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Business

Atlanta Market, Despite Lower Attendance, Saw Retailers & Designers Placing Rug Orders

“They’re buying!" Exhibiting rug companies were pleasantly surprised by retail and designer sales.

By Jessica Harlan
8/20/2020
A sign showing showroom occupancy as well as safety protocols
At the first major home and decor show since the national shutdown in March, rug showrooms promoted safety.

ATLANTA — While many of the area rug showrooms sat dark and empty during Atlanta Market this week and last, a handful of showrooms did open their doors -- and attendance was much lower than more typical summer forerunners -- in fact 80 percent lower.

Still for those area rug players who did participate in Atlanta Market, rescheduled from early July, showroom managers and company representatives reported that even in the unusual circumstances of a mid-pandemic trade show, the retailers and interior designers in attendance were shopping with purpose and writing orders. (Make sure to read Rug Vendors Gear Up for Atlanta & Vegas Markets, for more insight from industry executives.)


The entry to Atlanta Market showcased the new safety protocols in place, including temperature checks.

RugNews was also on site, checking in with those manufacturers who were exhibiting to see what products were generating interest, what their customers were shopping for, and what their Atlanta Market experiences were like. 

AMER RUGS

classic motif rug
Amer Rugs showcases the indoor-outdoor Bohemian collection.

"We are seeing a lot of interior designers and furniture houses, but no e-commerce customers stopping by," said Anupriya Choudhari, Amer director. "Everyone is saying business is warming up -- that it's almost back to normal. Retailers have been placing orders and adding samples, and designers are working with new clients -- customers seem very happy to come see product in person."

The highlight in Amer’s showroom were the new launches in hand-knotted rugs, Choudhari said. For instance, Brooklyn has a haberdashery look and is made of New Zealand wool and art silk in a high plush pile. The multicolored yarn gives the patterns a variegated feel for the six designs. Legacy is also a new hand-knotted collection. Made of 100 percent wool, it features four designs. One, inspired by fiery coals, has a red and grey palette, with more than 20 shades of red giving the rug plenty of intricacy. And the Abstract collection gets a brand-new hand-tufted pattern made of New Zealand Wool and viscose.

In the machine-made category, Cairo is a polypropylene/polyester power-loomed collection in six patterns, with fresh color combinations and lots of texture. Bohemian is an outdoor rug range that incorporates traditional and transitional designs.

Noted Choudhari, "We are getting more demand for color and multicolored products. We're focusing on fresh color accents like mustard, toned-down red, and darker blues like navy."

tribal design rug
The hand-knot Legacy collection by Amer Rugs showcases an earthy, warm color palette.

LOLOI RUGS


Magnolia Home x Loloi showcases latest pillows and area rugs.


John Thompson, Loloi vice president, Southeastern region, was pleasantly surprised by the traffic in his showroom this market. “We thought we’d only see about 10 percent of our usual customer base but it’s actually trending higher,” he said. “Thursday and Friday were rock-solid.” While he said most of the traffic was regional customers within 250 miles, they did have at least one major national retailer tour the showroom. One pleasant surprise: Of the walk-in customers, Thompson said a large portion were customers that were brand-new to Loloi.

“Some of these retailers are going on 10 to 11 months without seeing fresh product,” he said. “They’re buying. It’s almost guaranteed that a retailer will be low on stock by now. And we’re capitalizing on that. Amir [Loloi] has done an amazing job with keeping up with inventory.”

Thompson said that at the market, customers were particularly interested in hand-knotted options as well as the company’s branded products from Magnolia Home, Ellen DeGeneres, Justina Blakeney, and Rifle Paper.

“This spring we launched 30 new collections, not counting accessories, and this was the first time they’ve been seen,” he noted
.

One highlight was Lana, which was shaping up to be a top seller at the show. It’s a hand-knotted line with a geometric neutral motif, available in four colorways. Lana is made of wool, viscose, and cotton, and comes in sizes as large as 11.5 by 15 feet.

Giada was also a focal point. It comes in 14 sizes and 13 designs. “We created this line that falls between what consumers are buying, and what the market is screaming for,” he said. The rich jewel-toned options include grape, blush, silver, red, denim, and more, including three different versions of green.

In the Magnolia Home licensed program, now in its fourth year with Loloi, there are four new collections for spring, and a wide variety of new pillows in fun shapes and unexpected color combinations.

The company also has a collection called Samra, under the Loloi II umbrella, a non-MAP-priced assortment of products that are value engineered for e-tailers. “We’re taking what’s selling in the high end and translating it to those price levels,” explained Thompson.


Loloi introduces Giada featuring rich jewel-toned colors and classic motifs.

NOURISON


Nouison adds to the successful Prismatic collection.

