John Harrison (center above in Beijing last winter), Capel Rugs’ Import – Export Manager, has been with us long enough to see the international rug import market come full-circle.
“When I started in ’94 hardly any of our rugs came out of India. Most of the imports were Wilton machine-made out of Turkey and Belgium and hand-made products were from China. By the late 90s, India became very entrepreneurial and built themselves an empire on tufted rugs,” says John.
John is from Troy, North Carolina. He started out in the import division and spent a lot of time focused on quality control for customers such as JC Penney and LL Bean. Quality has always been first and foremost at Capel.
Rug tastes change
For the last twenty years, rug buyers favored the tufted rugs coming out of India in a multitude of colors. These well-made, fashionable rugs became the middle-price-point rug of choice.
However, in the last couple of years, the machine-made rug makers have innovated. John notes that “Now we see exceptional products in the machine-made category once again with a host of colors, space-dyed yarns, as well as multiple pile options and fibers.”
Forecasting what rug buyers will love
In the rug business, we’ve all got to look for crystal balls to determine what will appeal to the market six to twelve months down the road.
John is our big picture person always looking a year ahead on anything related to product sourcing – new constructions, qualities, and color trends.
He says, “I’m constantly looking at the trade magazines and going to shows such as Domotex in Germany and Maison&Objet in Paris. Color Marketing Group is a leader in providing color trends for the coming years.”
Worldwide partners and 100-years of experience
Capel Rugs still makes most of our product in North Carolina and Georgia, but we’ve continued to expand our international partnerships and our offerings and price points.
Capel’s philosophy has always been to focus on quality across predominantly mid to high-end price point collections. However, in recent years we’ve expanded the machine-made offerings in the lower price points taking advantage of Olefin fibers.
“This year we decided to offer a step-up product in machine-made using 100% New Zealand wool in a line that has exceeded our expectations called Metropolis. It is doing fantastic in the market,” says John.
As of 2017, we are working with producers in the following countries:
- Holland (New collections from Axminster looms)
Why higher value, higher quality rugs do well
Metropolis’ success confirms our approach. We go for great value, noticeable quality, and excellent color ranges.
John says, “When we placed Metropolis in the market, we had to introduce our buyers to the fact that a machine-made rug can offer value and excellent quality. Most are so used to seeing synthetic yarns in the machine-made categories. To get a 100% wool rug like Metropolis within a competitive price range has interested many of our buyers.”
Capel has a 100-year-old formula
Capel has benefited from a strong supply chain and excellent overseas partners for many years. We couple that with amazing folks in our distribution centers and customer service along with a willingness to package and ship to about any specification.
As John says, “We’ve been doing this a long time, and that’s an advantage. Plus, we never stop looking for what’s new. Capel is always hungry to innovate as well as keen on mixing the old and new to create something better for our customers.”
See what’s new here. Join us at High Point Furniture Market October 14 – 17, 2017.