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High Point, Show Recap

High Point Market's In-Person Event Boosts Area Rug Sales, Part 1

In-stock was the buzzword among area rug buyers shopping High Point Market's first live event of the year. In this two-part exclusive, RugNews.com tours rug showrooms that opened for business and found that orders were strong and many of latest introductions a hit.

Jessica Harlan
11/4/2020
collage of high point rugs and buyers
RugNews.com tours the area rug showrooms open for fall 2020 market. Clockwise from top left: Nourison's Prismatic, shot by designer Gary Inman;
Trans-Ocean by Liora Manne's Fresco; Kaleen's Tiziano; Designers Kayla Dawn Watson, right, and Victoria Maudlin at Feizy's one of a kind gallery;
and Kalaty's Torano.


HIGH POINT, N.C. -- More than seven months into the pandemic, and there’s no doubt the home furnishings industry has learned how to adapt to the new climate. So as the first in-person High Point Market of 2020, the fall event went off without a hitch, yet with many showrooms shuttered and decidedly light attendance.

Instead of pens, the swag of choice this year was branded masks or personal sanitizer bottles, and food trucks were the new cocktail party. Nonetheless inside the showroom buildings, new products were being seen, orders written, and personal connections enjoyed after months of remote interactions.
 
What's more, the area rug vendors who chose to open their doors had, for the most part, low traffic expectations but reported they were pleased with the meetings they had and that the buyers stopping in were placing orders to update their inventory and review the latest area rug introductions. Most shoppers wanted new product that was in-stock and ready to ship so that they could fill stores with fresh merchandise heading into the final months of the year.

RugNews.com was at High Point Market, mask in place and temperature check passed, to suss out the plethora of new introductions, and to see how this market sets up the rug industry through the end of 2020. In Part 1, we tour rug showrooms from Couristan to Loloi, while Part 2 continues the tour visiting rug exhibitors from LR Home to Trans-Ocean by Liora Manne.

COURISTAN


Couristan highlighted its million-point Home Retreat area rug collection, made in Belgium, at its High Point showroom.

Matt Tollison, executive vice president of area rugs, said that with many retailers’ sales up double digits, “everyone is writing healthy orders.” He reports that e-commerce has been Couristan’s breadwinner this year, and broadloom sales have also been strong. “The product development we’ve been working on will get us set up for January shows,” he continued.

In the Couristan showroom, the company was running a discount promotion on its offerings of million-point rugs, made in Belgium, and featuring several line extensions of existing collections. Among the two new million-point designs on display were the latest additions to it's Everest collection, which is constructed of heat-set Courtron polypropylene. The power-loomed Everest, which offers a super-dense weave and a soft finish, offers one million points of yarn per square meter.

The debuting Luxor collection is cross-woven of polyester, viscose and space-dyed yarn; this range includes four patterns currently and four to come, with warm spice colors in a distressed traditional pattern. The Couture collection is also new to market and features gold accents to play off the current trend of brushed-gold fixtures. It is cross-woven of space-dyed polyester for a soft, durable product in a subtle pattern.



Couristan's aptly named Couture collection features gold accents and is cross-woven of space-dyed polyester.

DALYN RUG CO.


Dalyn had more designers than usual dropping by its showroom to check out what's new, such as its soft, textural Cascina collection.

Like other exhibitors, Brian VanderWerf, regional vice president, and Kibbe Waters, regional vice president-East Coast, said that they saw a higher percentage of designers than they usually see at High Point. “They’re working projects, and seeing what’s new,” said Waters. But between the customers they saw in-person, of those they’ve interacted with virtually, she noted, “What we are hearing from our retail customers is that business is phenomenal, and they’re just looking for inventory that’s available in-stock or soon.” Dalyn expects a strong fourth quarter, bolstered by the new products that they’ve been steadily rolling out since January.

In the showroom, the company placed an emphasis on value, ranging around the $199 price point. “We’re trying to wow people at a value price point,” VanderWerf said. Products like Karma, an entry level machine-woven polypropylene and shrink polyester rug that sells for $99, help position them as a value resource. Other new items include Marquee, a $199 machine-woven polypropylene and polyester pile collection that includes eight pieces: four solids, and four tribal/Bohemian-inspired designs. And Cascina is a power-loomed polypropylene with shrink yarn for texture and dimension, that features 12 patterns in abstract/organic and contemporary patterns, mostly in a blue and grey palette with gold accents. An additional launch is Orleans, a chunky plush rug collection that has 13 different patterns offered in six standard sizes. Patterns range from florals to abstracts and organic looks, with primary colorways of blue, grey, and taupe.



