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Business, Show News & Business

Rug Execs Heading to Las Vegas Winter Market Set Expectations High

Area Rug executives expect the momentum of Q4 2023 sales to continue as the prepare for Vegas Market launching trending constructions, such as high-end hand-knotted and high-quality machine-mades, for shoppers.

Lisa Vincenti
Feizy's abstract Gia area rug in living room scene
Feizy's successful abstract Gia collection of hand-knotted wool and viscose, sees a winter line extension. Shown, 87069

LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas in winter has become a trifecta of important events for area rug and broadloom makers with three major shows kicking off the New Year. The buying events kick off with Surfaces, part of The International Surface Event, and COVER Connect, a high-end boutique rug trade show located within Surfaces, followed by World Market Center's bi-annual home furnishings winter edition, kicking off Jan. 28.

Rug showrooms at the winter edition of Las Vegas Market also continue to add fresh area rugs in the categories that fared best for them in 2023, including several which found success with high-end hand-knotted stocked assortments, growing offerings of customization options, including broadloom, and others who continue to grow their fashion-driven higher-quality machine-mades for buyers shopping that segment.

It will be interesting to discover whether World Market Center rug showrooms will see a pickup in business attributable to buyers who were in town at the 2024 TISE event, Jan. 23-26. Last year's Las Vegas Market and Surfaces, which included the inaugural COVER Connect Las Vegas edition, overlapped with shuttles busing market attendees between World Market Center and the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, and Las Vegas Market exhibitors reported that they benefited from the cross-traffic between the two distinct events.

While this year's events do not overlap, they are close enough together that some World Market Center exhibitors also anticipate a pickup in traffic as hard flooring buyers seek to round out there assortments with the latest area rugs, broadloom and cut and sew programs. What's more, traditional area rug makers and importers continue to not only grow their lineup of innovative area rugs across price points, but many have also expanded their reach with quick-turnaround custom rug options, debut broadloom programs and amped up cut and sew options in the past two years.

Nourison, for example, which used to participate in Surfaces, now sees those attendees in its World Market Center showroom C112. To accommodate Surfaces attendees, the Nourison showroom has been hosting buyers beginning on Jan. 23, as the company's custom area rug and broadloom program's were among the company's top-selling categories in 2023 and received several new additions for winter 2024.

“We have put a strong emphasis on the hand-loomed, hand-crafted segment of our broadloom business in 2024. This category has helped fuel our growth over the past several years and continues to be the engine that drives our rapidly expanding custom rug business” said Gerard O’Keefe, president broadloom and business development of Nourison Home. “Nourison Home’s custom capabilities are second to none, and the care and craftsmanship that goes into our custom fabrication process is unparalleled.”

In addition, Nourison’s custom rug program, Reserve Custom Studio, a rug program now featuring some 300 high-end hand-knotted designs, also was a strong seller in 2023, and for winter market Reserves adds the new hand-knotted Whispers collection of classic Persian motifs in soft neutrals. The company's latest hand-tufted Prismatic design and its 2024 Calvin Klein introductions are also anticipated to be a popular choice.

Says  Andrew Peykar, president Nourison Home, “crafting custom sized rugs is a core part of our business. We have continued to innovate as this category has grown, offering on-trend styles, superior hand craftsmanship and production speeds that few in this industry can match.”

For winter, Nourison expands its high-end custom Reserve series with the new Whispers collection. Shown, WHP03
Feizy, also located in the Lobby of Building C, has found success at not only the high-end, with one of last year's surprise best-selling hits hailing from its luxurious new hand-knotted Killian collection last year, but also via its high-quality machine-made offering. The company expects 2024 to kick off with the same momentum, "We’re expecting to meet with almost all key accounts nationally and have had tremendous response from the West Coast design segment," Mike Riley, president, told RugNews.com. "We are expecting full participation. We’ve actually had salespeople that were originally planning not to come change plans based on their customers." Among the exciting debuts is the new Gia collection, featuring a Nepalese knot technique, crafted of a blend of Gazni and New Zealand wool, for a velvety hand and sheen with subtle distressed accents. The more attainable counterpoint, Melrose, is crafted in Turkey with distressed, floral and Oushak motifs in a palette including blue, green, taupe, ivory and red.

