llbean wool braided rug room setting

For as long as anyone at Capel Rugs or L.L.Bean can remember, our two companies have worked together. As my friend and colleague Jennifer Benevides, L.L.Bean’s Corporate Merchant Manager, says, “The companies are like cousins. We carried Capel braided rugs before we even had a Home Department.”

I got on the phone recently with Jennifer to reminisce about our long-standing company relationship, talk about what has made L.L.Bean such an enduring company, and to get some ideas for how to make our own Centennial Jubilee meaningful and fun.


Jennifer Benevides, L.L.Bean, Corporate Merchant Manager

L.L.Bean celebrated their 100th Year Anniversary in 2012 with a huge celebration. Capel Rugs turns 100 in 2017.

The similarities in history and business ethos are striking between Capel Rugs and L.L.Bean. We are both still U.S.-based, family-owned, and committed to a high-level of customer service.

What’s the story behind the success of L.L.Bean?

Leon Leonwood Bean founded L.L.Bean in 1912 with a vision for providing the ultimate hunting boot to Maine hunters. He solicited the help of a cobbler and purchased the nonresident Maine hunting license list to get started. In no time, he’d sold 100 pairs. But the design was yet to be perfected, and 90 pairs were sent back.

While his first attempt at creating a comfortable boot that would keep feet from getting wet failed, Mr. Bean did not give up. He kept his word to refund the cost and went back to the drawing board.

How we respond to failure really defines our future. Everyone will fail at some point. You’ve got to learn from it and move forward. Mistakes are how we learn.

Mr. Bean’s now famous quote is still what company employees live by:

“Sell good merchandise at a reasonable profit, treat your customers like human beings – and they will always come back for more.”

Throughout his life and the entire history of the company, L.L.Bean has focused on high-quality products backed by excellent service.

Talk a little about what it takes to be a vendor partner to L.L.Bean.

We work with companies that share our commitment to the highest levels of quality and customer service. We may be demanding, but it’s because we do not want to disappoint customers. Many suppliers just can’t meet the standard.

Made in America is a big deal to us, and when we can find partners that meet our demands and have U.S. operations, we look for ways to work together.

Our customers have an expectation that if we sell a product, it’s been thoroughly vetted. We’ve tested it in our lab and decided it’s good enough for our customer. We have a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all the products we sell. If a customer is not satisfied with the performance of a product, we take it back.

It’s the L.L.Bean world class guarantee.

Capel makes the best braids, still, which is why we have an exclusive 100 percent wool, heavy-duty construction braided line with you. The braids are something that can be moved around the house; they’re multi-purpose and so durable. Young people into heritage-like rugs still resonate with the L.L.Bean-Capel braided rug.

The Capel braid is a classic. It’s like the Oxford shirt; its popularity might go up and down, but it never goes out of style.

How did L.L.Bean celebrate their centennial?

We used the entire anniversary year to talk about our history and who we are as a company, then and now, in our catalogs and online.

The 100th anniversary was something special locally as well as nationally. If you live in Freeport, Maine, you know L.L.Bean; the company has touched your life. Many residents work for L.L.Bean.

The company sponsored a huge festival in Freeport. It was an all-day event with music, arts and crafts, and food for the community as well as visitors. Local nonprofit groups like Lions Club and 4H sold food. Many of our employees volunteered to help out. We also contributed to the development of a local fields and trail project, a statewide program focused on getting kids in the outdoors, and the National Park Foundation.

For us as employees, working here means you are part of something bigger than yourself. The high level of values rubs off on you.

How is the family involved with L.L.Bean?

Many members of the family work in the business as well as participate on the board and are involved in the charitable giving program of the company.

Long-time president and grandson of ‘L. L.” Leon Gorman initiated the stakeholder philosophy as the way of doing business, which states that the company purpose is to add value to the lives of people who have a vested interest in L.L.Bean. Leon demonstrated his care for our employees and that commitment lives on.

The family has never been boastful about what they do, but people in Maine know what they are about and how much they have given back.

Leon Gorman was a well-respected leader in the community. After retiring, he volunteered at the local soup kitchen. The story goes that after his shift, he would clean the place to perfection, even getting under the stove. When asked why, he told people, “If you do a job, you gotta do it right.”

We at Capel Rugs look forward to celebrating more milestones with L.L.Bean.

The synergies and relationship between the two companies are remarkable. The thread that binds us is a commitment to customer service and high-quality standards for products.


