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Rugs attract new attention
Lissa Wyman -- Furniture Today, 3/29/2007

Presented as part of the total home package
AT THE MARKET — Several furniture makers this market are going after the rug
business in a big way at all points of the price spectrum, with vendors such as
Klaussner, AICO and Barclay Butera presenting rugs as part of a total home
package.
In October, Klaussner introduced a select group of hand-tufted rugs, which became
the first element of the company’s Complements accents and accessories program.
This market, Klaussner is rolling out the entire program of rugs, lamps, top-of-the-
bed textiles, pillows, wall art and botanicals. Reaction has been extremely positive at
Klaussner’s headquarters and showroom in Asheboro.
"All the accessories coordinate with all the Klaussner case goods and upholstered
furniture," said Beverly B. Martin, showroom director and designer.
All products are stocked at Klaussner’s distribution centers in California, Iowa and
North Carolina, and shipped together with the retailer’s furniture orders.
"Not only does this allow the buyer a direct source for a total-home presentation, it’s
got logistical advantages as well in terms of shipping," said Martin.
The home accents are sourced directly by Klaussner. The rug program has been
developed by rug industry experts Steve Roan and Michael Shupp.
Room settings in the Klaussner showroom are merchandised to the hilt with the
Complements home accessories. After a showroom tour, buyers are escorted to a
special exhibit hall where all the accessories and rugs are displayed together and
merchandised according to Classic, Casual and Contemporary style categories.
"Buyers have embraced this program whole-heartedly," said Martin. "They are
relieved to have a program where everything comes together and is coordinated for
them. They don’t have to run around to several resources. It’s ideal for retailers who
do not have a decorating staff. But even for those who have store designers, this
program frees them to use their resources more effectively in customer contact."
Retail prices at Klaussner firmly grounded in the medium price points. Lamps will
retail in the $39 to $199 range. Rugs are $149 to $599 retail, with 60% at the $399
price point.
"We’ve got to make sure we’re not confusing the consumer. The accessories price
points are consistent with our upholstery and case goods," said Dawn Thompson,
Klaussner’s visual merchandise and design project manager.
In style, Martin predicted that strong colors are ready for a comeback in the home
accents category. "I think people are getting a little tired of seeing so much brown
and beige. We’re looking at accessories to provide more splashes of color for the
room," she said.

At AICO, a new rug program has been launched to coordinate with the resource’s
lush European designs.
"In the past, we had always dressed our showroom with classic Oriental rugs," said
AICO President Larry Rinaldi. "Now we have decided to take certain key motifs of
our upholstery and develop fine rugs. To make each design more meaningful,
(company founder and leader) Michael Amini’s initials are woven into the border of
the rug.
"Most retailers recognize the need to stage the Amini product properly in the
stores," Rinaldi continued. "We find that our customers are responding to the
program on two levels — both as a display prop and as part of a major rug program."
Rinaldi said the company is moving into rugs in order to present a total, coordinated
room for AICO retailers. The rugs are hand tufted in China of 50% wool and 50%
silk. Retails are $799 to $899 in a 6 by 9 size. There are approximately 100 styles in
the collection.
The rugs will be stocked and shipped from California for delivery to retailers this
summer, according to Rinaldi. The rugs also will be available on a direct-container
basis.
The Amini design team spent two years in the research and development of the line,
working closely with the rug sources in China, said Rinaldi.
"Reaction has been very strong," he said. "Retailers like the idea of having the right
rug to go with each furniture collection. It makes them a one-stop shop."
Looking to the future, Rinaldi said the rug program will be supplemented by top-of-
the-bed and home textiles collections.
Meanwhile, Barclay Butera Home, the high-end contemporary house, is introducing
a group of hand-tufted rugs inspired by textiles designs that also coordinate with the
company’s sleek furniture designs.
The initial rug collection has six designs. They are hand tufted in India and Pakistan,
and made of New Zealand wool. Suggested retail is $1,690 in a 6 by 9. Lead time is
six to eight weeks.
The line came about as a result of designer Barclay Butera’s mantra that every
room needs a "great grounding element." Butera said he didn’t know what to expect
from his initial foray into rugs, "but the response has been very strong."
Butera’s rugs are featured in room settings in the showroom, which contain multiple
large- and small-scale patterns for a layered, textural effect. "The rugs blend well
with our textiles, and give a good ground for our look," said Sam Slater, vice
president of operations for Barclay Butera.
The six designs include large-scale houndstooth and tartan plaid patterns, and
animal skin looks inspired by ocelots and leopards. "We will be adding to this group
in the future," said Slater.