Color is risky business in the gray/beige home furnishings world, but the summer trade shows prove that some companies are taking a gamble.
Dallas Market Center and AmericasMart in Atlanta were both flush with bold color schemes and if previews are any indication, Las Vegas will continue the trend.
Trend watchers and forecasters say that consumers’ moods often can be evaluated based on their taste for color. Optimistic consumers, they say, like to surround themselves with bright hues. Consumers who are hunkering down from the onslaught of a bad economy will opt for grays.
Recent studies and surveys of consumer behavior have been somewhat ambiguous. Consumer confidence dipped slightly in June, to continue a four-month-drop. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Board said that Americans used their credit cards more in May than any month since November 2007. This could mean that more consumers had to use their cards to get by, or that they’re feeling more confident about their economic situation and are returning to their old credit-card-slinging ways.
Judging from last month’s International Area Rug Market at Atlanta’s AmericasMart, rug makers’ choices of brighter colors indicated that they preferred the more optimistic viewpoint about consumers.
Oriental Weavers devoted valuable upfront showroom space to the debut of its Tessa collection, distinguished by bold patterns and colors. “We’re starting to see a pickup in more color and more casual contemporary,” said Oriental Weavers’ Aaron Gray. “When the economy was at its lowest, there was really no interest there.”
Safavieh also flew a colorful flag in Atlanta. The company’s Sari Silk collection, made from recycled saris, is as “dramatic as Bollywood itself,” according to the company, with pinks, sapphires, rubies and greens.
Carol Tish, Safavieh’s director of marketing, said the current color blast in the rug category reflects this season’s apparel designs. “The recent color trend really started in fashion,” Tish said. “It used to be that home furnishings was a few seasons behind, but now it’s almost instantaneous.”
Tish, formerly the editor-in-chief of HFN, has been blogging on what she refers to as “industrial strength color.” The company received more than 4,000 hits for its blog “Who’s Sari Now?” about its Sari Silk collection. Safavieh will continue to mine the popularity of color with its recently announced partnership with designer Isaac Mizrahi, who’s known for his whimsical color schemes.
Capel Rugs had one of the most colorful showrooms in Atlanta. The company featured its Taffy collection which comes in—yes—candy colors, along with its youthful Genevieve Gorder collection.
“Color turns heads,” said Capel’s Tami Watras. “It makes you happy—it’s upbeat.”
Watras said that the use of color has helped it gain new buyers and younger customers. Capel’s colorful approach has also helped it attract attention in the always-active blogosphere, as trend watchers write about what’s hip and happening.
“There’s something that happens when you see a pop of color,” Watras said. “Our retailers say people are coming in, and they want to spend money. They’re ready to be a little more risky.”