Most of Nourison’s new introductions, which were presented in a virtual market as well, were sent to the company’s Las Vegas showroom, but Southeast regional manager Jim McNalley said some of the visitors to the Atlanta showroom were seeing certain pieces for the first time. What's more, Nourison held a virtual market on august 18, presenting Fall 2020 collections to registered shoppers prior to the live debut in Vegas.

McNalley said Atlanta traffic was mostly furniture stores and independents, “A lot of people are itching to get out, they need to see what’s new,” he said. He reported that the part of his business that was doing the best this year is to-the-trade showrooms and retailers selling better-quality merchandise. To-the-trade showrooms, in particular, have been able to operate more or less normally by accepting customers by appointment or doing virtual business.

“Where designers are involved, that really hasn’t stopped,” said McNalley. “There is definitely pent-up demand; people have been in their houses for so long."

One of the main areas of focus at this market was the expansion of the company’s popular Twilight collection. It was the first time the six new additions were exhibited in Atlanta. Made of wool and Luxcelle, the Twilight rugs are loom woven and hand finished. The subtle abstract patterns have a neutral palette with hints of greens and gray
s.

The company’s Craftworks program, introduced in January, continues to garner interest, said McNalley. The hand-loomed broadloom is 15 feet wide, and though sold as carpets, a “significant percentage” is sold as custom-sized rugs. The equipment allows for nonstandard sizes and shapes and has a serged finish. There’s even an indoor/outdoor option.

Ocean is another existing collection that saw a refresh with two new introductions. The latest designs feature abstract patterns hand-knotted in a cream and charcoal color combination. It is woven of New Zealand wool, bamboo silk, and linen.

Finally, Prismatic, a very strong-selling collection for Nourison, also added new patterns, one showstopper executed in a brightly colored abstract design rich with detail and variation in shading.


The Colorado collection in hand-tufted wool debuts on Nourison's virtual market.

SURYA


image of Biscayne rug
A new Biscayne collection rug marks the entrance to Surya’s famous lunch area, which was closed this market for safety.

It was plenty easy to social-distance in Surya’s vast 11th floor showroom. And while Satya Tiwari, president, told RugNews.com that only a fraction of the company’s latest introductions were on display, there was plenty of newness for buyers to shop, from hand-knotted to machine-made to indoor/outdoor options.

While acknowledging that traffic was obviously slower than the company is used to seeing during a typical summer market, Jindy Carter, sales leader -- inside sales, said, “It’s been definitely steady, and customers are in a more buying behavior, not just looking.” Most of the traffic was independent retailers and designers.

Carter reported that now that retail stores are open following pandemic closures throughout the country, they were at market focused on restocking. She also noticed an interest from interior designers in selecting an assortment of products that they could sell online on their own digital platforms.

From Surya’s perspective, Carter said, the company has seen spends go up as people have hunkered down in their homes for much of the year and spent time improving their spaces.

“Even though the virus has hit a lot of business hard, home decor has been good for us,” she said. “This is a very adaptive market.”

Among the 200-some product introductions on view in the Surya showroom, Xandy Lundberg, corporate sales supervisor, said there were some standouts.

Biscayne is a wool hand-tufted collection that incorporates pastels with pops of color in a traditional, aged-looking patterns and a low pile construction. Brunswick is a new machine-made collection of polyester/polypropylene. The fiber choice gives a luster that mimics viscose but with better performance. The rugs have the aesthetic of a hand-knotted rug, with a short fringe and a painterly/abstract motif in 8 different pattern options. And Southampton combines jute with PET yarn, which gives it durability and better cleanability. This solid rug collection, which comes in five colorways, has an unusual macrame-style fringe on the borders.


Surya introduces its new machine-made Brunswick series.


TAMARIAN

:
Tamarian Carpets adds Lamina in trending palette that includes salmons, golds and more.

At Tamarian, the company has taken the unusual approach of creating named color palettes that then are applied to different patterns to create a wide variety of looks. “A palette is almost more important than the design,” said Chris Saliga, vice president of sales.

For example, the rug pattern Rey was shown in the Discus palette, which features salmon, raspberry, gold, mint, and other hues. “This group of colors is still our hottest palette,” said Saliga.

A yet unnamed new tribal design was also executed in different palettes, including a coloration called Charcoal Flame, which included lime green, grey, blue, among others.

Saliga said the company has been experimenting with different shades of greens to include in its various palettes. “We are doing our best to find greens that work for everyone,” he said.

Finally, Brittania was a playful and eye-catching pattern, based on a flag design, which was front and center on the showroom wall, in various color combinations.

Interior designers and to-the-trade showrooms are the backbone of the Tamarian business, and the market traffic proved no different, Saliga noted. “Designers were coming in with blueprints, looking for project-based purchases,” he said. “Things were a little sluggish when [the nation] first opened back up in June, but sales have picked up again. Designers have been working on building up their clientele again. It was like starting brand new once they finished everything that was in the pipeline.”


Tamarian Carpets adds the hand-knotted ray Rey.
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