The new Orleans collection by Dalyn offers a chunky plush texture in a warmed up palette.

EXQUISITE RUGS


Tocayo debuted at Exquisite Rugs' High Point showroom and buyers were attracted to its casual wool boucle design.

At Exquisite Rugs, the company specializes in including larger sizes - 12x15 and up - in their programmed sizes. And the latest rollouts are no exception. One highlight is Tocayo, made of wool boucle. “People are really liking this casual look and the good surface texture,” said Denny Muusse, western regional sales manager. Another line, Scandinavian, has a flat-weave construction of wool and bamboo silk. This collection, Muusse said, is designed to coordinate with some of the company’s other collections so that designers working on multi-room or whole-house projects can create a seamless look from room to room.

Chroma, meanwhile, is a new wool bamboo blend with a random sheared loop pile construction. It has a smudged stripe pattern reminiscent of a watercolor effect, and Muusse reported that it got a good deal of attention from showroom visitors. Murano, too, has a painterly mood, with an abstract design and silvery, gold and ivory colors and is made of wool and bamboo silk.

Muusse noted that clients were glad to be seeing products in person again. “Online and virtual is a nice filler, but it doesn’t take the place of being present.”



Exquisite Rugs' Murano collection offers abstract textural designs crafted of wool and viscose.

FEIZY RUGS


Feizy's new hand-knotted Palomar features textural designs in trending colors that designers shopping High Point were looking for.

Justin Yeck, vice president omnichannel sales, marketing, product development and design, reported that Feizy’s showroom clients were motivated and eager to get products in stock, especially since many case goods and other furnitures still have long manufacturing and shipping delays. And on their wish lists: “A lot of texture, chunkier knots, lighter pastels,” he said. “We are proud of our interpretations — Palomar, for instance, has been a home run.”

Yeck said the market puts Feizy in a good position for the rest of the year. “We are hoping for great momentum for the rest of the year. Store sales and e-commerce sales are up, we hope that keeps us flowing through the end of the fourth quarter.”

The new collections of Palomar and Karina were among the biggest attention grabbers in the Feizy showroom. Both hand-knots with affordable prices, these collections offer more traditional designs, recast in trending colors. Palomar is 100 percent wool, with a distressed pattern and a palette of blues, taupes, and sage green, a color, Leighton Lloyd, merchandising and brand manager, said is trending at the moment. Karina, a hand-knotted wool rug in Feizy’s lifestyle price echelon, is inspired by Oushak designs, updated with a palette that combines traditional colors and pops of pastels. And Elias is another best in show. It’s hand-loomed with space-dyed, high-pile viscose, with patterns that are geometric and textural.



Designers Kayla Dawn Watson, right, and Victoria Maudlin take a break while shopping Feizy's one of a kind area rug gallery.

HAROUNIAN RUGS INTERNATIONAL (HRI)


HRI grows its successful Sunbrella franchise with Sunbrella 1000, a more promotionally priced machine-made collection.

Greg Jordt, executive vice president, sales and marketing, reports that the HRI team has gotten adept at doing business without markets. “Our sales reps have become really good at developing ways of reaching existing and new customers.” At High Point, much of the traffic has been designers rather than rug stores or national accounts.

Jordt said HRI owes a lot of its success this year to its Sunbrella collaboration's performance rugs, which launched in October of last year. “Performance fibers are on trend and important, and this brand name is like Coca-Cola. Sunbrella rugs get us in the door, and that opens up to showing our other things." New at this market is the machine-made 1000 collection with abstract patterns and a promotional price point in the Sunbrella yarn, which boasts a five-year warranty on fading. Jordt said the company will continue to grow Sunbrella program in the future.

Other HRI offerings new to the market included Sparkle, a handmade rug made of five fibers, including linen, wool, viscose and lurex. For a different handmade option, Laguna features a dense construction of tweeded wool and linen. The new Birdseed has a wool ground with a pattern highlighted in lustrous viscose. Finally, Arctic Terrain banks on success HRI has had with simple striping and textures. The wool and viscose collection comes in four color ways.



