Encouraged by an improving market, manufacturers added licenses, expanded the range of their offerings and moved more aggressively into coordinating accessories
The Starbucks line spilling into the lobby at AmericasMart’s concurrent Area Rug and Gift & Home Furnishings markets last month was one sign. So were the elevators packed like sardine cans. There was also the flurry of foot traffic between Buildings 1 and 2. Taken together, it was understandable why suppliers had cause to celebrate the arrival of 2014.
Other indicators of optimism: larger than usual numbers of new offerings across more categories than ever before.
In the case of rugs, that means hefty helpings of new spring styles – particularly for al-fresco living, as well as new constructions and a wider scope of designs along with explosive amounts of coordinating accessories – decorative pillows, poufs, throws, wall art, and lighting – all being introduced and presented as lifestyle vignettes.
Where rug suppliers were once just that, today many key category players are trying to stay competitive by shifting their focus to a more total-home- source strategy that calls for additional accessory pieces. Surya and Rizzy were among the spear-headers of this trend, followed by Nourison, Safavieh, Momeni, Jaipur, Loloi and others.
Kas Rugs launched its fi rst-ever pillow-and pouf program. “We did a lot of research and tried to fi nd the right niche for us, how we could be successful in these new categories” Wendy Reiss, vp, key accounts, told H&TT. “We came to market looking for feedback, so we aren’t doing minimums right now.”
Jaipur launced a watercolor-inspired program with fine artist Luli Sanchez, interpreting her works onto a variety of rug constructions, such as flat-weaves and tufted styles, and coordinating them with a line of decorative pillows and poufs.
Jaipur also announced new partnerships with the Museum of New Mexico and celebrity interior designer Jennifer Adams that will roll out later this year.
United Weavers of America added shine with its “Subtleties” collection of machine-made rugs accented with Lurex for a soft accent to the line’s traditional and transitional looks. Subtleties rugs are ultra heavyweight, “just shy of a million point construction,” and employ two creels of seven heat-set olefin yarns plus one Lurex yarn, said Diane Carleo, director of marketing and sales.
United Weavers also expanded its outdoor/ indoor assortment with the addition of the Solarium collection of flat woven-like varieties in an array of patterns, some enhanced with hand-carved design details.
Noursion honored the past with the Timeless collection, creating a gallery-like space across the hall from its main showroom. Hung like room-size reproductions of the original handmade museum-owned rugs they replicate, the collection’s 14 pieces are all loom woven and set to retail for ,1,000 and higher.
“The idea here for us was to bring some historical fashion to our line,” said company principal Alex Peykar during a tour of the collection. “If we had showed this collection 20 years ago, people would say we’d lost our minds. But now, the whole feeling of the worn antique look is much more in fashion, so the time was right to create this collection now.”
Couristan expanded its licensed collection with artist and designer Emma Gardner by adding a new assortment of outdoor/indoor styles “in very saturated colors” and some floral motifs, Gardner told H&TT.