Posted on by Cameron Capel
Biltmore house

Last week I joined a group of amazing people at Biltmore in Asheville, NC for a licensing partner’s retreat. We move at such a fast pace in this business. It was great to have the exchange of ideas and get a glimpse of what’s coming in terms of design for 2017.

Biltmore Inspire


Still known as America’s Largest Home®, Biltmore’s 250-room French Renaissance Chateau features striking rugs of many unique sizes, textures, and colors. Every time I visit, I find a new source of inspiration among the gardens, rooms, and terrace views for the Biltmore® Rug Collection by Capel.

Biltmore Legacy Shiraz in Classic Red

Capel has ten collections with Biltmore, with four more in the works. We can’t reveal details just yet, but expect to see machine mades, tufted and hand knots!

Of our existing collections, I can’t pick just one favorite. Here’s a few. See Capel’s Biltmore Collection.

Arrondelle Baroque NickelArrondelle Baroque Nickel

Select Regal Blue BiltmoreSelect Bidjar Regal Blue

Granada Navy BiltmoreGranada Navy

All the best,


Posted on by Cameron Capel
Carmen Herndon Ballard Designs

I’ve known Carmen Herndon for seventeen years. She’s a buyer with Ballard Designs in Atlanta. We’ve had a mutual respect for each other’s “eye for style” since the day we met.

The Ballard August/September Catalog drops end of July. I just saw her at Atlanta Market, and we talked about her thoughts for what to expect this fall as well as trends into 2017.

What drives trends?

A lot of what I do is research trends. We are always looking out a year. We just finished plans for summer 2017.

The colors and motifs of fabric are what primarily drives our trends. Of course, fashion drives fabric. I just got back from one of the fabric markets. Buyers will see the influence of those fabrics at fall furniture markets. The consumers will see those fabric influences in 2017 products.

Talk about color. What do you see?

Gray remains big. Brown is coming back. I see it in pops, especially taupe.

Moodboard-Pantone-Fashion-Color-Report-Fall-2016-Warm-Taupe-16-1318(Pantone’s fall 2016 taupe)

Blues have changed from the spa mineral colors to a dusty, darker blue that’s tracking with Pantone’s 2017 fashion colors.

Moodboard-Pantone-Fashion-Color-Report-Fall-2016-Airy-Blue-14-4122(Pantone’s fall 2016 airy blue)

What do you see regarding rug purchase trends with your buyers?

Rugs are not so tied to trends. Rugs are such an anchor element in rooms. People don’t tend to change rugs very often. Think of all the trouble it would be to roll up and store a rug seasonally. It’s not realistic. I’ve had the same rug in some rooms for ten years because I love the colors.

Many people start with a rug they love and then build a room around it, playing off the color palette on the rug. You can change the slip cover and pillows for a sofa, such as velvet in winter and linen in summer, but keep the rug.

The Capel Rugs that I love most are the drop-dead gorgeous hand knotted designs.

Ballard Designs has had a special relationship with Capel for years to offer the St. Tropez, an indoor-outdoor, timeless rug  with a sisal-like base and Sunbrella border.

I think our customers love it because this rug looks like sisal but is so soft a baby could crawl on it. It’s pet and kid friendly, so easy to clean. Creative Concepts is a similar collection available direct from Capel Rugs.

St. Tropez Capel Rug for Ballard Designs(Ballard Designs St. Tropez with Capel Rugs)

Ballard Designs is a good example of a company that has experimented with us here at Capel Rugs as a partner to serve their customers.

We’ve even got a modern version of a braided rug online with Ballard Designs that Carmen says her customers are responding to because the color palette works well with many of the fabrics Ballard offers.

charlotte braid by Capel(Capel Rugs Made in USA Charlotte Braid Design for Ballard Design Online)

It’s great to get perspective from someone like Carmen. Ballard Designs caters to a discerning yet price conscience clientele. My goal for Capel Rugs is to design and produce rugs that appeal to a wide range of tastes and price points.



Posted on by Cameron Capel
vegas showroom

We always get excited about markets, but this year’s IMC Las Vegas Summer Market is special for Capel Rugs in many ways. I’ve just spoken with Suzanne Berger, Capel’s Vegas Showroom Manager. Here are some of the highlights.

  • Sunday, July 31 at 10:30 am new space A133 ribbon cutting with Bob Maricich

We can’t help but celebrate this milestone for Capel in Las Vegas and feel really honored that IMC CEO, Bob Maricich will help us cut the ribbon and hang the 10-year plaque in A133 at 10:30 am on Sunday, July 31.

Please join us. We’ll have refreshments ready too.

