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Licensed Collections, Show Recap

Harounian Rugs International's Sunbrella Launch a Success at High Point Market

The new enhanced performance rugs featuring Sunbrella yarns is part of HRI's push earlier this year into the performance rug category.

By Carol Tisch & Lisa Vincenti
Portraits in front of Rugs

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Harounian Rugs International's (HRI's) launch of its new line of products made in partnership with Sunbrella is already being labeled as a success.

"This partnership is very important for us and is one of the most exciting partnerships that we have had in the 50 years we've been in the area rug business," said Lee Harounian, co-owner of the New York rug maker, during a High Point Market celebratory event at the Courtyard at Market Square on Sunday, Oct. 20.

The Courtyard at Market Square is decked out with an array of indoor Harounian performance rugs featuring Sunbrella for a High Point Market launch party on Sunday, Oct. 20.

"This is the first time that type of product has been developed in the industry," he continued. "Our Sunbrella partnership is not only for area rugs but is also for wall-to-wall and cut-to-order rugs, as well as indoor and outdoor rugs. The indoor rugs are called enhanced performance rugs and I believe that they are the first example of these types of rugs being made for indoor and outdoor use."

Lee Harounian of HRI takes the stage from musicians at HRI's performance rugs launch party to greet retailers, designers, and even competitors, who turned out to see the buzz-worthy collections featuring Sunbrella yarns.

During the event, HRI's David Grasse, who spearheaded the Sunbrella program, raised a glass in toast to the new collaboration, "spilling" his red wine on a new HRI Sunbrella indoor rug. He then proceeded to clean the spill with a towel, water and bleach. According to Harounian, even ketchup and cherry juice won't stain rugs in the collection, and, pet accidents aren't a problem either.

David Grasse and David Harounian of HRI pose for RugNews.com in front of a display of the new performance rugs featuring Sunbrella at their IHFC showroom on opening day of High Point Market.

With exceptional brand recognition, Sunbrella solution dyed acrylic yarn made by North Carolina's Glen Raven, Inc. is a leader in outdoor furniture fabrics as well as indoor performance textiles. At the High Point Market launch party, John Coates, vice president - supply chain for Glen Raven, explained, "We partnered with HRI for them to do the design work, manufacturing and distribution of rugs and broadloom using Sunbrella raw materials, and each rug in the program will be labeled Sunbrella."

Abstract rug designs on display at Harounian Rugs International during High Point Market illustrate equal doses of form and function with fashion looks in easy care, easy to clean Sunbrella yarn.

Harounian noted that the rugs are made in Turkey, India and Nepal, depending on weave and construction. "Not only are our machine-made rugs being manufactured in Sunbrella yarn but also, we have handmade and hand-loomed rugs manufactured in it -- this is a soft opening for this product and so far almost all the stores that have seen this product have placed their orders," Harounian said.

In fact the new collaboration is being partly credited for HRI's strong High Point Market. "This market is fantastic -- off the chart compared to last market a year ago," said HRI's Greg Jordt. "It was partly due to the Sunbrella launch, no doubt about. The roll out is driving traffic: customers come to our showroom to look at our Sunbrella offering, and that exposes them to our other products. It is a win-win."

A point of sale display on show at HRI showrooms in both IHFC and Market Square Tower will be offered to retailers to showcase broadloom and rug samples in the performance rug program featuring Sunbrella.

The new Sunbrella partnership is part of HRI's push earlier this year into the performance rug category. David Grasse, managing director, developed HRI's Outdoor Heirlooms assortment of performance rugs, which are part of the company's new Resilience collection, as well as the debuting Sunbrella performance range. Grasse also helped create a collection of rugs together with textile designer Wesley Mancini, which has been well-received by buyers.

Guests at the HRI performance rug featuring Sunbrella launch were treated to food and cocktails, while lounging on outdoor seating by Century Furniture, a sponsor of the Courtyard at Market Square High Point Market event.

"Everything featured in the Market Square courtyard was a Sunbrella indoor rug and the launch party there created a lot of hoopla," Grasse noted. "There has been a lot of traffic and a lot of interest."

He noted that the new indoor performance range is hand-loomed in high-low textures, with some handmade in Nepal and some in India. The outdoor Sunbrella rugs will be available in a number of constructions including power-loomed and flat woven.

Even the stage at Market Square's courtyard was lined with high performance area rugs from HRI featuring Sunbrella solution dyed acrylic yarn.

The new partnership is just one more step in HRI's strategy to diversify its offering beyond handmade rugs to provide whole-home soft surface flooring solutions for consumers, retailers and designers.

The area rugs featuring Sunbrella are designed for cutting-edge performance along with broadloom qualities and textures, with plush, thick piles and greater density. The performance rugs featuring Sunbrella debut in a wide range of price points that are in keeping with the high standards of the brand. The pattern portfolio includes modern looks, mid-century, Arts and Crafts and Art Deco, contemporary, transitional and traditional designs, as well as pieces by textile designer Wesley Mancini, among others.

Lee Harounian and David Grasse of HRI discuss the performance characteristics of the new HRI Performance Rugs by Sunbrella at the High Point Market launch party for the inaugural collection.

"Combining Sunbrella's soft yet durable yarn with the skilled weavers and rug-makers at HRI produces a totally new rug offering," said Greg Rosendale, business manager, distribution and A&D for Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, LLC. "Through this partnership, we are able to offer distributors and retailers a beautiful product with the highest standards of performance on the market."


In High Point, the Sunbrella rugs were paired with Century outdoor furniture and on display for the duration of the market along with a video of the wine stain removal demonstration conducted by Grasse at the Market Square Courtyard launch party.

After the launch party and throughout the fall High Point Market, shoppers got to enjoy the HRI rugs in settings featuring Century outdoor furniture, and could watch a video highlighting a wine stain removal demonstration.

David Grasse of HRI does a live demonstration at the launch party for the company's new performance rugs, pouring wine on a pale contemporary design made from Sunbrella yarn.

Water is poured on the wine stain on the new performance rug, followed by an application of bleach - to which Sunbrella yarn is impervious.

A final dose of water removes any remaining bleach and the stain is blotted.

After removing the wine stain, David Grasse shows the audience the stain-free front and back of the HRI performance rug.

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