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Rugs get smaller, more colorful at Area

The Atlanta International Area Rug market kicked off on Thursday. Here are some companies making news:

828 INTERNATIONAL TRADING CO.

Traditionally an area rug supplier, 828 International is adding accent rugs for the first time to its offerings.

The new line was tucked away in a corner of the company's showroom here for previews, but 828 plans to officially launch its new 2-by-3 and 3-by-5 stand-alone rugs in March during its first time as an exhibitor of the New York Home Textiles Market. 828 recently leased a showroom at 295 Fifth Ave.

"We're taking it easy and moving into it a little at a time," said John Shepherd, president. "The New York market attracts some of the larger accounts, and we are working to eventually be in those stores, too."

828's current smaller-size offerings, which were added to the company's line about four months ago, make up about 200 samples of accent, bath, kitchen and indoor/outdoor rugs.

"We're just sampling some looks now to see how they are received by our customers," Shepherd added.

These rugs are imported from China and India and include several types of constructions, including tufted and hand-hooked cotton and wool varieties.

Targeting specialty and off-price chains and mass merchants, the accent rugs are set to retail for $29.99 to $49.99.

MOHAWK HOME

Mohawk Home launched its designer license, The Raymond Waites Collection, with almost 80 rugs — 29 styles of olefin wovens with fringe, 40 printed rugs and 10 scatter sizes.

For the line, the company created a separate creel to best translate Waites' signature looks, including deep colorways, large florals, animal prints and opulent accents.

COURISTAN

From broadloom to area rugs and now to the patio and poolside, Couristan has created a new line of polypropylene indoor/outdoor rugs made to look like faux sisal.

Titled the Recife Collection, the collection is available in eight designs, six of which feature light and dark natural hues and two that feature blues and green as accent hues.

Most of the rugs are rectangular, but the collection also includes a 9-foot round size. A 5-by-8 is set to retail for $99, representing the company's lowest price-point collection.

HELLENIC RUG IMPORTS

About six months since it last grew its showroom here, Hellenic Rug Imports this week expanded its space to about 5,500 square feet at the AmericasMart.

Hellenic originally occupied a 1,000-square-foot space on the 6th floor. Then last year, the company moved into the 4,500-square-foot showroom next door.

For this market, its original space became available again and Hellenic added it on to its showroom.

SPHINX BY ORIENTAL WEAVERS

Sphinx by Oriental Weavers is launching its Andy Warhol area rug collection, consisting of six handmade area rugs and 22 machine-made varieties.

The machine-made portion offers a hand-carved style and a cross-woven variety in 36 colors. The collection is broken down into four design groups — factory, pop abstracts, simply Andy, and signature. All of the groups are made at the company's headquarters in Egypt.

The launch marks Sphinx's first license program.

Retail price points for the handmade rugs are $599 for 5-by-8, and $299 for machine-made 5-by-8. Sizes go from an 8' runner through 10-by-13, excluding accent sizes.

The collection complements Sphinx's existing line and is not a departure. The company is targeting department stores and furniture chains. For the line, Sphinx is creating special labels that explain the history behind the different rug designs and provide information about Andy Warhol.

ORIENTAL WEAVERS

Oriental Weavers is launching a licensed program of its Woolrich collection.

The collection is made up of 30 designs and the rugs are made of heat-set polypropylene. Sizes range from 2-by-4 through 9-by-12, as well as an 8' round. The collection employs three standard yarn systems and one exclusive yarn color, tomato red from Woolrich. Price points are from $99-$249 for 6-by-9.

TRADE AM

This multiple category textile supplier came to market with a new face.

Trade Am introduced 1,200 new products this market across all of its categories — area rugs, accent rugs, bath rugs, top-of-bed goods, decorative pillows, throws and table linens — and reconfigured its assortments into lifestyle programs. These introductions include new weaves, constructions and designs for this market.

"Before, we categorized everything by price or construction or country (of origin)," said Cecil Adams, vice president, creative director. "But we've reinvented ourselves. Now we are totally merchandising by lifestyle and just showing our products in styles. The consumer responds to color and style first."

KARASTAN

In March, Karastan will launch a new celebrity-based print advertising campaign that will run in more than a dozen shelter magazines through the end of 2004.

One ad features actress Andie MacDowell — dressed in denim pants, a long-sleeve black top and black leather boots — sitting on Karastan's Espalier design from the company's 700 Series, which comprises 100 percent New Zealand wool area rugs.

Espalier was one of two new designs introduced in October during the market at High Point.

BALTA US INC.

The U.S.-based division of Balta recently appointed Mark Ford to the newly created position of director, product development.

He reports to Patrick Moyer, president.

Ford most recently worked as director of design for Brumlow Home, where he spent the past six years of his career. Prior to that he was with Mohawk Home as a designer for mats and other textiles.

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