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Product, Show Recap

First Casual Market Was a Win for Atlanta Market Rug Exhibitors

Co-located Atlanta Market and Casual Market events gave rug companies exhibiting this summer a new burst of optimism.

Jessica Harlan
four area rug showrooms featuring vignettes or products
The co-hosting of Casual Market and Atlanta Market increased summer traffic at surveyed rug showrooms.

ATLANTA — With the Casual Market’s debut in Atlanta, AmericasMart was buzzing with new energy this week. And although the number of area rug exhibitors has dwindled, those who opened their showrooms to customers were excited about the possibility of increased traffic, new business, and additional opportunities.

Several area rug manufacturers took temporary spaces on the Casual Market show floor, directing attendees to their larger showrooms elsewhere on campus.

Signage at Trans-Ocean’s Casual Market stand directs shoppers to the company’s main exhibit space in Building 2.

Trans-Ocean has long had a temporary showroom at Atlanta market, a busy prominent spot near the entrance to the show on the second floor in Building 2. For the Casual Market, the company took a second small temporary showroom on the Casual Market show floor, with signage directing customers to its larger spot. “I expect that the Casual Market will continue to thrive like it did in Chicago,” said Dean Smith, vice president of sales, Trans-Ocean.

Dash & Albert also had a presence in the Casual Market. “Our goal is to have people trickle up here [to the 15th-floor showroom],” said Jess Evans, vice president of product development and design for Dash & Albert. The company has had outdoor products in its collection since 2011 and it’s been one of its fastest-growing categories. “As people have more of a casual indoor/outdoor lifestyle, it will continue to grow,” said Evans. “For us and for the category, [having the Casual Market in Atlanta] seems beneficial.”

LR Home doubles its footprint in AmericasMart with a new permanent showroom in Building One.

LR Home moved to Building One, which also housed the Casual Market, just in time for its inaugural show here. “Traffic has been good,” reported Vinamra Laddha, COO of LR Home. “We’ve seen designers and a few outdoor and garden accounts. Overall, [the Casual Market] should have a positive impact. And with the consolidation of the markets, we should see more people coming through.”

David Gebhart, president of Global Home, anticipates that long-term, the colocation of the Casual Market with Atlanta Market will be a good thing for traffic. “I believe now that they have the Casual Market as a draw, it will bring more customers to the market,” he said.

“The three Thompsons” – Jim Thompson of Natco Home, Mike Thompson of LR Home and John Thompson of Loloi --
at this summer’s Atlanta Market and Casual Market.

While most rug vendors have closed the doors of their AmericasMart showrooms over the past few years, Loloi is one major player that has doubled down on its investment in Atlanta, moving to a new, prominent space on the first floor and expanding a secondary presence on an upper floor. “Loloi is committed to the mart and to the Southeast; it’s a major market for us and a great way to cater to our customers,” says John Thompson, vice president, Southeastern region, Loloi. “Being really the only rug company here, we really shine. It’s a great opportunity.”

The addition of the Casual Market, he adds, “is a breath of fresh air. It’s doing what we hoped: to attract new customers who don’t usually come to Atlanta, as well as our older customers who are here for the Casual Market.”

Orientalist Home also is committed to its spot at AmericasMart. “Atlanta is the center for the Southern states,” said Gady Yesilcay, owner. “We’ve attended for 15 years, and we’re happy about it.”

Orientalist Home shows off its new Moroccan design rug hand-knotted of natural wool in Afghanistan.

With the presence of the Casual Market, Yesilcay reported seeing some new accounts who are exploring the upper floors from the Casual Market.

Charles Fowler, in the sales department of Capitol Earth, is optimistic about the Casual Market’s impact on Atlanta Market. “Hopefully it will bring in a new type of customer that we haven’t been introduced to before,” he said.

Some longtime exhibitors worried that the discrepancy in dates — the Casual Market started on Monday, July 10, while the Atlanta Market opened on Tuesday for showrooms and Wednesday for temporaries, would hinder those trying to see exhibitors at booth markets.

Overall, however, the Casual Market’s first Atlanta appearance seemed successful.

Read on for highlights from the area rug showrooms at Atlanta Market.


Capitol Earth’s braided Winter Birds scatter mats are best-sellers.

Specializing in braided jute rugs made in Bangladesh, Capitol Earth was highlighting its unique hand-stenciled options in a temporary booth at Atlanta Market. The patterns and designs are stenciled onto rugs and mats, then heat-treated so the paint sets and becomes durable. The company’s offerings are as small as a coaster or a trivet and as large as an 8x11-foot braided rug. The company also makes unique options like tree skirts and shaped products such as a dog-bone-shaped mat to go under pet dishes. At Atlanta Market, Charles Fowler, in the sales department, was promoting some of the company’s better-selling patterns, including its Winter Birds scatter mats and vertical-braided mats.

Buyers give a thumbs-up to Capitol Earth’s vertical-braided mats, which are a perennial favorite.


The Field of Dreams modern abstract rug by Dash & Albert boasts a coordinating pillow and footstool.

In the Codarus showroom, Dash & Albert was building on previous successes with its new area rugs. Field of Dreams, for instance, is a 100 percent wool hand-tufted design inspired by modern abstract florals. The rug has a bright color palette that’s just muted enough and has a coordinating pillow and footstool.

Safety Net offers Casual Market shoppers a performance wool kilim look-alike.

The company also expanded on the success of its wool kilim rug collection, Safety Net, by creating a version of the pattern in PET polyester for a performance-quality version. Available in green and blue, the rug’s geometric zig-zag pattern was inspired by fishing nets in Barbados.

Dash & Albert relaunches and expands its custom rug program.

