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ABC Carpet Execs Unpack Strategies for Flagship, Omni Channel & Rugs: Part 2

In Part 2 of this retail series, ABC Carpet's metamorphosis includes a revised approach to area rugs, showcasing its commitment to artisanal sustainable designs.Fine tunes its approach to its area rug business.

Lisa Vincenti
image of rug display
NEW YORK -- Prized for its selection of artisanal one of a kind rugs, including a large range of vintage and antique designs, ABC Carpet is fine tuning its approach to its area rug business.

Part of the future strategy includes adding a range of programmed rugs to support future online business. Still, according to rug and carpet executives Eileen Applebaum, senior vice president and general manager and Haynes Robinson, senior vice president of product design and development, shoppers should expect the retailers' high standards and signature quirkiness.
"Because we didn't leverage the e-commerce piece of the business, ABC was really a place to come in and pick out a rug you like -- it was really a serendipitous shopping experience," Applebaum said. "But that same person who is buying that one of a kind rug also might need some basic things that they are not coming to us for. They are here buying that one of a kind rug yet we are not selling them the more basic pieces. We can do basic in a very unique special way, so we are thinking of program in that way -- to use our e-commerce business to inventory more core product, more neutral colors and textures but that still with our own unique flavor and storytelling."
 "Everything from our rugs to jewelry to product in the home section has been reformed in some way into a new product."
-- Haynes Robinson, senior VP product design and development, carpet and rugs

ABC offers a hand-made good, better, best selection of area rugs, with the majority of rug sales falling between $1,000 and $10,000. "Five thousand to $10,000 is the real meat of our rugs, and as we try to activate our program with the trade to create a more compelling program with designers, the better and best is where we will focus," Applebaum said.

And the area rug assortment is driven by what Applebaum and Robinson call its three pillars of design: color reform, fiber reform and deconstruction reform.

Shoppers can head to ABC Carpet's third floor to discover hand-made, sustainable designs.
For example, Robinson has been developing a new range of area rugs that recast classic 20th century styles, which were often chrome dyed and feature a static construction. "We are redeveloping that 20th century aesthetic with hand spun materials, distressing and over-dyes," Robinson explained of the pieces, which range from Art Deco to Chinese Art Deco Nichols motifs, to iconic Swedish looks. The Nichols re-interpretations will be crafted of recycled sari silk.

The main rug space on ABC's loft-like third floor has served as a clearinghouse in the past two years to sell off rugs from other locations and get ready for a revamp.

The whole topic of reform has been an important keystone of ABC throughout the store, and includes its area rugs, where the company creates rugs by up-cycling materials from Sari silk, to recycled wool and other castaway materials.

"We are repurposing [used materials] and reweaving them with different finishes. The ABC brand was a pioneer in the environmental sustainability movement and over the past couple of years as we focused on Metamorphosis, the world caught up to us," Applebaum said. "So we have our work to do to get ourselves back in alignment around being a leader and leading the way -- and we are working on a couple of things to be released this year. But when you look at our assortment in general, repurposing has been a big direction for us. Instead of starting from scratch with new dyes and new materials, new everything, it is using what was beautiful, but stylistically isn't salable and stripping something away or adding to it, to make it feel new and transformed."

Among the company's top-selling collections is the vibrant all silk Alchemy collection, in the foreground.

Added Robinson, "Everything from our rugs to jewelry to product in the home section, most of it had some previous purpose and has been reformed in some way into a new product and that is kind of who we are as a company; taking something that was old and making it fresh for the market."

ABC Carpet & Home's window displays showcase its hand-made rug assortment.
trans-ocean ad spot hri rugs