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High Point, Previews

Rug Executives' Revamped High Point Market Strategies Pay Off

Area rug executives’ bullish outlook about High Point Market meets expectations as fine-tuned market strategies take advantage of major rug buying trends and continued demand for the category.

Carol Tisch, Lisa Vincenti
4/3/2022
portraits of eight area rug executives
Area rug executives, top row, from left: Reza Momeni, Momeni; Justing Yeck, Feizy; Austin Craley, Loloi; and
Monty Rathi, Kaleen. Bottom row, from left: Greg Jordt, HRI; Erika Kurtz, New Moon; Josh Nazmiyal, Rug & Kilim;
and Satya Tiwari, Surya.

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Area rug executives are feeling bullish about High Point Market after tweaking market strategies to take advantage of major rug buying trends and continued demand for the category.

Among the major strategic moves that market shoppers will take advantage of are the introduction of several custom rug programs, some geared toward retailers, others toward designers; revamped showroom layouts designed to improve merchandising and flow; amped up one of kind selections; and of course, dozens of novel area rug designs, weaves, and constructions.

RugNews.com surveys rug executives at many of the industry's top powerhouses to discover the latest rug category developments, showroom strategies, and more. (Make sure not to miss RugNews.com's Ultimate Rug Buyers' Guide to Spring Market to discover scores of featured introductions.

FEIZY

Feizy is amping up its High Point rug presentation by not only rolling out 60 new designs across eight brand-new area rug collections, plus line extensions to several collections including the licensed Thom Filicia program, but also introducing a new designer-focused custom fine rug program called Revolution by Feizy. “This new program continues to show our commitment to the design community, offering pieces that will spark excitement and conversation in any space,” Cameron Feizy, managing principal, said.

What's more, the Dallas-based company announced it will open a second showroom in the fall at 309 N. Hamilton St., occupying the first two floors, while maintaining its Market Square space as well.

"Market will be outstanding," said Justin Yeck, vice president, omnichannel sales, marketing, product development & design. "Feedback from local partners has been strong stating that accommodations in the HP area are completely booked. That’s always a sign of great traffic and an exciting prospect."

"We’ve ensured our teams are ready to sell and the product that clients want is here."

Feizy enters the spring selling season with strong winter performance under its belt. "We exceeded our January sales, posting the best results in the last four years. All channels are strong for us and because of the breadth of our product we see strong results in all categories. In particular, our new introductions continue to buck trends because of our new go-to-market strategy of being in-stock or on the water when we introduce new product."

However, the company does expect the strong demand to ease up slightly as the COVID situation continues to improve and consumers shifting their disposable income to other categories such as trade. "We are hedging our sales for the first six months -- as we exit the pandemic, we expect that disposable income will shift to vacations for clients and the focus on their homes will begin to wane. We will see some smaller design projects driving sales through the back half of the year and with the burst of new housing builds, we will continue to be bolstered by that. However, I want to protect our margin in Q1 & Q2 to allow it to carry us through the back half of the year."

HAROUNIAN RUGS INTERNATIONAL (HRI)

HRI relocated to its largest IHFC showroom at High Point Market last fall and the investment in the expansive Design wing space (D-431) allows the company to easily display its major introductions this spring. HRI's Greg Jordt, vice president of sales, reports that the newest products, which include fresh Oushak-inspired designs, contemporary abstract styles hand-knotted of wool with viscose high-lights (from the new Glaze and Embrace collections), plush hand-loomed simple geometric styles, and new indoor-outdoor area rugs, were right on point with what clients have been asking for.

"First quarter 2022 sales have been very strong, and contemporary and transitional looks continue to be the driving trends at High Point Market," Jordt said, noting that the latest High Point area rug debuts will certainly keep that positive momentum going. “We’ve had strong, steady appointments this market, and were surprisingly busy on Friday before market opened. We are definitely approaching pre-pandemic levels this spring.”

The company's expansion of its successful Sunbrella area rugs to include custom broadloom has resonated with market shoppers. "We are very excited to be introducing an all new 'cut to order' Sunbrella broadloom program this market," he said.


KALEEN RUGS & BROADLOOM

Like Feizy, Kaleen also announced some news and will cut the ribbon on an expanded and revamped Showplace space on Sunday at spring market. 

Kaleen is focusing on the custom market by introducing High Point retailers to a new simplified, custom broadloom area rug program, which receives a dedicated space in the new showroom. 

