Leslie Stroh walked and talked for four long days at High Point. Here are some of his off-the-top-of-his-head observations. This post was supposed to be included in a newsletter last week; something happened and it was not.
Ecosystems of Suppliers & Consumers
This market was more about the ecosystems of the suppliers and the consumers. It is not clear to me that those two communities communicate well with each other, Jaipur Living being a notable exception. Upscale consumers need to feel good about the product they are buying as evidenced by the attendance at a number of “sustainable” seminars.
Product is Not the Focus
Long gone are the days of focus on product. For the mass merchants and internet vendors, it is the numbers on a spread sheet. For the step-up category, it is touch, feel, designed texture, lifestyle and aspirations.
A number of vendors told us that they had built either interior rooms, or whole houses in their warehouse in which to take pictures of their rugs in context. I think this make sense. In the mid nineteen seventies I was doing this in High Point when I was running a rug company. The difference between a room shot for furniture and a room shot for rugs is two or three steps on a step ladder. Augmented Reality is an electronic step ladder.
Finishing is as Important as Making the Rug
David Samad of Samad Brothers showed me a great video of hand washing and shearing machine made wool rugs in Turkey. The point he was making was that the finishing process is as important as the making process. Shearing and over-dyeing is an example of a once popular finishing process.
After Market Visit Views the Future
I visited with the International Textile Alliance headquartered in High Point and after market I visited North Carolina State University College of Textiles in Raleigh. I learned a lot about the future. We all could.