  • Capel’s new A133 location at IMC is beautiful and works well for all

Suzanne has been with Capel since we opened the Vegas showroom in 2005. She’s been at the forefront of our transition from the second-floor space to the new A133 location on the first floor, in between Global Views and Four Hands.

“I’ve never seen a space that is so designer-friendly and complementary to the products. It’s literally like a jewel box,” said Suzanne.

When Capel made the decision to move, we decided to go all out and spare no detail to create a space that complements our rugs and provides an inspiring, accessible work space for designers and buyers.

Again, Suzanne. “The feedback from designers has been fabulous. Everyone loves the areas we’ve created where they can sit with clients to layout fabrics against rug samples. Oh, and the sample library that has every rug imaginable is a huge hit too.”

Because rugs are such a foundational piece for every room, samples that can be spread out, touched, and contrasted with fabrics are vital. We’ve put the entire gamut of Capel rugs into a sample library, from our price conscious contemporary lines to one-of-a-kind hand-knotted traditional pieces.

barrister traditional black web Barrister    Gravity BlueGravity

  • Simply Gabbeh in Stucco selected for 2016 First Look by IMC trend watchers

Our unique Capel design Simply Gabbeh in Stucco was selected by the First Look design team. It’s a 100 percent wool, hand-loomed construction in multiple colors.

“It’s one of those Capel gems that defy style and can go into a man cave just as easily as the family room,” said Suzanne.

  • Treating our guests to massages, Bellinis, Starbucks, and discounts

We hope you are expecting Capel Rugs’ Southern hospitality.

-Massage chair open July 31 – August 4

-Bellinis, Starbucks Coffee, and other refreshments

-20% discounts on select collections

It’s hard not to catch Suzanne’s enthusiasm. She said, “It looks divine, and I love it here. I know that everyone coming this summer will be as excited as I am.”

Come on and judge for yourself. Look for Kevin O’Brien’s Caravan Collection in the window.

Caravan Adriatic Kevin O'BrienCaravan Adriatic Tuscan Blue


World Market Center, Space A133
495 S. Grand Central Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89106
Open 9-5, Monday – Friday
Open to the Trade Only

Suzanne Berger, Manager
Tel: 702-385-7847
Fax: 702-385-7849
Email: capel-lv@capel.net


Posted on by Cameron Capel

I met Genevieve Gorder (GG) at a New York City rug meeting in 2012. Capel Rugs was looking to add the kind of contemporary touch and aesthetic we’d seen from GG on her HGTV show, Dear Genevieve and Design(ish) on the Design Network. We bonded over bacon at brunch, and our relationship began that day with a handshake, and it continues to grow.

Capel Rugs and Genevieve Gorder released seven new rug designs in 2016. Our 2017 plans include up to five new releases.

I sat down to talk with GG for a sneak peek at what she’s up to in aesthetic and design for the next few year as well as her inspiration for the Scandinavian-styled lines she’s brought to market over the last couple of years.

First, a look into the future. What are you up to GG?

I am currently designing everything, at least it feels like it. Home products for Land of Nod, Tempaper and of course a new collection for my rug collection with Capel.

A new television series begins filming this fall along with a new digital series.

What can we expect in terms of colors and patterns from you next?

I hunt and gather all over the world to connect the ancient world’s patterns to the present color palettes. I like to be provocative, graphic and at the same time familiar.

I always need to figure out what’s coming and why. Design has so much logic behind it if you just connect the dots. Design moves to current events, politics, and pop culture, you have to be alive and aware in all of it to understand where we’re going next.

As far as the next season, I see a flurry of brilliant and bold color creeping in as the interest in Cuba continues to build. Deep tobacco browns, emerald greens, aquas and flamingo pinks abound. As Havana unfolds, East Africa ancient will creep in slowly.

What’s influencing your style lately? Talk about your inspiration.

I’m half Scandinavian and grew up with the heavy influence of Nordic style. As a designer, my roots are my creative backbone. My inspiration changes every day.

Snø, Dokka Stripe, and the latest Viking Stripe rugs are all heavily influenced by family patterns, Norway and that Nordic tribal hand. It’s been a fun ride with Scandinavian style really trending for the past many years. Thanks, Frozen!

My Croatian side is not to be ignored, though. Puhalo Stripe was my great grandmother’s design, a woven tablecloth she made, and a great seller.

How do you know what’s going to work, especially with contemporary designs?

I’m not always right, but people hire designers for their creativity and insight. Sometimes you don’t know until you test something in the marketplace. The best outcomes result from partnerships, like ours, where we really WORK together. Cameron, you are unusual! You truly trust design and its process. You are a gem.

