By Jenna Lippin
Seeking to maintain the momentum generated by the summer Atlanta International Area Rug Market in July, next month’s heavily trafficked winter event is expected to create even greater enthusiasm. “There is a lot of excitement around the winter market,” said Kevin Malkiewicz, vice president of leasing, AmericasMart Atlanta. “Exhibitors are expanding their spaces and improving their showrooms in preparation for the event.”
He added that aside from showroom enhancements, vendors are modifying product collections to meet buyers’ needs. “There will be more product introductions at the January market than we have seen in a while,” he said. “Our indoor rug manufacturers are adding more outdoor living rugs and product to extend their collections and sales seasons.”
The upcoming market, with showrooms slated for Jan. 7-14 and temporaries Jan. 9-13, will also feature a number of fun and educational events, including a meet and greet with Donny Osmond and his wife, Debbie. The couple will be on hand to discuss the products featured in the Donny Osmond Home Showcase.
But the primary focus of the winter market is the continuing integration of rug and home merchandise in new lifestyle presentations on floors three through six of AmericasMart Atlanta. As an example, Loloi Rugs expands into a 14,000-square-foot showroom. The relocated and expanded showroom, located on AmericasMart Building 1 Floor 4, is part of a comprehensive plan that has integrated nearly 60,000 square feet of new home and rug showrooms in the past year.
“Presenting comprehensive rug and home collections together creates a more efficient, more fulfilling experience as our exhibitors continue to showcase more extensive product offerings,” said Chelsea Peabody, AmericasMart’s new strategic relations and media relations manager. “The expanded collections, together with a comprehensive educational program presented by Oriental Rug Retailers of America (ORRA), make January an incomparable market for the industry.”
Jeff Portman, president and COO of AMC, the parent company of AmericasMart Atlanta, noted that retailers coming to market now want to see products across a wide variety of merchandise classifications. “Their stores are increasingly carrying multiple product categories, so the one-stop approach reflects what they come to markets for.”
Integrated showrooms will be unveiled by Azad Rug Corp., Kas, Momeni and Sultanhan.
An additional new feature for the upcoming market is a smartphone/portable device app. Further information about the technological tool will be available this month. For the time being, an enhanced AmericasMart website promises a “particularly richer digital experience with expanded exhibitor profiles, searchable content, new floor plans and a market plan tool,” Peabody said.
Because of the widespread exposure the Atlanta market allows, area rug suppliers are gearing to launch new collections as well as new designs of existing lines.
For example, Nourison will showcase a number of its latest introductions, including the Maya collection within the Calvin Klein Home line. Additional highlights include Kathy Ireland Home, which includes a blend of acrylic and viscose, and the Rhapsody Collection, an 80/20 wool/nylon blend. The company will also display three silk collections: Shadows, Elements and Infusion. Shadows is made of 25% New Zealand wool and 75% silk-like bamboo fiber, while Elements and Infusion each contain a 90/10 blend of New Zealand wool and silk.
Touting its recent partnership with Tommy Bahama, Oriental Weavers will use the Atlanta Area Rug Market as the line’s coming out party. While the company is keeping things under wraps until market, Nicki Rayburn, director of marketing, confirmed that both indoor and outdoor area rugs will be available.
“Being the largest manufacturer of outdoor rugs, Oriental Weavers was a natural fit for that segment of offerings,” Rayburn noted. The company has major plans for the indoor rug category as well, she added, including a variety of constructions such as hand-knotted natural fibers. The collections will range in price from $249 to $899, with the higher-end styles fulfilling what she referred to as a “retailer-communicated void” in the marketplace. New styles from Oriental Weavers’ Pantone Universe collection will also be unveiled at the January event.
Shaw Living will launch more than 200 rugs in Atlanta, including selections from the Ocean Hills collection, a new nylon colorway featuring both bold and neutral tones. Sizes range from 2 x 3 to 12 x 15. World Market, an umbrella collection originally launched in 2013, will be expanded to include offerings in a range of constructions and designs, from natural wool to chenille and color palettes that extend from those of antique art to tones that match modern decors. New selections from Boutique, Bob Timberlake Braided Rugs, Al Fresco and Grace Bay will also be displayed in the Shaw Living space.