• Cecile Corral

Rugs Seek Accessory Status

Like decorative pillows, throws and other furnishings, area rugs are being pitched as accessory pieces consumers can switch out often and affordably

Nourison’s Silk Nourison’s Silk Shadows area rug collections work well with the company’s Mina Victory Fantasia pillow styles.
Never before has the area rug category turned at a faster rate than it does today, spurred by improvements in synthetic qualities and a surge in coordinate accessories that provide easy-to-understand, trend-right room décor options requiring minimal investment.

“The rug business has taken on a really big learning curve and has evolved faster in the last couple years, six months even,” observed David Snedeker, division merchandise manager at Nebraska Furniture Mart, which operates three units in Kansas City, Des Moines and Omaha. “As the category becomes less heirloom and more of an accessory to a room, it’s become a faster-changing item at the store level. The price points have come down so much that we are selling a lot more units than ever, but not making a lot more dollars.”

Colorado’s 13-unit chain American Furniture Warehouse (AFW) has experienced a similar shift in its rug business recently. And it is working quickly to adjust its product assortment to meet its customers’ constantly changing preferences.

For this reason thirty-year industry veteran Judy LaMontagne, who for the last 13 years been the company’s accessories buyer, said AFW no longer carries wool rugs from Turkey or China.

Jaipur's CoastalJaipur's Coastal collection offers a casual fashion décor story with this nautical knotpatterned rug, navy dec pillow, tasseled throw and cable-knit pouf.

“They are priced the same as our machinemades, which here averages between $99 and $119, but our customers weren’t buying them because the trends in furniture are more contemporary and I feel customers are preferring the clarity or color and design offered by the synthetic machine-made rugs,” she told H&TT. “We are seeing our customers more and more accepting color into their homes, but they are counting on the accessories, like the rugs and now also the dec pillows and throws and lighting and wall art, to update their homes affordably and often.”

Many rug suppliers know this, and have reacted by compensating for lost dollars from lower rug price points with sales of additional product offerings.

Surya was one of the first to expand its line when in 2007 the company added dec pillows to its assortment.

“We understood that consumers were becoming more sophisticated and were no longer satisfied with adding a single accessory or accent piece to their living spaces,” said company president Satya Tiwari. “Instead, they were looking to build coordinated looks that would give them the chance to express their unique style and design aesthetic. We started with pillows and have continued to add new categories from there.”

Over the past year alone, Surya has vastly broadened its accessories mix to include bedding, accent furniture, lighting and mirrors.

“Our objective was and still is to simplify the design process for our customers by providing a single source for home accessories,” he added.

Momeni uses rugMomeni uses rug remnants to create a unique line of home accessories, like this new pouf.

Nourison’s approach to its Mina Victory line of dec pillows “is very similar to our philosophy for our other businesses where we look for voids and create products that are unique, different and could potentially add to the overall sales of our retailers rather than replace their existing suppliers,” said Alex Peykar, president.

Jaipur’s total company sales over the past three years are growing at a rate of more than 40%, “and I do think our pillows and textiles play a nice role in that,” Asha Chaudhary, president, said.

“Rugs are the anchor of our business, but these accessory categories really add a lot more dimension and warmth and more visual interest, so when our customers are shopping our showroom it makes their job much easier,” she continued.

Momeni’s pillows, poufs and ottomans are largely made using kilim rug remnants and serve as “extensions of our rugs,” Reza Momeni, president, said.

“The response has been good, especially from our furniture stores and some flash retailer sites,” he said.

Kas Rugs entered the accessories category this year with a line of dec pillows and poufs.

At first, the family business was reluctant, said Santhi Yarlagadda, vp, business development. “While we saw our competitors go into it, we thought it was not for us. We are really good at what we do, at creating unique weaves for our rugs.”

But after recently launching its rebranding campaign, Kas moved to expand its offerings with an upscale tilt.

“We want to keep our accessories high fashion, slightly high end, and as coordinates but not direct matches to our rugs,” she explained.

Cecile CorralCecile Corral | Senior Product Editor, Home & Textiles Today

Cecile B. Corral has been a product editor with Home Textiles Today since late 2000. She covers the area and accent rug, kitchen textiles, table linens, beach towels, decorative bath and decorative pillow categories, as well as some retail subjects.

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HTT Cover October 2017

See the October 2017 issue of Home & Textiles Today. In this issue, we look at the Top 25 Online Retailers.  H&TT's exclusive annual ranking of the biggest online sellers of home textiles finds that while pure play etailers continue to fly, bricks & clicks are digging into omnichannel. See details!