High Point – The pandemic is fading into the rearview mirror, but the home fashions industry is still trying to catch up.
Manufacturers prepared for High Point Market, which kicked off Saturday and runs through today, in an environment of excess retail inventories, recession fears and slowing housing sales and starts.
Here are what suppliers had to say going into the market.
TL at Home
The opportunity for in-person customer connection is a key draw to this High Point Market for TL at Home, moved into Broad Hall – a new showroom with its national sales management partner, Codarus.
“Buyers and vendors inevitably become comfortable in their routines. But it’s not often that you get a chance to really shake things up to get a fresh perspective. For me, that is what this High Point Market is all about,” said Shari Kline, owner and creative, TL at Home.
Located on the third floor of the new showroom space, the luxury linens company is launching two new luxury sheeting collections, Tenerife and Pandora.
“I cannot wait to experience market from this new vantage point,” she said. “I’m looking forward to seeing our customers just before the holidays and strengthening our relationships.”
Echoing that sentiment is Cameron Capel, president of sales and marketing for Capel Inc. The company has tailored its new products around the specific needs of its customers. That includes design additions to its entry price level hand-knotted collections Charise, Braymore and Verve.
“These collections have done so well. People have responded very favorably to them, so we keep adding to them,” she said. “But a lot of product is still held up in arriving, so I’m hoping buyers will place orders for delivery in late 2022 into early 2023.”
At Loloi Inc., amassing stock has been central to the company’s post-Covid strategy, said VP of sales Austin Craley.
“When you have a customer in the door, you need to be able to get them the product they want, when they want it,” he said. “Even though we realize it will be hard to duplicate the success of the past two years, we are expecting a strong High Point Market because we’ve stocked up on products. The pandemic has taught us to take advantage of available inventories and do our best to anticipate what customers will want.”
Sister brands Mohawk Home and Karastan are moving to a “dual manufacturing process” that accommodates an expanded importing operation to complement its foothold in domestic manufacturing – all in pursuit of better and more timely in-stocks. As Bart Hill, SVP, explained, about 75% of the company’s machine-made line can be produced at its U.S. facilities and in Turkey at its partner mills.
“To keep costs down, we’re creating a parallel manufacturing universe that is unique to Mohawk,” he said. “We have forged offshore partnerships to help offset the ongoing supply chain issues. We’re able to create the same products here and in Turkey. We come up with the design innovation and produce larger quantities there and support that with smaller quantities here to meet demand.”
Higher-end machine-made performance rugs are a big part of Oriental Weavers’ focus this season. Shoppers are showing more willingness to pay higher prices for better qualities, and retailers are seeking the right goods to fit the profile, said Jonathan Witt, president.
“With the price of sofas and other furniture going up, we’re finding we have more room to bring up the cost of our area rugs when appropriate,” he explained. “When it comes to performance rugs, shoppers know they are getting value. They don’t know or care about what fiber is used, they just care that the rug is stain resistant, easy care and will last them a while. And there is a sense of safety in that for us.”
Kevin O’Brien Studio
Same goes for performance fabrics, observed Kevin O’Brien. Kevin O’Brien Studio has aligned with domestic fabric house Valdese Weavers to introduce its first line of outdoor-friendly fabrics. The collection comes in five neutral patterns and colorways, and Kevin O’Brien Studio is complementing the line with decorative pillows made of the fabrics for a more comprehensive assortment. The collection will be on display at Valdese Weavers showroom, 311 North Hamilton St.
Feizy is taking a two-pronged “recession-tolerant” approach to new product.
On one side, the company is expanding its opening to mid-tier price point selection with new machine-mades from its Turkish factory, Covtex. And on the other, Feizy is bringing its most extensive offering of new knotted product and is also refreshing its Complete Custom program, said Mike Riley, president.
Custom orders are on the rise for Nourison as well. At High Point Market, the company is pointing its growing designer and decorator clientele in the direction of its extensive customization and made-to-order programs.
“We have hundreds of styles, most of them hand-woven, that are customizable – wool and wool blends and higher-end weaves,” said Giovanni Marra, director of marketing and digital strategy.
Harounian Rugs International (HRI) has consolidated its two previous showrooms on campus into a single larger location at Market Square Tower 110, said Lee Harounian, principal.
New to its product lineup are a range of handmade styles from India, Nepal and Pakistan, with an emphasis on neutral looks in soft palettes of ivory ands gray shades.
“We expect traditional design influences, especially Oushak, to be big this season at the market,” he continued. “But we’ll also have modern abstract and geometric patterns in bright colors available for our furniture store and jobber customers.”
Kalaty Rugs is showcasing a balance of new handmade and machine-made rugs to appeal to a broad customer base.
“The prospect of seeing both existing as well as new customers is exciting for us,” Kamran Kalaty, a Kalaty Rugs company spokesman. “Zoom presentations have been advantageous over the past couple of years, but there’s no substitute for seeing and feeling the beauty and superior quality of our area rugs in person. No doubt, a successful fall market will give business a healthy boost for the fourth quarter and beyond.”