allows dealers to fabricate a Couristan product into a custom area rug that addresses their customers’ decorating needs. Today, Couristan’s broadloom business is heavily fabricated, with more than 50% of its business in fabricated rugs. “The hard surface [category] has actually helped our business,” said Len Andolino, executive vice president–residential division, Couristan. “We are pushing the envelope with fabricated rugs.”

Lexmark

Lexmark Residential recently launched its Unite Custom Rug Program that lets retailers select their choice from any of Lexmark Living’s three broadloom pattern collections. “What is great about this program is it is built on the same construction as our hospitality line, which is our bread and butter,” said John Madden, general manager, Western region.

Masland

Masland’s program, Custom Area Carpets and Rugs, expands design options for the floor and offers custom capabilities. Options range from wall-to-wall to inset area carpets and rugs to loose-laid rugs on top of flooring surfaces. This Dixie Group brand has a custom program that can make any size or shape rug from its broadloom offerings. The program has been well-received, according to Jared Coffin, vice president–rugs and wool products, who noted, “Rugs gives us an insight into trends; therefore, it’s an important part of our business.”

Mohawk/Karastan

Karastan, Mohawk’s high-end rug supplier, lets users create their own looks with its Inspired Luxury program. Customers are able to choose looks from a select group of styles, 100 color options and custom rug bindings. In addition, at Surfaces 2018, Mohawk Home showed Vintage Tapis, a hand-knotted collection available in four sizes including 10 x 14. The line is designed with soft, natural cotton rather than jute. According to Mohawk executives, the most sought-after line at the show was Spike Market with Everstrand fiber. This premium polyester is produced with up to 100% post-consumer content from plastic bottles. The rugs are stain resistant.

Nance Industries

For Nance Industries, rugs have always been its bread and butter. “That is really our niche, and you are seeing a lot better growth in rugs,” said Mike Nance, principal. The company showed new custom-made rugs at the show. In fact, Nance employs two custom-rug artists who can create almost any design pattern or theme a customer can imagine at any size they choose.

Nourison

Fifty to Infinity is a custom-rug program by Nourison that utilizes the very best in woven broadloom rugs. Each rug is made to order from premium woven broadloom carpeting and serged on the edges for a quality, finished look. Production time takes seven to 10 business days. Available sizes range from

5 x 7 to 10 x 10 and everything in between.

Phenix Flooring

Phenix is no stranger to trying new things—or markets, for that matter. At Surfaces, it announced its entry into the area rug business under the Cleaner Home Rugs banner.

Mark Clayton, president and CEO, said the move into rugs is a nod to the explosive growth of hard surfaces. “With so many beautiful patterns in our line, this is just a natural addition to what we are doing for hard surfaces.”

Prestige Mills

Add Prestige to the list of carpet mills looking to leverage the growth of hard surfaces. According to Peter Feldman, president, a high percentage of the company’s broadloom business ends up as rugs, in some cases cut by their dealers after shipping. “While cutting broadloom carpet into rugs is good for the rug business, you are only using part of the room with rugs, so more carpet is required if you are going to go that way,” Feldman said. “It is a challenge, but we are up for it.”

Prestige Mills also sells rugs under the Stark Studio Rugs label. Stark, the wholesale rug division of Stark Carpet, is a to-the-trade carpet, fabric, rugs and wallcovering specialist with a significant presence in the custom-rug space.

Stanton Carpet

Stanton is well known for the style and design of its broadloom selections. But the fact is many of the company’s inspirations come from high-end area rugs, according to Jonathan Cohen, CEO. Stanton has been selling custom rugs for years. The company even has a “Create A Rug” page on its website that allows customers to choose carpet style and color, select the finish (i.e., hand serging, binding options) and then use the custom rug visualizer to choose their rug.

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Obit: Noury Peykar, chairman of Nourison

From left:  Alex Peykar, Steven Peykar, Noury Peykar, Edmund Peykar and Paul Peykar.
From left, Alex Peykar, Steven Peykar, Noury Peykar, Edmund Peykar and Paul Peykar.

Great Neck, N.Y.–Noury Peykar, chairman of Nourison, died on Feb. 20. He was 95.

Memorial services will be held on Thursday, Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Temple Israel of Great Neck, 108 Old Mill Road, Great Neck.

Peykar, who was born in Kashan, Iran, is survived by his sons Paul, Edmond, Alex and Steven Peykar, his daughter Maggi Hakimi and their spouses, 11 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren.

