Rug veteran Phillips gets new start with Delos
By Cecile B. Corral -- Home Textiles Today, 4/8/2002 12:00:00 AM
It's been about three months since area rug industry veteran Ivan Phillips was presented an opportunity to open up his own business as an area rug supplier. And without flinching, he and his wife and business partner, Celeste, have taken on the challenge head on.
The new company is called Delos Inc., a name the couple came up with that was inspired by the Greek island by the same name that for centuries was a hub of commerce in the Mediterranean.
"We don't do any business with Greek rugs, we just thought the name was appropriate for us because of what it represents," Phillips, president and ceo, told Home Textiles Today.
Phillips had been working for almost three years for Greenville, SC-based International Trading Co. as executive vp, sales and marketing, and his wife as a rug buyer for the rug decor division of Atlanta-based Carpet One when they suddenly were given a chance to start their own company.
"We didn't plan it or have it as a long-time goal. It just happened all of a sudden and we went with it," Phillips said. "It's a very viable opportunity, and it fits into a niche we enjoy."
That opportunity was to buy the distribution rights for the North American market — United States and Canada — from the 104-year-old Netherlands-based area rug company BNC. By late February 2002, the couple had left their respective jobs to start their joint venture.
"We've become an importer of area rugs and BNC is a supplier to us," Phillips explained.
The current product roster consists of 100 percent wool rugs featuring strictly modern and transitional designs in three different constructions: hand-knotted from Nepal, hand-tufted from India and China, and Axminster power-loomed from The Netherlands.
Celeste, Delos' executive vp, works on creating many of the designs for the rugs, Phillips. "[It] is a side of the business she really enjoys. My strength is my large list of supplier and sales contacts. We're a great team together."
Earlier this month, Delos landed a 1,200-square-foot showroom space — suite 3E1 — at the AmericasMart to become a permanent exhibitor at the Atlanta International Area Rug Show. The company's first participation is planned for the upcoming event in July.
"It's a small space, but it's perfect for us for now. And it's in a great floor with a great neighbor in Nourison," he said. "We're very excited."
While Delos' current line is composed entirely of BNC-supplied rugs, Phillips said that in time for the rug show his company will have added a second supplier of additional 100 percent wool hand-tufted transitional and fusion-design rugs to its offerings.
"We plan on having 160 rugs on display at our showroom in July," Phillips said.
Delos' offerings target mainly independent specialty stores and have price tags at retail that range from a 5' x 8' for $399 for the India hand-tufted to $1,800 for a Nepalese hand-knotted rug.
The company also noted it carries four sizes of area rugs — 2' x 4', 4' x 6', 5' x 8' and 8' x 11'.
While his new business is still in its infancy, Phillips is already enjoying some of the finer perks.
"We get to save money travel costs because we can stay in the same hotel room," Phillips said. "I mean, that's the whole focus. But seriously, we both literally love the rug business, and it's all a beautiful thing to work at this together."
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