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Live from Atlanta Area Rug Market

Atlanta – Today was opening day for the bi-annual International Area Rug Market at the AmericasMart. Here is some of the news coming out of the four-day event:

Karastan Rugs is adopting a new approach to its business as it looks to offer more competitive price points through new constructions and an altered executive team.

At the forefront: Karastan Rugs is to now fall under the umbrella of Mohawk Home. Previously, it was under Karastan's broadloom segment.

Longtime industry player Steve Roan joined the company in mid December as vp of Karastan Rugs. He reports to Jim Quist, vp, sales, Mohawk Home. Roan most recently operated two importing companies, one for machine-made rugs and the other focused on hand-tufted styles.

At Karastan Rugs he is charged with expanding the brand's breath of offering and distribution.

"Mohawk Home remains dedicated to its business with the larger retail chains," he explained to HTT. "And Karastan Rugs remains true to its brand name as a high-end supplier of rugs. But because the market has changed, we want to help our customers adapt, too, with more middle-ground products."

To that end, Karastan Rugs debuted its first 100% nylon rugs collection, which hits the company's new $499-and-up price bracket. "It's a first step in this direction for us," Roan said. The new Maison and Davenport collections of space-dyed nylon rugs are made on 12-frame looms at the company's Eden. N.C. facility. A 5'6"-by-8'6" is set to retail for $499.

Further supporting this effort is the reintroduction of the Mohawk Select brand, which services major furniture and floor covering retail chains. It is headed by David Moyer, director of national accounts. Moyer now reports to Roan.

Shaw Living
Shaw Living has created a high-tech interactive kiosk so retail can more completely and easily help shoppers peruse the company's more than 5,500 rug offerings.

A walk-up television screen in the center of the 25-square-foot display – which includes signage and 68 rug sample racks –  plays an introductory video featuring Kathy Ireland, who helps explain to shoppers how to use the kiosk and how to decorate their homes with Shaw's rugs.

The touch screen allows shoppers to sort rug styles by color, design theme, brand and size and also lets them save their choices for future trips to the store.

Shaw is also launching a new rug-and-broadloom coordinate program. Pieces are all woven domestically by Shaw. Styles range from traditional to transitional to contemporary.

Accent rugs are also making a comeback at Shaw with the introduction of the company's Reflections collection. The nylon rugs are motif-driven, comprising popular kitchen looks like fruit baskets and roosters as well as coffee themes, lodge looks, animals and others.

Shaw has added printed rugs to its Angela Adams designer licensed program. Made of Shaw's recyclable nylon, the brightly colored grouping includes whimsical large-scale patterns. A 5'-by-8' is set to retail for $289.

Jaipur Rugs has added Coastal Living magazine to its growing roster of licenses. For the new program, which will start shipping in March and will be officially launched this summer at retail, Jaipur has created three groupings: $399 hand-tufted rugs; $299 indoor/outdoor styles; and $229 dhurries. As the name would suggest, design themes are coastal and beachy, including a school of fish pattern in blue hues.

More licenses are in the works for Jaipur. Coming soon will be the launch of its designer program with Raymond Waites and others later in the year.

Also new from the company at market was a restructured hand-tufted rug line divvied by price bracket. The Poeme and BLue.CQ collections of New Zealand wool rugs are being expanded to further serve mid-tier retailers. A 5'-by-8' is [priced at $399.

Ananda hits a higher set at $599. Mythos and the poly-acrylic blend Fusion collections serve the lower end at $299 each.

OW/Sphinx showed its first reversible line of wool and wool-and-viscose blend rugs at market today.

Options is a 100% wool priced at $599; Options Sylk is a viscose and wool blend version, set to retail for $799.

Each rug features two designs that both employ the same palette.

There are 25 total designs and 50 patterns for the launch of the program.



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