HRI's new Arctic Terrain features simple striping and plenty of texture for a look that has been resonating with rug buyers.

KALATY RUGS


Kalaty introduces its high-end Torano collection, crafted of 40 percent real silk and 60 percent wool, for High Point buyers seeking luxe designs.

Joe Kalaty, principal at the eponymous New York rug company, said that opening the showroom for High Point Market was important to the company. “We had to come to the show, there have been so many markets missed [due to the pandemic]. And the customers who have come have been serious. If they’re going to get on a plane,” they’re going to do business, he said.

Among the highlights in the Kalaty showroom was Torano, a rug made of 40 percent real silk and 60 percent wool. “It’s the finest in terms of quality that we make." The rug sells for $9,000, representing the highest price in the company’s offerings.

Another market hit was Ankara, a hand-knotted rug in wool and Silkette, which features transitional designs and comes in a wide assortment of sizes, including a 12x15 rug and an 8-foot round. New patterns were also added to the Kingsley collection, Turkish machine-made rugs constructed with 2 million knots per square meter and made of polyester and Silkette with hand-finished edges. Another new pattern was added to the company’s popular Juno collection, which features high-low constructions of 100 percent Silkette, hand-knotted.



Kalaty expands its popular Kingsley collection from the K-TWO series with this bold tribal-inspired geometric.

KALEEN RUGS


Kaleen's roll out of the machine-made Arteks was popular for its abstract designs and luxe soft hand.

“We started 2020 strong, launching five machine-made collections,” explained Brian Bingham, director of marketing and PR. “They’ve done great for us, during COVID we can’t keep inventory in stock!” He said the latest area rug introductions are very e-commerce friendly, which helps explain their success.

Bora is a simple geometric flat-weave pattern in unexpected colors like mulberry and terra cotta. It features 10 patterns in multiple colorways. Arteks is also getting lots of attention from retailers and designers. Made of 100 percent polyester and boasting a fringe, it has a luxuriously soft  hand for a machine-made rug, and a painterly abstract pattern. Meanwhile, Estoria is a reinvention of Kaleen’s shag. It has a macrame braided fringe and a pattern that’s so subtle, it is nearly imperceptible unless viewed from a distance. Nora is Kaleen’s first printed rug option that’s not an indoor-outdoor construction. It has a vintage look and a short fringe. Made of 100 percent polyester, it’s only $99, making it an affordable alternative to a hand-tufted version that might have a similar look.

Kaleen executives were satisfied with their time at High Point. “Our expectations were that there would be low attendance,” said Bob Stone, Southeast regional vice president. “We met and exceeded that a little. We even had some new opportunities with designers and brick and mortar retailers.”



Kaleen's machine-made Tiziano collection features an open back, making it lightweight and easy to ship.

LOLOI RUGS


The debuting hand-knotted Helena collection is a new construction by Loloi with a nubby texture made of wool.

Lolol had new options for its entire range of customers, from lower-end prints to higher-end hand-knots. “Everyone who’s come in has ordered,” said Austin Craley, vice president of sales, of the High Point attendees, which he described as mostly smaller retailers, furniture stores, and design firms, rather than major chains. “Our customers are saying business is good and they need immediate delivery on products. They’re being more aggressive, placing larger orders.”

Highlights in the upper end included Regan and Helena. Helena is a new construction, hand-knotted to achieve a nubby texture of 100 percent wool. Made in India, the eight patterns have a relaxed, casual feel and beautiful updated colors. Rayan is hand-loomed of wool, with an abstract striped pattern that fits a natural look. At the lower end, Austen, a polyester/propylene power-loomed rug line in abstract patterns, garnered attention. Halle is a hooked range in 100 percent wool, with raised pile on a woven ground. Because of the ease of construction, it has a quick turnaround and a low price point to reflect it - only $349 for an 8x10. Zion and Drift are both printed rugs on a low polyester pile base, with Zion featuring a Turkish/Persian kilim looks, and Drift, an abstract, painterly design with a faux high-low appearance.

And finally, Lolol’s accessories offerings expanded with one-of-a-kind pillows made from vintage rug pieces, and new poufs and floor pillows.



Loloi showcased its new printed painterly Drift collection, which features a high-low look, at its High Point showroom.

-- Continue reading Part 2 here.
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