New in New York
By Andrea Lillo
Back-to-school themes, shaped rugs and memory foam mats for the kitchen and bathroom were some of the hot categories last month at the New York Home Fashions Market. And the Internet--whether the company's involvement in social media or designs focusing on Internet slang--also had a bigger presence this market.
Mohawk Home, for example, made a big push into social media. "It's an important aspect of what we wanted to accomplish this market," said Jeffrey Seagle, director of marketing and product merchandising. For the market, Mohawk showed several rugs with Quick Response codes -- which are two-dimensional barcodes that can be read by QR barcode readers and camera phones to provide additional information to consumers -- on the packaging. The potential for QR is limitless, he said, as the information could include helping consumers decide what is the right sized rug for the room, how to clean the rug or which retailer sells it. As video can also be embedded, it could be used to play sports songs, making it ideal for back-to-campus applications. For eco-friendly designs, "what a perfect way to extend sustainabilty--it tells a story," he added.
Mohawk Home also emphasized the kitchen category this market, and grouped designs into themes, each with about 12 constructions available. "We're doing a lot more in kitchen--it's been very successful," Seagle said. And for both its kitchen and bath categories, it expanded its memory foam offerings to satisfy consumer demand.
Oriental Weavers debuted Cottoneese to capture consumers interested in a cotton look, said Jonathan Witt, vice president, but which is stain resistant because it is made of polypropylene. In addition, the company's Accentuate accent rug program now has 48 designs at various price points that will always be in stock in two sizes. "This allows people to pull from that running line," said Witt, "and we'll freshen up the designs every few months." One group targets the juvenile category, which is new for the company, and includes such designs as paisleys, sports, peace signs, skulls, stripes and skateboards.
Nourison also unveiled its new back-to-school/juvenile group of scatters, which include shag, ribbed and denim patchwork designs. A continuing theme is "color, color and color," said Paula Paquette, vice president of soft home, as well as shaped rugs. The shaped rug theme "started in September and has gone right through holiday," and includes such shapes as cupcakes, candy canes, and gingerbread houses.
The back-to-school group grew at Balta as well, in a new flatweave collection that had designs incorporating such youth-friendly slang as LOL, OMG, and Sick, all in a new black colorway. Flatweaves are an "extremely strong category," said Jeff Patrick, marketing manager, Balta US. "All flatweaves have four colors in one yarn. It gives it such depth."
Orian debuted a new category: its printed nylon program. "In the past, all of our rugs were woven," said Bruce Elliston, the company's newly appointed senior vice president, sales and marketing. "We felt like we were missing some price points and design ideas, so we brought out printed nylon this market." With an initial start of about 100 patterns, the program is available on different substrates, from flat to textured, and in two groups, called SoHo and Palmetto. The printing machine used for the program is "the best in the industry because of the amount of pattern definition, clarity and color robustness it allows," he added.