An Inside Look


Thomas Lester is the assistant editor of Home Accents Today and Furniture/Today.  A veteran journalist and storyteller, Lester will bring the stories behind the partnerships, product innovations and personalities in the home accents and furniture industries to life in this blog.

  • How do you organize your rug assortment?

    Pop quiz: What do your customers ask for when looking for a rug? Is it a particular color? How about a certain style? Is price a consideration? Does brand play a factor? Chances are it’s the first three questions listed here in any order. The brand question is most likely a distant fourth place. (Or even behind other questions that aren’t published in this space.) I’m asking these questions to set up another one: How do you organize your rug assortment in store? Do you set the rugs up by color, by style, by construction, by brand ... Read More
  • Rug showrooms generating market buzz

    Plenty of goings-on are taking place inside rug showrooms at this week’s High Point Market. Buyers and designers who visit will have the chance to see big names, get a first look at plenty of new product and have the chance to cut loose and try new things after long days. A number of special guests will be in rug showrooms to help promote their branded products. In the early portion of the week, the husband-and-wife design tandem, the Novogratz (best known for shows on HGTV and Bravo), will spend plenty of time in Momeni’s International Home Furnishings ... Read More
  • 5 things retailers need to know about the rug business heading into 2017

    By and large, the furniture retail business has been uneven throughout 2016 with good business one month followed by a lackluster showing the next. That inconsistency is being felt in the rug industry as well. Some producers report flat-to-modest sales to date while others say they’re up by double digits. So what’s going on at the retail level? Where is business strongest in this segment? What price points are doing the best? What styles are resonating with consumers? What constructions are leading the way at retail? How can you better align your business to maximize these trends? Furniture ... Read More
  • Biggest takeaway from F/T’s Floor Tour

    It's one thing to visit with your rug manufacturers and importers at markets. It's another thing entirely to see them where they work. That's not to knock time spent at the markets. It can be — and usually is — great. You get an opportunity to interact with company officials while seeing their latest and greatest introductions while making plans that set the course for your store’s next few months. However, there’s something to be said about spending time with the same folks in a setting that’s much less formal. That’s perhaps the biggest takeaway ... Read More
  • Highlights from the #FloorTour

    I recently hit the road to visit a half dozen rug manufacturers in South Carolina and Georgia to learn more about their operations, business practices, and in one case, to cover the groundbreaking of a new world headquarters. Stories from this excursion will soon be found at Furniture/Today and at Home Accents Today. In the meantime, I'll have plenty of photos and thoughts from the trip on social media. You can follow all the action via the hashtag #FloorTour. Day 3: Pair of machine-made majors The final day of the #Floor Tour involved visiting a pair of machine-made ... Read More
  • Growth an encouraging sign in rug community

    There's an old adage that says, simply: If you're not growing, you're dying. If that's the case, the rug world can be seen as healthy and vibrant, as growth is the order of the day. Rug producers are investing in their own operations here through new facilities, expansions and upgrades to better serve their customers. On May 9, Surya cut the ribbon on its brand new 1 million-square-foot headquarters and distribution center in Cartersville, Ga. The Cartersville office serves as Surya’s U.S. headquarters for the company’s executive administration, supply chain management, customer support ... Read More
  • What would you like to know about rugs?

    On August 15, Furniture/Today will publish a special Rug Report and we've got three hot topics ready to roll. Which one would you most like to read about? Comment below, tweet your pick to @tlesterwrites or email to cast your vote. 'Design' your way to better rug sales The interior design channel is a unique and significant segment of the home furnishings industry. Savvy retailers addressing this audience can generate higher tickets and build loyalty with a customer base that comes back frequently. How can retailers and manufacturers work to maximize the potential of this ... Read More
  • What's gaining ground this summer market season?

    It's that time again as we prepare for the summer market season. This week, buyers and designers get their first look at what's new in showrooms at the Dallas Total Home & Gift Market. That show sets the stage for what should be another strong run in rugs. Next month, more new rugs will be on display at the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market, and again at the Las Vegas Market. It’s one of the busiest times of the year in the rug world, as manufacturers and importers put their best foot forward and stores send their ... Read More
  • The value of being seen

    It goes without saying that consumers need to at least see a product before they'll think about buying it. Sight is perhaps one of the strongest senses in the shopping experience. After all, e-commerce in the home furnishings industry is growing by leaps and bounds, and its activity and success is predicated almost entirely on sight. In talking with rug retailers about their assortment choices for a story in last week’s Furniture/Today, the conversation inevitably turned to display, since all the selection in the world won’t matter if it’s unseen. All three retailers interviewed said ... Read More
  • New faces injecting personality into rug world

    There's plenty of personality already found throughout the rug channel. Add in the lineup of licensees, and that character grows exponentially. And during the upcoming High Point Market, it's going to grow by two more well-known personas. Already with a successful foray into furniture to her credit through a partnership with Klaussner, Trisha Yearwood has signed on with Natco Home for a series of rugs that can be seen inside the company’s International Home Furnishings Center M-436 showroom. The Grammy Award-winning singer, best-selling author and celebrity chef is also delving into accessories of all kinds with a ... Read More
  • You're joking, right?

    Looks like the home furnishings industry isn't immune to the fun of April 1. All day today, we're keeping a running tally of the best April Fool's Day posts on Twitter. Check in often to see the latest.   Happy Freebie Friday! Boy, do we have something special for you this Friday! A Limited Edition, One of A Kind,... — Harkness Furniture (@tweetHarkness) April 1, 2016   Welcome to the NEW Apt2B! After 5yrs we’ve decided to pivot a bit with a new direction in furniture + decor #startup — Apt2B (@Apt2B) April ... Read More
  • Rugs as educational tools

    It's remarkable how some of the most interesting factoids come from tangents when you're digging into something else entirely. In working on a story on Evanston, Ill.-based retailer Minasian Rug Co.'s partnership with NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, (see article) the retailers talked about another aspect of their business that merits mention, and it’s the kind of thing that would work well for any retailer. Brothers Armen and Carney Minasian are third-generation rug retailers who once managed the Marshall Field rug departments nationally until Macy’s acquired the brand. Today, they run their family store in ... Read More