In addition, Dash & Albert is also relaunching its custom rug program in a big way, with the swatches of available options displayed in the showroom. The program takes some of the brand’s most popular patterns and brings them in as roll goods to be cut to custom sizes that can be up to 15 feet wide and 30 feet long. There are 131 patterns in the custom program, 52 of which are proprietary designs. The majority of the options are handmade with either tufted or woven constructions, in materials of wool, sisal, or jute, plus synthetic indoor/outdoor fibers.


A show-stopping display of coordinating total home products is anchored by Monitor, a contemporary graphic area rug, at Global Views.

Global Views, which was acquired by Surya earlier this year to strengthen Surya's position within the high-end designer market, saw steady business in Atlanta for its cross-coordinated offering. Global Views continues to feature its proprietary area rug designs in its showrooms.

“We design our area rugs for the room setting, creating a totally coordinated look,” David Gebhart, president, explained. “But the rugs can also move to work with other collections.” One of the company’s newest rugs, which was showcased at the Atlanta Market, is Monitor, part of the Ashley Childers licensed collection. This wool and viscose rug features a thick pile and an organic pattern in ivory and brown, and was showcased in showroom vignettes including under a conversational grouping of upholstered furniture, with a console table and poufs, and in a bedroom display as well. 

Global Views’ area rugs are mainly 100 percent wool rugs with hand-tufted constructions. The company also carries some digitally printed options and wool/viscose blends.

Monitor, part of the Ashley Childers licensed collection at Global Views, is woven of wool and viscose rug with a thick pile.

A reconfigured 13th floor AmericasMart space now highlights wall art, pillows, and most of Loloi’s licensed collaborations.

Loloi moved across the hall to a new first-floor showroom facing the registration area. “The visibility is awesome here,” said John Thompson, vice president, Southeastern region, Loloi. “Our initial concept was to have a place where the design trade could come in and use this showroom almost as a workspace,” he said. While the new showroom is smaller than its previous first-floor space, the company has also expanded and reconfigured its space on the 13th floor. This upstairs showroom now highlights wall art, pillows, and most of Loloi’s licensed collaborations.

The Atlanta Market is the first time many Southeastern customers are seeing Loloi products that were introduced in High Point in April. One collection getting a lot of attention was Manfred. Made of wool, cotton, and polyester in a hand-knotted construction, Thompson says the rug offers excellent value for its price point of $1,900 for an 8x10. The rugs are in tonal shades of neutral hues, with patchwork-like blocks featuring different textures and weaves. “Our base is shifting to transitional edging on contemporary,” says Thompson, explaining that this rug, with its pattern subtly executed in the weave, hits that demographic.

The polypropylene Katherine collection by Jean Stoffer x Loloi brings a touch of classic modernity at an affordable price point.

In Loloi’s 13th floor showroom, the Katherine rug collection in the Jean Stoffer x Loloi was also addressing the traditional/modern blend in consumer decorating preferences. “She really does that better than anyone else,” says Thompson “She’ll take a traditional home and not lose the tradition but spin that classic modernity into it.” Katherine is made of machine-made polypropylene at an affordable price point.


The Aria collection from LR Home gets a prominent window space in the company’s new AmericasMart showroom.

LR Home has returned to Building One of AmericasMart in a 2,000-square-foot showroom that’s more than double its former showroom, which was surrounded by giftware companies. “We wanted a bigger space, and Building One is where a lot of the furniture, rugs and accessories vendors are,” says Vinamra Laddha, COO. In the new showroom, “we are able to merchandise everything together, which makes a big difference.”

The Geoblend collection in jute and wool was a summer market hit with LR Home’s Atlanta shoppers.

One of the highlights in the showroom was LR Home’s Geoblend collection of jute and wool. This rug has a clean, contemporary look with a fringe and a neutral colorway. Maples was also being promoted. The woven jute and wool rug has a textural, raised pattern over a flatweave background. Laddha said the company is also excited about its Aria collection. These rugs have a transitional look, with faded medallions and borders, and a very short nap. Finally, the Belize rugs, with bold colors and an oversized floral pattern, are reversible outdoor rugs.


Orientalist Home highlighted this pastel-washed Oushak hand-knotted in Pakistan.

Orientalist Home was showing off stacks of its one-of-a-kind area rugs and vintage Turkish rugs to interior designers and other clients at Atlanta Market. With its prominent spot hanging from the wall, a Moroccan rug made of 100 percent wool was a highlight. The rug is Moroccan-style made in Afghanistan of natural, undyed wool woven into a subtle pattern featuring a simple border and a few scattered motifs. Also in the focal point was an Oushak made in Pakistan of 100 percent wool. The traditional pattern of the rug was treated with a pastel wash that gave the colors a dreamy, faded look.


Atlanta shoppers loved Trans-Ocean’s power-loomed Bamboo rug from the Carmel collection designed by Liora Manne.

With the bulk of its products introduced earlier this year, Trans-Ocean was focusing on its mats, scatter rugs, and outdoor rugs. In area rugs, the Bamboo pattern in the Carmel collection was getting a lot of attention. On a striated background, elegant bamboo fronds were scattered around the perimeter of the rug, loosely making a border. The rug comes in several colorways and is power-loomed of polypropylene and polyester. In scatter rugs, Dean Smith, vice president, sales, said machine-washable rugs were doing well. Among the options of patterns were colorful birds at a bird bath, or bees buzzing over a honeycomb background.

Trans-Ocean’s machine-washable scatter rugs by Liora Manne were market hits with buyers attending Casual Market
and Atlanta summer market. Buzzing bees design, left, and Bird Bath, right.
trans-ocean ad spot hri rugs