Fully Into Flatweaves
By Andrea Lillo
While most of the American rug market has traditionally been product with a pile, the flatweave category has proven a steady or even growing area for the industry.
Available in casual or traditional looks, flatweaves fit numerous design styles and price points--consumers can get a flatweave at around $300 for a 5-by-8.
Most U.S. consumers "used to associate a rug with thick pile as having more value," said Steve Sorrow, vice president of design and product development, Feizy, but now they are starting to recognize the advantages flatweaves have as well. Soumaks are "super popular" in Europe, he added, where they are used in such rooms such as the dining room, and he felt this concept was increasing in the U.S. market. Unlike Americans, "Europeans are resistant to have a pile rug in the dining room," he said. But the U.S. market is changing.
About 10 percent of Feizy's business, its flatweaves include the Saphir line, which incorporates viscose. "We've had this construction for a few years and it's doing so well, so we decided to expand it," Sorrow said. A 5-by-8 will retail for $299.
"The category is growing tremendously," said Seth King, vice president, sales and marketing, Surya. "We mainly had Southwest patterns in the past," but now the category incorporates a much larger selection. One of the company's best-selling flatweaves is in its Fallon collection, and flatweaves were also part of the launch for its Country Living magazine licensed collection.
One of the category's benefits is that it can cross so many styles, such as coastal, casual and traditional, said Josh Roberts, vice president, sales and marketing, Jaipur.
Having had success with an earlier dhurries line called Pura Vida, the company continued with the recent introduction of its licensed rug collection with Coastal Living magazine, which had new colorways added at High Point Market. Like all of Jaipur's product, the Coastal Living dhurries line is handmade. Dhurries offer a more casual look, Roberts added, while soumaks are typically more traditional for an older consumer.
Another advantage of flatweaves is that a 5-by-8 or 6-by-9 can retail for under $300, Roberts said. The company focuses on soumaks and dhurries in the flatweave category, and they are "a substantial piece of our business."
Safavieh offers soumaks and dhurries under its own brand, as well as in its Martha Stewart line. "Designers appreciate the simplicity of the design of flatweaves; they're understated," Arash Yaraghi, principal, said.
"Flatweave customers run the gamut," said Marlys Giordano, director of marketing and product development, Momeni. "Many are younger customers who don't want the commitment of heavier rugs," and soumaks are ideal if the consumer is looking for a floor cloth appearance. The company currently offers a Chambord flatweave line, and that look "is a great choice because it can be used in both casual and high-end decors." Its line also includes one-of-a-kind antique soumaks.
And designer Angela Adams recently debuted her handwoven wool rug line, in new geometric patterns such as Zag, Nectar and Ruthie. Available in five sizes, the line will retail from $349 to $1,950.