Rug makers fill demand for U.S. product
Thomas Lester -- Furniture Today, February 26, 2014
HIGH POINT - As American consumers' appetites for domestically produced goods continues to rise, rug manufacturers who make their product here say they are poised to capitalize.
Wild Weave is a popular rug collection from Anderson, S.C.-based Orian Rugs, which produces all of its products in America.
"Consumers are hungry for American-made products and Orian Rugs is right on point to deliver," said Morgan DeBrew, marketing manager for the company.
"They want to purchase American-made products and to be serviced on the product domestically. We have definitely seen an uptick in walk-in traffic to our showrooms solely for this reason. We have seen an increase for consumers demanding American-made product over the last few years and the time to optimize on being a domestic manufacturer is now," DeBrew said.
All of Orian's rugs are made domestically in Anderson, S.C., and she said the company prides itself on creating high quality, innovative rugs that are made here. Orian is celebrating its 35th year in business and recently opened a showroom for the first time in Las Vegas to go along with its existing showrooms in Atlanta, High Point, New York and Anderson. Orian also has announced plans for a $13 million expansion to its facilities in Anderson.
DeBrew said Orian's most popular collections play on the company's American heritage. Orian's signature American Heirloom collection is inspired by classic, hand-woven oriental rugs while Wild Weave is inspired by the latest trends in home fashion - warm, cool and new metallic color ways are woven to create more than 30 color combinations.
Capel Rugs has been manufacturing in the U.S. since 1917 and has factories in North Carolina and Georgia. Allen Robertson, vice president of sales, said its strongest American-made rugs include Homecoming, Inspire and Creative Concepts.
"Homecoming continues to show steady growth and it really does typify what we do best here at Capel - we make the world's best braided rugs at the highest quality," Robertson said.
"Inspire is another Made in America rug that's performing very well for us. It's a bordered rug for use indoors featuring fabulous new border treatments. Inspire resists staining and fading, and comes in rectangles, squares, octagons and runners. Finally, Creative Concepts - Capel's unique indoor/outdoor version of the bordered rug - continues to be a standout product for us."
Robertson said he has noticed a number of retailers leveraging Made in America as a selling point that is resonating with consumers.
"Our retailers have an inherent pride in American-made products, and they have just as strong of a commitment as ever to promoting Made in the USA rugs," he said.
"Offering products with this distinction gives independent retailers an advantage over mass merchants and chain stores. Compared to last year, our customers' use of Made in America promotions is most important to differentiate themselves.... For consumers, Made in America remains a strong buying feature."
The hotbed for American rug production is in northern Georgia, in towns such as Dalton and Calhoun.
Oriental Weavers, based in Dalton, produces about 35% of its rugs in Georgia with plans to ramp up capacity later this year. Jonathan Witt, vice president of Oriental Weavers, said while other elements might carry more weight in the buying decision, Made in America can be a deciding factor.
"I think the Made in America movement in general means more now than in years past, not just in the rug industry," Witt said. "As far as rugs are concerned, I think as long as a consumer likes the design and the color scheme works with their décor, they will be interested in purchasing the rug. If it is made in the United States, it's icing on the cake."
Witt said the Hudson and Revival collections are OW's two top-selling rug styles, and they have company.
"In fact, four out of the top five bestselling rugs for Oriental Weavers are made right here in the United States," he said.
Surya, which produces most of its rugs overseas, has its American headquarters in Calhoun, where it makes its Cape Cod and Concept lines. Satya Tiwari, Surya president, said having American-made product among Surya's offerings makes sense due to the demand from consumers.
"There has been a trend among many of our retailer customers to promote Made in America goods in response to increasing consumer demand for products that directly support the U.S. economy," Tiwari said. "We will continue to seek opportunities, where appropriate, to source and bring to market American-made products across our rug and home accessories categories."
He said that while domestically production holds market advantages such as short lead times, it can be limiting in terms of available selection, so companies that have capabilities to produce here and abroad typically have the flexibility to meet time demands on one hand and can offer a wide array of product on the other.
"When new rugs are introduced at market, you are typically looking at a 4-6 month lead time for those items manufactured overseas," Tiwari said. "In contrast, rugs that are made domestically can be available for sale within a couple of weeks. Domestic products do help in speed to market but can be limiting in depth due to cost associated with changing color creels. We at Surya use domestic sources to bridge time as well as overseas manufacturing to give depth."
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