• Cecile Corral

Lacey Mills extends rug collection

CARTERSVILLE, GA — For the first time in Lacey Mills' 63-year history as a manufacturer of strictly bath rugs, the company introduced three new collections of synthetic accent and juvenile rugs at the New York Home Textiles show at the company's showroom at 295 Fifth Ave.

"From talking with the various buyers, we learned that most were limited in terms of shelf space in bath but many had space in their accent rug areas," said Tom Etheridge, new owner of Lacey Mills as of Jan. 1. "Going forward what we've found is that more and more retailers are going direct overseas and sourcing their own goods, as are many manufacturers. We feel that at some point you'll have retailers and manufacturers pulling from the same product. In the accent rug category it's only going to get worse and worse. But by creating our own designs and patterns, the sky's the limit."

When Etheridge bought Lacey, he made a "substantial investment" — $1.5 million worth — in new equipment and machinery that produces the new accent, juvenile and some bath rugs.

Lacey's first entrance into the accent rug category was one year ago when Lacey partnered with kitchen textile manufacturer John Ritzenthaler Co. to coordinate a 100 percent cotton kitchen accent rug with Ritzenthaler's kitchen towels.

"We did do some accent before but it was limited because it was all cotton, which is usually associated with the bath," said Karen Townsend, design director. "By expanding into synthetics, we've really broadened our horizons. The olefin, which is naturally stain and soil resistant, makes a perfect product for new accent lines for us."

Most of the accent and juvenile rugs are synthetic —made of olefin and/or nylon, and are being produced domestically at Lacey's factory here, which has recently been equipped with new machinery to produce the accent rugs. Others — seagrass, denim, leather and jute accent rugs — are imported from India. And some of the juvenile rugs are hand-crafted in novelty shapes rugs and are imported from China.

Lacey's new accent and juvenile rug collections come in four sizes: 21" x 34", 24" x 40", 30" x 50" and 4' x 6'.

There are three collections of accent rugs, all varying in construction and price, starting at the 21" x 34" size:

  • Modern Classics, an olefin-made grouping of rugs in solid colors with geometric contemporary designs, is priced at $12.99;

  • Footlights, made of 100 percent nylon, comes as a solid-color textured look with one level of cut pile and two levels of loop pile available in 24 colors, costs $15.99;

  • To the Manor Born, a group of space-dyed nylon with a tea-wash antique look, is available in seven colors and is priced at $15.99.

The new juvenile line comes in two collections:

  • Simple Pleasures targets the baby and juvenile market and includes novelty shaped, machine-washable rugs from China priced at $15.99 for a 2' x 3' rug as well as some domestic-made product that is solid or two-color nylon, priced at $15.99 for a 21" x 34";

  • Tweeners, a 100 percent nylon collection of bright solid-color textured patterns with designs like stars, flowers, dragonflies, 21" x 34" costs $15.99.

"We've had a great response already with the new lines," said John Hale, vp, sales and marketing. "This market we got commitments from four or five new mid- and upper-scale retailers."

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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