Rug Market Review: Manufacturers focus on in-store merchandising and handmade looks - Aug/Sep 2017
By Beth Miller
The Atlanta International Area Rug Market came together from July 12 to 16 at AmericasMart in downtown Atlanta. Showrooms displayed a variety of trends and merchandising innovations ranging from nature-inspired looks to bold global inspirations to retail displays that offer smaller footprints.
The layered look, placing a smaller high-end rug on top of a neutral base rug, is trending. According to Elizabeth Walz of Surya, this is popular among renters who are unable to change undesirable flooring. A large base rug provides the cover while the smaller high-end rug furnishes the artistic flair needed to tie the room together.
Texture continues to be in high demand among consumers. One popular textural trend is allowing large sections of backing to show through as a part of the overall aesthetic, achieving a dramatic high-low effect. This effect also plays a role in current distressed looks, which mimic the appearance of wear patterns typical of antique rugs.
Blue greens, greys, navy, browns and creams remained the dominating colors in traditional patterns, while some nature-inspired looks offered up muted blues and greens against a cream backing, and others popped with bold reds, oranges and pinks. Teal continues to be an accent color, along with gold and now blush. Some manufacturers took a risk, using blush not as an accent color but as a dominant color in the overall palette.
Dave Snedeker of Nebraska Furniture Mart sees the technology behind machine-made rugs that look like hand-knotted rugs continuing to improve and, while rugs are selling at all price points, the bulk of sales, based on a 5’x8’, are occurring below $1,000.
Oriental Weavers showcased a multitude of new offerings for 2017, starting with its Beckett line. Mahogany and cinnamon blend with warm clay, slate blue and soft moss green to form the color palette of sun-washed minerals. Beckett offers traditional patterns as well as painterly abstracts. Speaking to the textural trend, the Beckett line has the look of dense pile but is surprisingly soft to the touch. The machine-woven collection is made in the U.S. using 100% polypropylene pile, and retails at $699 for a 5’x8’.
Shifting to a simpler aesthetic, the Barbados collection boasts a color palette made up of sage green, light strawberry, atmospheric blue, washed denim and light sky blue on an ivory background. The cut and loop construction creates a texture along with a high-low effect.
Verona, made in Egypt of 100% polyester, offers up the neutral palette in the 2017 collections. Defined by its ivory, brown, tan and grey colors, Verona is by far the softest of all of the new lines.
Another American-made product, Dawson, is 100% polypropylene. Dawson’s paprika, robin’s egg blue and bright olive run the gamut between traditional, distressed traditional, tribal and abstract patterns.
Nourison previewed its new hand-knotted area rugs from its Aldora and Ellora collections. The Aldora collection features an aged damask design in a dramatic royal blue for an elegant rug with fringe detailing. An antique-inspired pattern in Opal offers a highly distressed look allowing only glimpses of the pattern, and is also adorned with fringe. Ellora features soft washes of color in modern neutrals of Stone and Blue. The demand for hand-knotted area rugs is growing, and to answer this call, Nourison launched two other hand-knotted collections, Elan and Ocean, earlier this year.
The new Moroccan Shag Collection includes woven linear patterns with twisted fringe and a soft shag pile, creating a cozy, soft texture.
Mohawk’s higher-end Karastan brand showcased its Kismet line. Kismet, defined as a fateful meeting, brings together two different types of fibers in one rug line: its proprietary SmartStrand and wool. The combination of the two fiber types offers up a unique textural story with the SmartStrand’s silkiness and the wool’s matte look, providing a bit of a high-low effect due to the wool’s tendency to shrink down during the coating process. With both traditional and contemporary designs, the color foundation for this collection is based on creams, greys, soft gold, blush and steel blue-which Karastan introduced this year. Its Oracle and Serendipity in Seaglass and Karma in Silver are the top sellers.
Karastan also introduced blush into the Kismet line. Inspiration for the color came from men’s and women’s apparel. Kismet’s designer, Tracy Pruitt-vice president of design at Mohawk-sees blush trending as a new neutral, explaining that it is not “overly sweet.”
Surya’s 11th floor showroom was packed with customers browsing the numerous artisan rugs, with pillows, wall décor, lighting and accent furniture making up the vignettes. While the machine-made product with a handmade look continues to trend, manufacturers like Surya are getting better at achieving this goal. Surya’s push toward the handcrafted look is achieved not only through its production methods but also through the use of natural fibers complemented by the addition of fringe and tassels to its machine-made rugs.
The Origami collection was displayed in a bedding-focused vignette with layered rugs and complementary home décor. It is made with Tibetan hand-knotted, undyed wool and viscose in a soft, dusty muted color. Origami is inspired by a Japanese aesthetic with the design influenced by the art of origami-folded paper-while the authentic feel is accomplished through the use of natural linen.
Made up of warm, saturated colors in globally inspired designs, the Masala collection mimics Moroccan and Portuguese tile. The hand-knotted wool rugs are sheared to allow the backing to show through as part of the design.
Kaleen’s new Marble collection looks like something pulled directly from the earth. Made from a new space-dyed wool, the nature-inspired rugs range in price from $136 for a 2’x3’ to $2,768 for a 10’x13’. The Marble collection offers up ten different colors and marble patterns.
With Kaleen’s waterfall rack, a retailer can display a rug in a size that can be sold as an accent rug at the end of the season rather than thrown away. This innovative merchandising tool displays 12 2’x3’ accent rugs to be used in place of samples. Each rack is only 2’ wide by 2’ deep, which means that with three racks sitting side-by-side, a carpet retailer can display 36 rugs in only six feet of space.
The big news with Rizzy Home this year is the introduction of a rug that offers an innovative merchandising solution. Gossamer-New Zealand wool in a machine-made product-is designed to fold much like a towel without compromising its structural integrity and durability. This allows for more product per pallet, saving on shipping costs. However, the merchandising options are the main attraction: Gossamer eliminates the need for large amounts of display space in a retail store. It can be folded and placed on shelves; rolled up and displayed in a basket much like bathroom towels; or hung like a throw.
Other big news for Rizzy is its successful partnership with Simply Southern, an emerging brand. Rizzy vice president Steve Roan said that orders for its pillows were overwhelming at the Rug Mart. In addition to the pillows, Rizzy is developing 2’x3’ accent rugs for kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms. The rugs will be both machine-woven and hand-tufted.
Rizzy has added 22 collections since April and will add 15 more at High Point in October, where it’s also planning to announce several new licensing agreements.
Loloi unveiled seven new high-end rug collections at the Atlanta Rug Mart, including additions to its Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines. Among them was Odyssey, with globally inspired tribal patterns that are hand-knotted and are made of wool and viscose from bamboo. The collection takes a minimalist approach with its construction. The 5’x8’ retails for $2,039.
Loloi introduced five new collections from Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines-Everly, June, Lucca, Teresa and Tristan. Gaines’ classic-meets-modern style continues in her new offerings. Each collection features a wide array of colors and patterns ranging from classic to contemporary, and all five include a wide range of performance-based qualities as well.
The Legacy collection creates a more traditional look with its grouping of sophisticated patterns in soft colorways. Each piece looks like a vintage rug right off the loom. The hand-knotted, sheared down, acid-washed collection is made of 100% wool and is offered in a 6’x9’ at $5,419.
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