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High Point Leaves Rug Sources Feeling Upbeat

From Rizzy Home’s Floral Collection.From Rizzy Home’s Floral Collection.
HIGH POINT, N.C. - Rug sources felt a sense of optimism based on their experience at the High Point Market last month.
     San Francisco-based rug importer Sams International made its first venture into High Point in April. Sams' David Abecassis said the company had a positive experience and will return in October.
     He said eye-catching products drew buyers into showrooms.
     "I think the general reaction we're seeing is people are looking for creativity," Abecassis said. "It's not really specific, but when they see it, they know it. They want something with a twist. To me, that's the new standard; the unique feel of each design. It's up to us to express that."
     Candace Clarke, marketing director for Jaipur Rugs, said the company couldn't have had a better week in High Point.
     "The party went well, traffic is up and business has been good all the way around," she said. "We're excited. We had people staying longer in the showroom. The categories are going deeper with us, which is a good sign."
     Mark Ferullo, Rizzy Home's vp, said buyers liked the company's customizable bedroom look.
     "The best items at market were the Dress the Bed program, where people can mix and match our bed sets, our rugs and our pillows, along with the kilim furniture," Ferullo said.
     "We have made it so retailers can offer a starting price point of $199 top-of-bed set and build on with accessories to make it all the way to $1,999," he added.
     Capel Rugs added a line of rugs by designer and blogger Coco, who was on hand for the official launch during market, and a number of other products.
     Cameron Feizy, senior vp of Feizy Rugs, said his company had a particularly busy market weekend.
     "Sunday was strong; I don't think anybody had a chance to sit down," Feizy said. "Everyone was here writing orders, so we're pleased."
     Patricia Rempen, president and ceo of Foreign Accents, said the company's Boardwalk collection fared well at market.
     "It seems that customers are looking a bit more for quality and good design these days," Rempen said. "It has been ‘price' for so long that ‘quality' and ‘construction' are a nice change. Also, the larger sizes are growing in popularity."
     Don Newton, senior vp of Orian Rugs, said traffic was slow but appointments remained steady. But even with uneven traffic, he had the impression that buyers are feeling better about business.
     "We started seeing it in January; more optimism and less complaining," he said. "If the head gets right, the body follows. If the retailers start feeling better, they start acting better."
     Ravi Tiwari, vice president of Chandra, said there's still a way to go before the market is fully recovered.
     "April's always a bit softer (in High Point)," Tiwari said. "Traffic, overall, seems to be not what it was three years ago. Appointments are still showing up."
     Some felt traffic was about on par with previous markets, but orders increased.
     "By feel, I think traffic is about the same as last market, but I think there's something in the air that is making people want to buy more," said Seth King, vp of sales for Surya, which launched rug lines by Florence de Dampierre, Kate Spain and Peter Som and a pillow line by the brand of late Australian designer Florence Broadhurst.
     Steven Loloi, principal of Loloi, said he observed cautious optimism from buyers.
     "It was a strong beginning of the year and we're still seeing recovery in the housing market," he said. "That bodes well."

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