By Andrea Lillo
With personalized products on the rise, it's no surprise that more custom programs have debuted in the rug category. Targeting retailers, designers, consumers--or all three--the programs offer the opportunity to create a unique item for the consumer, rather than buying "straight off the rack."
While these programs vary on what they focus on--offering a particular collection or construction, for example, or special sizing--they all strive to make it easy both for the retailer and designer or consumer in the stores.
"Consumers are definitely motivated to buy rugs that they feel they've designed and personalized," said Allen Robertson, vice president of sales, Capel. While the company offered border material for custom rugs for several years, at April's High Point the company officially launched its Creative Concepts program, which offers six indoor/outdoor bases, 120 woven indoor/outdoor borders and a range of sizes for more than 700 possible combinations. "The sales on Creative Concepts have exceeded our estimates and continue double-digit growth," he said.
The Creative Concepts program targets designers, dealers and consumers. In addition, Capel allows consumers to create a custom rug in almost every collection in the Capel line, including handknotted, handtufted, bordered rugs, and braids. Delivery times depend on construction: U.S.-made braided and Creative Concepts bordered rugs ship within two to four weeks, while for overseas-made rugs the company quotes six months, though the average time is more like four and a half, Robertson said. "Our success has been more with custom sizes and shapes than with custom color or design." In addition, "the demand has been for mid-price to upper-end products but we're seeing a large surge in rugs that are around $1,000 retail for an 8-by-11."
Karastan launched its new custom program earlier this year, so area rugs can be made from one of its Kara-Loc woven wool carpet patterns, which has cabled looks and loop pile wool plaids. "We launched the program to specifically reach designer-oriented accounts with a need for highly styled, superior-quality custom-sized rugs with a fast turnaround," said Steve Roan, vice president. "With our production based in North Carolina we are able to satisfy and size with any border within two weeks."
The initial response for sampling has been really strong, Roan added, and the program will most likely expand beyond the Kara-Loc collection. One great advantage to the program is the price point, Roan said. "A leather-bound 8-by-11 is set to retail for $1,899 with attractive margins for our accounts. [It's] a win/win for the end user as well as our account."
In the custom rug business for more than 20 years, Dalyn grew its custom offerings to 12 programs last year--eight of which are new--to include wool plush and loop piles, nylon shags and sisal with fabric borders. The program is targeted towards furniture and flooring retailers as well as designers, and the turnaround time is three weeks from order approval to shipping. "Our custom rug sales have continued to increase significantly over the past two years," said David Adams, executive vice president.
A Dalyn 5-by-8 custom rug retails between $499 and $599. While a display board explains the program at retail, Dalyn also offers a Virtual Custom Rug Builder online that allows the sales person to create a virtual rendition of a rug.
Launched last year, Feizy's Options program includes seven collections, with others being tested in select showrooms/galleries as possible prospects. The program includes Options ladders to display 2-by-3 design samples, and the ladders can also be made into a freestanding screen or cube. In addition, Feizy customers also have access to its Virtual Design Studio online so they can help consumers browse the library and then select a design and generate an image of the finished product.
Momeni has offered its Momeni Concepts program for more than two years, which features 30 of the most popular designs in its New Wave collection, in six sizes/shapes, more than 80 colors and two qualities of wool. It takes about two to three weeks from design to finished product. In addition, custom sizing is also available in many of its other collections, such as Old World, Sedona and Harmony.
"Customers love the idea that they have the ability to create their own unique pieces, color specific to their needs," said Marlys Giordano, director of marketing and product development, Momeni. "We always say that customers are only limited by their imaginations."
About 85 percent of Surya's line is available for custom sizing, said Al Mortensen, vice president, merchandising and product development. "We've done some incredibly large and odd shaped rugs," he said. "Designers love this because if they have an odd wall that jaunts out or floor vent they can get a rug that works." The program is communicated to consumers through its catalog and on-line, as well on custom hang tags.
Loloi offers custom sizes in its new Royce collection, which features five designs in six color ways.