What They Did This Summer: The New Debuts
By Andrea Lillo
Manufacturers used the summer to break into new rug categories--or new product categories all together. Or they just expanded what clearly works for the consumer, such as flatweaves and color.
At both the recent Atlanta International Area Rug Market and Las Vegas Market, introductions also included updated traditionals and handknotteds. And the indoor/outdoor category continues to flourish.
But flatweaves have been a win-win for everyone. They "have designer cache," said Al Mortensen, director of creative and design, Rizzy Home. And the big, fashion-forward retailers are "pushing the wagon." Flatweaves can be made quickly, are also inexpensive and "ladies can carry them out to the car," he added, versus a heavier rug.
Two flatweave introductions that were well received for Rizzy were Twist and Swing. "Our bright, multi colored stripes in our Swing collection really did well," he said. "People love the easy style and price point." In addition, "we tried to do brighter colors for this market," Mortensen said. Twist is a double dhurrie that "gives it a bit more weight."
Jaipur made one of its biggest pushes in the flatweave category with more than 50 new designs. "It's a strong trend segment and we see it continuing for years," Josh Roberts, vice president, sales and marketing, said. "It's not a fad."
Safavieh debuted its first kilim collection, handknotted in India. Made of wool, the 15 designs include finely detailed plaids, multi-color stripes and Navajo-inspired patterns.
Dynamic Rugs continued to expand in viscose at market, debuting its Heritage collection. Unlike other companies that focus on traditional looks in viscose, Dynamic offers contemporary and transitional looks in that fiber, said Matthew Rouhanian, president. The process used to make the rugs in Turkey is also peel resistant, a common problem with viscose rugs, he added. In addition, the line offers new color creels, including lavender and reddish tones.
Handknotteds also attracted attention this summer. "Handknotteds have gotten a little hipper," said Tami Watras vice-president, product and creative, Capel. While traditional looks always do well, newer designs have a fresher color palette, she said, or "are a little bit unexpected." Ethereal is one new collection that is sheared and borderless and could fit into a number of interiors, she said, such as country or mission. Eminence is another handknotted collection that has fashion-forward colors such as persimmon, a hue that "is very strong for us right now."
Jaipur expanded its handknotted offerings, which include the recently introduced Jenny Jones line and Signature, made of wool and silk. "The traditional business has changed; it's more of a sophisticated traditional now," said Roberts. "It's cleaner."
U.S.-manufacturer Orian explored the import category, debuting the Global collection. The company wanted to gauge interest, "to see if it fills a void in the line," said Mikala Moller, director of marketing. It also is Orian's first wool collection. Handmade in India, the line includes about 30 designs, half of which are from Orian's existing collections.
Several companies also bulked up their custom programs. At Feizy, the Feizy Options custom program now offers more original designs, as well as handtufted constructions. Now headed by Meri Ashford, director of custom rugs, the three-year-old program began with handknotted designs, and the new handtufted offering allows the designer to get "a better price point and a quicker turnaround," said Ashford.
Momeni debuted its expanded custom rug program, launching handknotted designs made in Nepal in a line called Nepal Custom Concepts and tufted ones made in Mexico in one wcalled Aztec Custom Concepts. Douglas Tashjian, custom program director, said Aztec Custom Concepts items are made of high-quality, virgin New Zealand wool and sizes up to 9-by-12 ship in four weeks. Nepal Custom Concepts is available in wool and silk with a range of 600 colors to choose from, or it can be dyed to match. Rugs can be shipped in 90 days.
Dalyn continued to expand its custom program, adding the Lenox collection, which gives designers three constructions (plush, loop and shag), 40 colors and 24 designs from which to choose. The rugs are made in the U.S., and Lenox is considered its upper-end custom line, said Bryan McIntosh, director of marketing.