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Sphinx previews handmade rug line

The Sphinx division of Oriental Weavers Group, based here, gave buyers a sneak peek at its Oasis rugs — the newly launched handmade division of Sphinx — at the High Point market last month.

The launch was originally scheduled for introduction in 2002 at the Atlanta International Area Rug market, said Linda Harlow, Oasis managing director.

Harlow said she worked with the company's designers and weavers to launch 40 designs, and that the product was ready earlier than expected.

"We had a fabulous response to designs in the Oasis collections," Harlow said. "The real challenge was to introduce a handmade product that was in line with the expectations of the buyers who know the quality and design leadership of Sphinx."

There are eight collections that debuted in the Oasis line, ranging from the casual Jazz and Fiesta collections to the more formal Masterpiece collection.

Other collections include Complements, Details, Environments, Roaring 20s and Simplicity.

All of the rugs shown at High Point are hand-tufted. Additional styles and knotted rugs will be introduced in January at the Atlanta market.

The rugs in the Oasis collections will be available in four sizes, from 2'6" x 10' through 8' x 11'. The average retail price for a 5'6" x 8'6" handmade rug is $599.

Helping further establish the line, Oriental Weavers has opened Oasis offices in India and China to oversee operations.

"Having been a rug buyer for 25 years, I understand how critical it is to have consistency in a handmade product, and just how mandatory it is to meet delivery schedules," said Harlow, formerly a rug buyer for Macy's West. "One of the reasons I was selected to spearhead the new Oasis division is my understanding of what today's rug buyers want and need. My goal is to develop product that is both fashion-forward yet salable."

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