Noury Peykar founded Nourison with his four sons in 1980. The name Nourison was a combination of “Noury” and “sons” and a tribute to their father and his legacy.

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Lumpkin, Woppert join Nourison as account executives

lumpkin headshotwoppert headshotSaddle Brook, N.J.—Nourison has appointed Lucky Lumpkin and Melissa Woppert as account executives. These new sales team members will work with both new and existing customers to help extend the manufacturer’s presence in their assigned territories.

Lumpkin is responsible for managing and developing business in Mississippi, Kentucky and Tennessee while Woppert will handle Northern California up through Reno, Nev. Lumpkin will report to David Appelt, regional manager, and Woppert will report to Owen Baker, regional manager.

Lumpkin has previous experience as a commercial and residential freelance interior designer and has worked in high end furniture stores and tile shops. Woppert previously worked for Mohawk Industries as a territory manager in the hard surface division.

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State of the industry: Area rug segment moving in right direction

June 9/16, 2014; Volume 27/Number 29

By Louis Iannaco

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 9.44.44 AMThere’s no doubt the area rug category has experienced a tough go of it the past several years with overall flat to low single digit top-line sales. But it seems that, while difficult times may still play a role in the area rugs’ present and immediate future, things are seemingly beginning to shape up in a positive way regarding the segment’s sustainable growth for the second half of the year and beyond.

Jeff Seagle, director, marketing and product merchandising, Mohawk, noted the cash-strapped consumer and an overall sluggish economy, along with the shift to online purchases, have been the major inhibitors to overall category growth. “As 2013 came to an end, we the category as a whole showed signs of a recovery with a 3%-5% year-over-year projected growth for 2014. The inclement weather throughout the first quarter created a delay in the rebound, but we still feel the category will increase over the back half of 2014 with the annual number being closer to 2%-3%.”

Challenges center around the conservative approach at retail, he said, both with overall inventory levels, static price points—which inhibit the ability to infuse “newness” into the category—and with lower discretionary income levels for a majority of consumers. “The propensity for the supplier base and at retail is to drive to lower price points without top-end assortment rejuvenation to enrich the product mix,” Seagle added. “This is unsustainable over time for the category.”

Allen Robertson, vice president of sales, Capel Rugs, said the slow housing market recovery continues to impact flooring sales. As a result, many mills have had to source or create lower price points.

“Consumers are also settling for smaller-size rugs, using 5 x 8 and 6 x 9 offerings instead of 8 x 10 and 9 x 12,” he explained. “Of course, the smaller sizes are one half the price of larger rugs. Fortunately, the $249 to $299 products are good sellers.”

Robertson said the company’s research indicates area rug sales would remain flat this year in dollars and are trending at below $4 billion in retail sales. So far in 2014, much like Seagle, he sees the weather playing a major role in delaying growth.

To counteract this, he noted, Capel expanded its branded programs with all its partners “to enhance our rugs with the unique styling they bring. Our Genevieve Gorder and Kevin O’Brien programs are creating buzz in the marketplace. We’ve also increased our efforts in social media and are seeing strong results from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Houzz.”

Others predicted some positive developments in the near future. For example, Alex Peykar, principal at Nourison, said the segment has been experiencing a “bounce back” year thus far in 2014. “During the first six months of this year we’re experiencing an estimated 15% increase over the same period last year.”

Economic indicatorsScreen Shot 2014-07-03 at 9.45.12 AM

Imports of carpets and rugs to the U.S. grew 10.6% in the first quarter of 2014, according to figures recently released by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Textile & Apparel. Including both wool and manmade fiber products, first-quarter 2014 shipments amounted to $463.8 million compared to $419.2 million in first-quarter 2013.

Business continues to thrive at AmericasMart, according to Kevin Malkiewicz, vice president, area rug leasing and sales. Since January 2014, AmericasMart has leased, expanded or renewed over 45,000 square feet of integrated home and rug showrooms.

As the economy improves, he explained, “we are able to bring more new showrooms to our marketplace. Additionally, our current exhibitors continue to grow their businesses by expanding both their showrooms and product.”

According to Malkiewicz, AmericasMart also has some major home vendors who have already committed to new showrooms for the January 2015 market. “These additions will continue to draw resources and buyers to the home and rug floors,” he said. “There will also be further capital investments in the facility to enhance our vendor and buyer experience. As the housing market continues to improve, we anticipate a bright future ahead.”

