New owners bring fresh energy to Foreign Accents
Thomas Lester -- Home Textiles Today, April 25, 2014
Doug (left), Molly and Kris Anderson showed at the just-completed High Point Market for the first time. The Andersons bought Foreign Accents Rugs from Patricia Rempen in 2013.
HIGH POINT — New Foreign Accents owners Doug, Kris and Molly Anderson got their first taste of the rug industry in October, a couple of months before purchasing the rug company.
“We were here (at market) before the acquisition in October to get a sense of the whole thing. It was worthwhile to see our competitors and what rugs were in the market,” Doug Anderson said.
Armed with a slew of new rug styles and the energy that comes with a fresh challenge, the Andersons bought the company in December from Patricia Rempen, who piloted Foreign Accents for three decades.
Doug Anderson had been in the business acquisition business before and Kris, his son, was a head trader for an options firm in Chicago. Rempen was looking to exit the industry, which caught Doug’s attention on a trip to New Mexico, where Foreign Accents is headquartered.
“At first it didn’t seem like a good fit; they (Kris and his wife Molly) were in Chicago and the company is in New Mexico but a lot of what it does well matches up with a lot of our past experiences and strengths,” Doug said.
Rug design fit particularly well with Molly’s background. Prior to this venture, she had been in artistic production for NBC and had also worked for Neiman Marcus and Anthropologie. Now, she coordinates the designs and works with Foreign Accents’ artists.
The company introduced some 80 rug designs during the April market in four collections, including new interpretations of Foreign Accents’ classic rugs.
Doug said the family has hit the ground running, and the energy has been infectious.
“The excitement level is really high, not only for the acquiring partners and our family but the employees,” he said. “It’s been a shot of adrenaline.”
With his business background, Doug said one of the first tasks a new owner has is to figure out where a company can best leverage its strongest assets. With Foreign Accents, he said it’s simply a matter of building on strengths.
“I think it’s always a challenge in any business – I’ve operated other businesses – to distinguish yourself or find out what the business does that’s different from its competitors and then focus on the strengths,” he said. “It’s a natural here because the company has been, over time, a leader in design and color. In a way you don’t have to figure out what the company’s strengths are. Everybody already knows that. It’s really focusing on those strengths and trying to reinforce its position as a leader in the contemporary and modern rug segment of the market.”
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