Feizy expands its popular Gia collection of hand-knotted rugs with new abstract designs in trending colorations. Shown, 87069

Handmade area rug showroom Harounian Rugs International (HRI) continues to find success not only with its higher quality hand-knotted area rugs but also with its new more affordable hand knots, notably Lola, which offers pastel-hued Oushak motifs crafted from different count yarns for a nubby textured styling. Last year, the company committed to introducing more fashion-forward handmade products for markets and continues to increase its inventories and improve its custom size lead times. "We are already seeing an increase in new customers," said Greg Jordt, EVP. "We are confident that our aggressive investment in inventory and innovative new products will continue to drive our business into the first quarter of 2024.”

Jordt added, "Appointments and pre-market buzz seems to indicate that this market will be much better attended than this past summer's. We are seeing fewer and fewer Eastern accounts attending the Vegas market. The trend of attending one market a year continues. We are focused on expanding our new best-selling hand-knotted collections with additional fresh colorations and designs as well as introducing several all-new transitional collections of 100 percent wool.

HRI introduces its hand-knotted Tuscany lineup, crafted of wool and silk and offering abstract styles at winter market.

On the flip side, machine-made specialist, Dynamic Rugs' Matthew Rouhanian anticipates Las Vegas Market attendance and order writing to be on par with January 2023. "We have appointments with all chains that usually come to market and are hoping to have a positive market and first quarter, given that interest rates continue to drop," he said, adding that the company continues to focus its new releases on trend-driven designs and constructions in fashion-driven palettes. "More people are reacting to better quality, and updated classical looks remain a popular choice." For winter marketgoers, Dynamic Rugs is rolling out two collections that offer transitional motifs in soft palettes, and also introducing a step-up product:  the handmade Bombay collection, crafted of wool, and offering textural understated patterns.

Dynamic Rugs debuts the handmade Bombay collection of textural motifs crafted of wool. 

"We anticipate 2024 being a landmark year," said Cyrus Loloi, principal and chief merchandise officer, Loloi. "We’ll be celebrating our 20th anniversary, and in January will be introducing new collections that we feel confident are some of our best yet." The company will roll out its new handcrafted Heritage collection celebrating its anniversary at Las Vegas and plans to launch a new collaboration partner later in the year.”

The company anticipates 2024 markets to be "well attended and traffic to be strong," Loloi noted, adding, "We have special programming planned to celebrate our 20th anniversary at Las Vegas Winter Market and beyond."

Loloi will continue to prioritize "incredible designs and the best quality in both handmade and machine-made collections at the good/better/best price points – truly offering something for every customer," he said.

"Traffic in showrooms and markets was strong [last year] thanks to new introductions, enticing collaborations and exciting events resulted in orders and customer acquisition growth that’s on pace with our targets,” Loloi continued. “In 2023, while we saw continued growth in both our handmade assortments and machine-made products, the higher priced hand-knotted collections saw our largest growth overall."

Loloi introduces Vegas shoppers to its Moore collection from its Carrier. & Co. licensed program. Shown, MOE-02

Handmade rug maker Southwest Looms also has bullish expectations heading to Las Vegas, following a "fantastic" 2023. For winter market it will cut the ribbon on its first permanent showroom (Building C, C460) and kick off a rebranding of SW Looms in 2024, improving the account portal on its website, rolling out a new inventory management system and updated website, and launching fresh product.

"We expect to see growth in our account base and sales in 2024," said Cynthia McLaren, vice president, operations. She cited the introduction of its new flatweave rug line under its license with Pendleton Woolen Mills called Pendleton Tierra for a big boost in sales.

For winter shoppers, the new permanent showroom will allow the company to display more product and it will focus on its specialty boutique collections that include: Southwest Looms (Pendleton Reserve, Pendleton Classic, Pendleton Tierra, Santa Fe, Dreamcatcher and Naturals), Arts & Crafts (British Arts & Crafts, Celtic Revival and American Prairie Style genres and Classic Revival (Persian, Turkish and Caucasian design made in Afghanistan)

"The year 2024 is going to be a year of tremendous change and growth for Southwest Looms," McLaren concluded.

Rock Art from the Pendleton Reserve collection was an instant success with orders coming in from around the world. 
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