Some retailers are also experiencing an increase in sales and optimism. Sam Presnell, owner of The Rug Gallery in Cincinnati, said business has been on an upswing for the last 18 months, and that growth can be attributed in large part to area rugs. “It started right after the 2012 election. Most people, who were reasonably positive about their financial situation and felt they had job security, were tired of living on hold. In 2013, we experienced a 15% growth in revenue over 2012, and so far in the first five months of 2014 we’re up another 15% over the same period last year. The majority of that growth comes from area rugs.”

Buying, design trends

As Presnell noted, consumers have definitely changed their buying habits. Where they were once buying one rug as a replacement, they are now buying for the whole house, or at least multiple rooms.

Accordingly, The Rug Gallery has hired extra operations personnel as “the demand on the staff became too great for the number of associates we had been comfortable with during the downturn.”

As Ryan Beauchamp, creative director for custom rug producer Creative Accents noted, when it comes to buying trends, a consumer will pay more for a Made in America product as compared to one made overseas, such as China, India, etc. “I only know about the material that goes into our rugs and it is among the finest in the world, from Wools of New Zealand and the like. Complaints I get from consumers and dealers are often about low-end imported rugs that shed profusely and end up falling apart.”

However, Robertson believes the middle-income consumer is still reluctant to buy higher quality products. “She is settling for average quality versus long lasting. Our mid- to upper-income customers are asking for the latest color stories and transitional and soft contemporary designs. We see this trend continuing, and it has been embraced and expanded upon by online retailers. We are an industry that still needs our distribution channels to take our message to consumers through in-store promotion.”

Peykar is seeing the same trend. While a good portion of homes within the U.S. are still very traditional, he noted, “we do see an increase in demand of transitional and contemporaries. Most of our debuts were concentrated toward this change in consumer demand. Overall, simple looks continue to grow, proving that more is not always better.”

Seagle agreed, saying lower-end, simple and easy-to-decorate offerings are working well in the market. “We see more solid and two- to three-color offerings than in the past. Product value and fiber attributes are increasingly important.”

Presnell said most of the increase in his store has been in high-end handwoven products, but he has also observed exponential growth in machine-made business over the last year. “Our carpet business is up as well, with probably half the carpet sold being fabricated into rugs.

“2014 is the year of blue, although we still see gray as the leader in our showroom,” he added. “Stronger colors seem to be emerging in both rugs and carpet, with orange being the front-runner. These bold colors will work well with the neutrals we’ve seen sell over the past few years. Less traditional, more transitional and contemporary designs are selling well. This is also a big year for geometrics.”

Looking ahead

While thoughts were mixed on the current state of the rug industry, there seemed to be an optimistic consensus among those who talked about the future.

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 9.45.39 AM“I foresee our company finishing strong for 2014,” Beauchamp said. “Our sales and marketing approach is customer-service based and I see a huge lack of this in the area rug business. I believe 2015 has further potential as long as our economy can at least remain static to positive.”

Robertson’s inclination for the next six to nine months is that while sales would be sluggish through July, they will begin to accelerate beginning in August. “I anticipate fall sales to increase by at least 5%, rejuvenating to a growth pattern.”

Seagle also foresees growth in the category for the back half of 2014 and into 2015. “Continued product newness, increases in consumer confidence and the retail focus to drive sales through brick and mortar as well as ecommerce will be keys to the growth.”

Peykar has noticed consumers spending more money than they have been on upgrading to better qualities, and he is hoping that the trend will continue for the balance of the year. “While not all retailers have felt the improvements, financial reports that relate to the U.S. future, as well as the housing rebound, should continue.”

And, according to Presnell, prices are going up at retail. “The major players are increasing their pricing to dealers. This is a good sign things are moving in a positive direction.

“I’m very positive about 2014,” he concluded. “Barring something catastrophic, the mood of the consumer will continue to be positive. People are ready to enjoy life again.”

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Nourison taps Marra as new director of marketing, digital strategy

Marra-NourisonSaddle Brook, N.J. – Nourison has named Giovanni Marra as its new director of marketing and digital strategy.

Marra comes to Nourison from Pantone where he spent the past 12 years, lastly as director of corporate marketing. Earlier in his career, he was with Awards.com as its director of client services.

At Nourison, Marra will be tasked with growing Nourison’s brand, strengthening sales channels and increasing customer engagement.

“Giovanni has the rare talent of being both creative and strategic in his business approach,” said Alex Peykar, vice president. “We look forward to having Giovanni create engaging campaigns that will fuel our growth and help us get closer to our customers. His expertise in both traditional and digital marketing will be an important addition to our management team.”

