Rug Maker Merida Meridian Keeps it Natural
By Cecile B. Corral -- Home Textiles Today, 7/30/2007 12:00:00 AM
When natural fiber rug manufacturer Merida Meridian was recently offered an opportunity to get into the woven vinyl floor covering category, the 30-year-old company briefly considered the option of getting into synthetic products for the first time in its history.
But Merida Meridian quickly "decided against it," explained Abigail Reeve, manager of new business development, "because we are, and have always been, really about natural products."
She continued, "For us, one of our core values has always been manufacturing in conjunction with maintaining and sustaining a healthy environment. We've been doing it for 30 years and now we're stepping it up, just like everyone else to better understand any impact we have on the environment and make sure we continue to manufacture in ways that are in conjunction with healthy environment. We're very environmentally conscious, and natural fibers are a natural fit."
Sisal, abaca, hemp, jute, sea grass, wool, and cotton are core to the company's product line. So is paper, which has for the past nine years been a popular seller for Merida Meridian in Japan.
But Reeve said the U.S. market had not been ready for paper-made rugs until now, partly due to the avid eco-friendly movement toward natural products that are environmentally responsible.
Earlier this month during the Atlanta International Area Rug market, the company launched its Woodstock collection of paper-and-wool blended accent and area rugs. It is available in three collections: Folk, a mostly wool group in eight colors; Festival, a balanced wool-and-paper blend in four colors; and Bohemia, a mostly paper grouping in three colors.
The patterns are simple and linear, and while these rugs should be kept from getting wet because of the paper content, they are durable and strong, Reeve noted.
"In the U.S., people associate paper with being disposable, like paper plates and paper towels," she said. "But we make our rugs with twisted paper cord, a wood byproduct, which is as strong and durable as a wood floor. These products are not fragile, as one might think, but in fact very strong."
Another first for Merida Meridian this past rug market was the introduction of tufted rugs with the debut of the wool tufted Glow collection. "This is our first departure from weaving," Reeve said.
Glow rugs feature simple geometric patterns in a cut-and-loop construction to create "a reflection point," Reeve explained. These rugs are available in 10 designs and 10 to 12 colors.
"This gives us a more cushioned rug [offering]," Reeve added. "It's a much softer surface in wool for us, where our other wool pieces are flat woven and not as soft to the touch."
Merida Meridian offers its products in all sizes, as it specializes in custom-made dimensions.
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