"Based on Friday’s traffic I expect this High Point Market to be close to 2019 numbers," said Monty Rathi, COO. "Winter market was fantastic, though traffic was light. However, we saw quality and major customers who were seriously writing business, and that’s happening again."

The focus at High Point is the company's Luxe brand, a line of high-end hand-knots for brick-and-mortar retailers exclusively. In addition, indoor/outdoor area rugs remain a "huge" category for Kaleen, which showcases new rugs in the category from its recently introduced collaboration with Bargain Mansions' host Tamara Day, and also expand some of its top-selling in-out collections.

"We had a huge first quarter and we expect double-digit growth across channels and divisions for the first six months of 2022."

LOLOI

Loloi’s busy showroom reflects the very strong High Point Market the company expected: The strongest since pre-COVID," said Austin Craley, vice president of sales. "Lots of customers are coming back that we haven't seen since COVID began."

Loloi has plenty of freshness to offer High Point Market-goers, including 17 new area rug collections, plus line extensions on popular series. "High Point Market has always been a great show for Loloi, and part of the reason is the variety we offer our dealers. We have become known for one-of-a-kind rugs, pillows and wall art at the show, in addition to expanding our licensed brands. We are also growing our offerings from high-end hand-knotted rugs through lower-end value-priced assortments and everything in-between."

The company has also tweaked its showroom layout for spring market. "We have recently expanded our High Point showroom, and have now created new entrances to add to the excitement," Craley said. "Our one-of-a-kind rug and pillow assortments have both been relocated and expanded for this market, which only adds to the excitement of those categories that always do well in High Point."

Loloi's winter 2022 results continued the positive momentum the company witnessed in 2021. "We have seen strength from our high-end knotted collections through our lower-end products, as well as our brands. All channels have seen growth for Loloi, and we are anticipating this to continue for the foreseeable future."

LR HOME

LR Home, which in the fall expanded its High Point Showplace footprint with a second showroom to display its growing assortment of furniture and soft textiles, also expects the strong results of 2021 to carry result in a strong 2022. "While LR Home continues to outperform sales expectations in 2022 for area rugs, it is our other new categories such as pillows, home textiles and furniture that have shown astronomical growth thus far in 2022," said Krishna Laddha, chairman and founder of LR Home.

And the big news for spring is the debut of LR Home's first licensed pillow collection with New York designer Stacy Garcia. Still area rug buyers can expect plenty of newness in the category at High Point, in addition to seeing new additions featuring complex designs and constructions, to its best-selling Natural Fiber rugs. "We are expanding our rug assortment by an additional 56 new designs, emphasizing fresh design styles and fashion." 

Many of its latest area rug introductions feature a “wow” factor that the company's retailers and buyers have come to expect.

"LR Home’s retail partners have overwhelmingly asked for greater diversity and expansion into other home fashion categories," Laddha noted. "Because of these partner-driven requests we have broadened our product assortment to include a greater presence in pillows, poufs, throws, and furniture, all the while not taking our creative eye off rugs."

The company is introducing 300 new designs in its pillows, poufs, throws, and furniture lineup with many of those part of the Stacy Garcia Pillows lineup. And the designer will be in the LR Home showroom Monday afternoon to meet and greet buyers.

MOMENI

Momeni, is adapting a multi-tiered strategy, focusing area rug debuts on machine-made qualities, expanding higher-end collections and expanding its one-of-a-kind assortment even more than last High Point Market. With high expectations for spring market, Reza Momeni, founder said, "We’ve had more appointments for spring market than we did for fall market -- and fall was a very successful market for us."


The company is expanding Momeni Basics with new collections, including the hand-tufted textural Bebe, as well as additional colorways to its best-selling Charles and James lines. In addition, "we are expanding our performance rugs and moving towards higher-end qualities, like a 100 percent hand-loomed construction."

In addition, the company, which expanded its High Point showroom last fall to incorporate a one of a kind gallery, experienced such strong sales in the OAK category that it added a second (H621) showroom to accommodate a nearly doubled assortment of OAKs and two days into market already reports success of that move.


NEW MOON

New Moon, a maker of fine Tibetan rugs, reports that the momentum from 2021 has continued at spring High Point Market. "As a boutique company, we use High Point as a time to show potential and existing clients the breadth of our work," said Erika Kurtz. "We’ve brought our newest colorways and designs, along with a strong selection of our best sellers."