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Nourison names Brandon managing director, hospitality division

Steven_Brandon_NourisonSaddle Brook, N.J. — Nourison has appointed Steven Brandon to the position of managing director of the company’s hospitality division. He will be based out of Nourison’s office and distribution center in Calhoun, Ga., and report to Jonny Peykar, vice president of hospitality.

Brandon served as an operations and business development consultant with Nourison for the past year. In his new role, he will be responsible for managing and developing business for Nourison’s fast growing hospitality division that includes premium quality carpets in hundreds of stock designs ready for immediate delivery or detailed customization using state-of-the-art Axminister looms and signature techniques. The division’s clients include hotels, resorts, banquet halls, country clubs and corporations, as well as top designers and architects.

“Steve brings a lot of experience and expertise with him and we are excited to see what we can accomplish together going forward,” Peykar said. “Nourison has committed a lot of resources in developing this category of our business in the past few years and Steve will be instrumental in guiding this expansion.”

Brandon is an industry veteran of the patterned carpet industry. Most recently, he managed a joint cooperation between Thailand Carpet Manufacturing PCL and Clayton Miller Hospitality Carpets. Prior to that, he served as president and CEO of Tai Ping Carpets Americas. Brandon began his career in broadloom with Mohasco Corp., which later became USAxminster.

“I have never seen a company more prepared to become a major player in the hospitality carpet segment,” Brandon said. “They have all the components in place and are great innovators in design, product development and manufacturing. During my time here as a consultant I have gotten to know everyone in the hospitality division and I am delighted to be part of such a talented team.”

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Nourison names Karlin director of broadloom sales

nourison_donkarlinSaddle Brook, N.J. — Nourison announced the appointment of Don Karlin to the position of director of broadloom sales.

Karlin will be responsible for further sales development of the company’s decorative broadloom business, which includes multiple brands, over 100 styles, more than 120 SKUs of coordinate runners, and extensive custom capabilities. He will be based out of Nourison’s office and distribution center in Calhoun, Ga., and report to Gerard O’Keefe, vice president of sales.

Karlin has sold and managed at various levels, and most recently served as vice president of sales at J. Mish Inc.

“We are thrilled to have a proven professional of Don’s caliber join our team. He is knowledgeable, energetic, and highly respected throughout our industry,” O’Keefe said.

Alex Peykar, president, added, “While our broadloom division has grown steadily, our capabilities have also greatly expanded. We are confident Don’s appointment will help us realize their full potential.”

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Nourison begins expansion of Georgia facility

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 9.06.25 AMSaddle Brook, N.J. — Nourison has begun a 132,000 square foot expansion of its distribution center in Calhoun, Georgia.

 The expansion of the 305,000 square foot facility is expected to be completed in early spring and will include machinery, logistics and office space, as well as expanded shipping and receiving capabilities.

The new facility will allow Nourison to provide improved, more consistent customer service, according to Andrew Peykar, vice president of Nourison. 

“This state-of-the-art facility and systems we have put in place allow us to turn orders around very quickly, sometimes minutes after the order is taken. We are now poised to turn that sometimes to always. We will also be adding 40 to 50 new employees as well as new equipment, such as high-speed picking machines to this location,” he said.

Nourison’s warehouse in Calhoun currently stores, processes and ships out a bulk of the company’s area rugs, accent rugs, home accents and broadloom. In addition, the complex houses the company’s hospitality division.

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Area rug market will fill expanded space, host new exhibitors

Dec. 9/16 2013; Volume 27/number 16

By Jenna Lippin

Screen Shot 2013-12-17 at 1.30.07 PMSeeking to maintain the momentum generated by the summer Atlanta International Area Rug Market in July, next month’s heavily trafficked winter event is expected to create even greater enthusiasm. “There is a lot of excitement around the winter market,” said Kevin Malkiewicz, vice president of leasing, AmericasMart Atlanta. “Exhibitors are expanding their spaces and improving their showrooms in preparation for the event.” Continue reading Area rug market will fill expanded space, host new exhibitors

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Nourison appoints Steel design director, hospitality division

Steel.Elliot.Nourison
Elliot Steel

Saddle Brook, N.J.—Nourison has named Elliot Steel design director for the company’s hospitality division.
 Most recently, Steel worked as global design manager at Tai Ping Carpets International. 
In his new role, he will work to create innovative broadloom products for a wide range of commercial market segments. He will report to Jonny Peykar, vice president of Hospitality at Nourison. Continue reading Nourison appoints Steel design director, hospitality division