Atlanta rug show draws buyers with aggressive product launches
Thomas Russell -- Furniture Today, January 23, 2013
Tom Monaghan, standing, a territory sales manager for Dalyn Rug, shows samples to customers in Atlanta.
ATLANTA — An aggressive launch of new product generated strong traffic and written business here during the Jan. 10-13 Atlanta International Area Rug Market.
Introductions covered a range of traditional to contemporary styles, from Moroccan, floral and medallion-shaped designs to geometric patterns highlighted by contrasting color palettes.
Surya, which more than doubled its showroom space at market with 13,500 square feet in AmericasMart Building A, offered 100 new flat-line woven rugs, many of which retail from $399 to $599 in a 5 by 8 size. They range from the coastal-inspired patterns of its Lighthouse and Yacht Club collections to the multicolored contemporary designs of its Sanderson collection.
The new color palettes and the expanded location helped drive business, said Eric Nyman, Surya's national sales manager - retail.
"We had a bonus day Wednesday and saw new customers we may not have normally seen," Nyman said. The showroom opened in conjunction with the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Show, which began a day earlier than the rug show. "We're excited to be here. We are definitely writing orders. Retailers are excited and we are starting to see business pick up."
Kas launched 26 new collections with some 350 rugs, up from the usual introduction of eight to 10 collections, company officials said. They cover a wide variety of styles, ranging from Moroccan-inspired designs to hand-painted contemporary looks.
The showroom reported steady traffic from both appointments and walk-ins, including some new accounts. In addition to Florida, Georgia and other East Coast accounts, it also had traffic from the Midwest and even the West Coast.
"It is still appointment driven, but it is nice to see walk-in traffic," said Wendy Reiss, vice president of key accounts. "That is something we haven't seen in a while."
Jaipur also reported strong traffic. Based on that and other positive indicators in the marketplace, company President and CEO Asha Chaudhary said she is expecting a good year ahead.
"People are more focused on their business and are working hard," she said. "There are a lot of people shopping and buying. If we invest in the right tools and product and things that matter to our customers, we have the potential to have a very good year, and we are focused on that."
Nourison also had a strong introduction with 21 new collections that included some 150 rugs. Price points cover a wide range, from the lower end of $99 to $299 to as high as $3,999 for a 5 by 8.
Capel Rugs launched 11 collections, ranging from Moroccan-inspired designs in its Kasbah collection to geometric and floral looks in a variety of espresso, spice and cream tones in its Villandry collection. Its Safari collection, meanwhile, drew dealer interest in a variety of zebra and leopard-inspired animal skin patterns.
C. Allen Roberston, Capel's vice president of sales, said traffic was steady and the company was receiving orders on much of its new product.
"Traffic is about even with last year," he said on day two of the show, noting that there was strong representation from the Northeast and Southeast, including designers and furniture stores. He added that more people have placed orders at shows like Atlanta of late, rather than wait until they returned home as they did during the economic downturn.
"Now it is more show and sell," he said, adding, "There is definitely more interest in better goods."
Kami Navid, executive vice president of sales at Jaunty, said his company launched 35 new items in three new collections. While he said traffic felt a little soft the first two days of the show, he said customers with appointments were coming in and placing orders.
Traffic at the show, he said, is mostly from rug stores and designers, although buyers from midpriced to high-end furniture stores and gift stores also visit. Navid said these accounts appreciate the company's quality story and the private label nature of its business.
The company also does not show its products on the Internet in order to help protect its customers' brick and mortar business.
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