The Delaware-based company does a lot of custom work. "We are firmly planted in the luxury market, so each project has very specific needs and our clients trust that we will be with them each step of the way to ensure an amazing end result. The overarching requests always focus on quality and livability, an understanding of the provenance of our rugs and ethical standards, and reliable timelines."

On show at New Moon's ground level space at Suites at Market Square, will be fresh colorways for existing designs, as well as the latest introductions to its Secret Garden collection, which debuted with the Flora rug last year.

NOURISON

Nourison for spring High Point Market is offering customers several new rug shopping features including its just-debuted Nourison Reserve custom rug program, which includes 300 hand-knotted styles for buyers seeking high-end bespoke options. In fact, for market-goers, Nourison had a custom rug designer on hand to not only walk buyers through the program but also create custom rugs on the spot. For buyers looking for stocked options, Nourison rolled out several handmade designs, growing its successful hand-tufted Prismatic collection, and also adding fresh looks to its popular, long-running Silk Shadows range of hand-knotted rugs.

In addition, a special meet and greet with HGTV Rehab Addict star Nicole Curtis drew in buyers for a chance to meet with the star on April 2. Finally, Nourison dramatically increased its contemporary and transitional one-of-a-kind area with a spacious showroom, accessible via a Nourison sales agent.

"Winter 2022 has been positive for us, as customers who come to our showroom were there to place orders, and for those who didn’t attend we are still able to connect with them virtually," said Giovanni Marra, director of marketing & digital strategy, said.

"E-commerce continues to be a main driver of our sales, as well as our high-quality rugs, including hand-knotted and custom rugs. We expect a double digit increase for the first 6 months. Our clients have been looking for rugs that are ready to ship and in inventory, as well as the need for custom and hand-knotted rugs for larger projects," all of which Nourison is delivering at High Point Market."

RUG & KILIM

New York area rug showroom Rug & Kilim, which debuted at High Point Market last fall, returns to spring market with two spaces: Suites at Market Square, G-7055, and IHFC, G373.

“We’re expecting a very great show and we’ve expanded our booth space at Suites at Market Square, which is where most of our transactional business happens, to take advantage of that," said Josh Nazmiyal, founder "And we’re bringing a lot more inventory.”

Rug & Kilim has brought in plenty of new merchandise to its top-selling collections, including Moroccan, French Deco and its flagship Scandinavian collections. In addition, the company's design-driven Homage collection, another staunch customer favorite, is being featured in its booth.

“Year over year, the winter show continues to be a good engine for us throughout the year," Nazmiyal added. That momentum continues into spring markets. "It's certainly keeping us busy, especially on our new clients’ side and our existing clients. Scandinavian and Homage continue to be our flagship. Our customers come to us for our fashion-forward designs."


SURYA

With the debut of its inaugural upholstered furniture collection, Surya unveiled a complete visual merchandising revamp of its High Point Market Showplace showroom. That includes a new approach to how it merchandises and displays area rugs for spring shoppers. The new space features a more curated assortment of area rugs, plenty of one of a kind rugs, plus the introduction of 40 new rug collections and 700+ new designs for marketgoers.

"We’ve really stepped up our game when it comes to our product, and we wanted our visual presentation to reflect that," Satya Tiwari, owner, said. "We completely revamped our showroom, and the goal is to show how far we’ve come as a rug and accessories brand in 2022."

Among the market highlights for spring buyers are Hamadan, a traditional hand-knotted rug collections featuring rich, faded colors. Hickory, hand-loomed by artisans, is not only an easy-care indoor-outdoor range, it is also made of 100 percent recycled PET yarn. And also catering to the popularity of natural fiber rugs is Regal, a modern natural fiber rug, hand woven in India from a mix of jute and polyester.

"For rugs, we have always delivered a mix of constructions and qualities for shoppers at market but this year our showroom really showcases our luxury handmade rugs. Additionally, shoppers will love our completely revamped one-of-a-kind rug selection and new designs from our top-selling high-end machine-woven collections. We continue to build a strong fashion-forward assortment in the performance and natural fiber categories."

The Cartersville, Georgia-based company reported that winter 2022 has continued the trend of steady growth for Surya across all its channels, including high design and value product segments. "With a wide assortment of styles and constructions, sales are driven by our ability to fill gaps in the market with innovative constructions, sustainable materials, and performance qualities," Tiwari explains.
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