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828 goes to China; next up — mink

After passing the test at the Atlanta International Area Rug Show in January, area rug importer 828 International Trading Co. has officially given the green light to its new wool-and-silk tufted rug line from China.

For the company, the new line represents two milestones.

First, the collection, titled Summit, represents 828 International's initial foray into China. Typically, the company has imported hand-made rugs from India, high-end wool machine-made rugs from Turkey, spool Axminster rugs from the United Kingdom and high-density polypropylene 1.0 million- to 2.5 million-point rugs from Belgium. But 828 International has added China to its roster of overseas suppliers over the past six months, Jim Clardy, president and founder, told Home Textiles Today.

"We are definitely going to pursue the wool-and-silk category — it was received very well in January," Clardy said. "We were already doing it with our larger customers with large containers that we shipped directly to them. But now we're happy to say we'll be opening it up to our general customers."

828 International's general customer base includes mainly independent specialty furniture, area rug and home goods stores nationwide.

Summit's addition to the company's offerings also represent a slightly higher-than-usual price point range — $599 for a 5' x 8' — than 828's typical rug, which retails for "about $100 less than that," Clardy explained.

He noted that, aside from adding the wool-and-silk Summit collection to its growing roster of goods, 828 is also expanding is breadth into new constructions, new colorways and new stylings of area rugs.

"Our industry has changed dramatically over the past few years, with many new technologies and new constructions, and we plan to be part of that change," Clardy said.

Stay tuned in July at the next Atlanta Rug Show, Clardy said, when 828 plans on launching several new collections of innovative rugs, including a line of Chinese-made mink rugs "that feel great on the toes," Clardy said.

"We want to be the ones setting the trends in home textiles," Clardy said. "We don't want to be following behind bed sheets. We want to be the leaders."

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