Area rug makers extend reach of imports
By Cecile B. Corral -- Home Textiles Today, 1/28/2002 12:00:00 AM
NEW YORK —
As importing continues to occupy a more central role in the increasingly competitive area rug industry as a means of cutting production costs and stocking up on differentiated product, more suppliers are expanding their reach into untapped overseas countries.
And so, area rugs from Asia, the Middle East and Europe were on display at the Atlanta International Area Rug Show earlier this month.
Greenville, SC-based 828 International Trading Co. introduced a new test line of wool and silk tufted rugs from China — a country that this import house has never before sourced from, John Shepherd, ceo, told Home Textiles Today.
"We're asking retailers what they think of it, and if they like it we'll launch a full line for the July market in Atlanta," Shepherd said.
Titled Summit, these new Chinese-made rugs also would represent a higher-than-usual price point range — $700 to $900 — for 828, which typically imports slightly lower-priced rugs from Belgium, India, England and Turkey.
New York-based Obeetee Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Indian-based area rug manufacturer Obeetee Ltd., is for the first time in its more than 70-year history gearing up to import from countries other than India. Newly appointed ceo Bill Ward, who joined the company from ABC Carpet & Home, told HTT he will drive the company to import from Nepal, China, Pakistan, Iran among other countries.
"During my time at ABC, the majority of our business was direct, so I [have] already known those people [agents and manufacturers] in those countries for the last several years," said Ward. "There's tons of beautiful product there we want to tap. With the right development we can build a very cohesive line and make Obeetee a one-stop shop for area rugs." The product launch is set for July.
Sphinx's newest division, Oasis, will import handmade rugs from China and India — both new import sources for the company.
Smith Capel, managing director of imports for Troy, NC-based Capel Inc., told HTT his company will soon be importing rugs from Tibet for the first time. More details about the line were not available at press time.
Burlington Rug Corp., based in Monticello, AR, enjoyed its first Atlanta market as an exhibitor with a second bang — the one-year-old domestic manufacturer for the first time launched a line of handmade rugs from China and machine-made rugs from Europe, said Jan Pourquoi, executive vp and general manager.
Dalton, GA-based Mohawk Home also introduced new imported items at the Atlanta market — $299 to $499 100 percent wool handmade rugs from India, said Patrick Moyer, vp of marketing.
Brooklyn, NY-based Hellenic Rug Imports, which mainly sources from Greece, added Brazilian polypropylene rugs to its offerings to reach a value price point — $199 for a 5' x 8', said Steve Mazarakis, president.
And since last year, Feizy has added Romania and Turkey to its importing source list.
"We opened two new factories there to produce machinemades," said Ray Ehsani, vp, sales. "And we recently added new machinery to continue growing that business."
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