It’s been a fun Choo Choo to hop on. Capel has given me a loud and creative voice while staying true to their business.

Posted on by Cameron Capel

The New 2016 Capel Rugs Virtual Tour is here.

We worked with Glenn Sheridan of GSO360 to produce a new virtual tour of our High Point Showroom. The rapid expansion of this technology is amazing. Not only can you simulate a walk through the showroom, there’s a feature to click on a rug you like and get detailed information.

Here are a few collections linked with more information:

-Ashland (cotton, transitional, hand-woven)

-Austin (olefin, casual, machine-woven)

-Zulu (wool, contemporary, hand-tufted)

-Windsor (wool-nylon blend, casual, braided)

(cut and paste this link) http://showroom.gso360.com/tour/64H_Capel

Let us know what you think. Please share.

With love,


Posted on by Cameron Capel
Caravan Adriatic Kevin O'Brien

Kevin O’Brien of Kevin O’Brien Studio is one of the extraordinary designers we collaborate with to bring new ideas for color, texture, and simply interesting concepts to rug design. When Kevin and I met a few years back, we knew immediately that we should work together.

We reconnected last week at High Point Market and had an amazing time.

cameron and kevin o'brien blog size *Note: Kevin’s beard really is blue. :)

We unveiled, what I personally think, is Kevin’s most interesting collection for Capel Rugs to-date. My favorite is Constantinople in Adriatic

adriatic web size

See the entire collection at at Capel Rugs and a few more images below. I wanted to share with you a conversation Kevin and I had last week about his work and thoughts on rug styles.

How is Kevin O’Brien Studio interpreting new trends?

Many of the new trends play perfectly into our strengths.  We see a lot of watercolor effects, gemstones, and geodes trending. We like to think that the rich jewel tones applied to our velvets helped usher some of those concepts into home decor recently.

Where do you get the ideas that make your personal brand so appealing?

Almost all of what we design is also made by us. It all starts in our large test studio. As a painter, I spend most of my time mixing colors and trying out new ways of putting them on fabrics.

Since I cannot make my own rugs, I am really lucky to have friends at Capel. One of the best ways to experience color is in a rug because it is so deep and rich.

What’s your thought on the future of traditional, transitional, and contemporary designs?

I think the differences are important to maintain and are there because they serve very different sectors of the consuming population.  Contemporary gets most of the attention because we all like to see what’s new, but traditional is not going away.

If anything, I believe that contemporary will fragment into many varied styles because modern life is changing so fast. I expect to see traditional contemporary as well as Avant-garde as descriptors in the near future.

Where do you hope to take Kevin O’Brien Studio in the future?

I am passionate about beautiful product. I spend most of my time running the business, but the motivation is the creation of designs that will cause delight and amazement.

Twenty years ago, I started with  selling hand-painted scarves. Today, our line includes a little bit of everything.

Please take a look at what Kevin and his studio team have done for Capel Rugs.

With Love,



Caravan Constantinople Kevin O'Briencaravan sky Kevin O'Briencaravan grey dusk kevin o'brien

Caravan Constantinople, Sky, and Grey Dusk

Posted on by Cameron Capel
barrister traditional black web

Over the last few years, we’ve worked with a number of designers, as well as brands, to expand our offerings across the three primary categories of rug styles: traditional, transitional, and contemporary.

Beginning with our now iconic braids, Capel has always blurred the lines between the categories. In the early days, our braided rugs defied traditional conventions.

Here are a few examples, and my quick “defining points”, for traditional, transitional, and contemporary rugs.

Traditional Rugs

Defining points: defined borders, warm or neutral colors, comfortable, ornate, opulent

Traditional design brings to mind old Europe and the 18th century. One of my favorites from the Capel collection that has remained popular is the Barrister style.

We’ve increased the colorways and size options for 2016. See the new catalog here.

The Barrister style is shown here in Black. The colorways of aqua, with a pop of indigo, make it very ethereal. It’s wool and hand knotted, also available in Ink, Oyster, and Cognac.

barrister traditional blackBarrister in Black

Transitional Rugs

Defining points: repeating patterns, blends updated colors and patterns from traditional styles, classic, clean, beige to tan color families, yin and yang balance

Transitional designs tend to jazz-up a traditional pattern or color scheme without jarring the eye.

The Berkeley style remains popular. It’s made of wool and silk in a flat woven construction. It’s shown here in Deep Sea, available in eight colors.

berkely deep seaBerkeley in Deep Sea

The Arch style, shown below in Blue, is from our Abbey collection. It’s an olefin, outdoor rug that bridges contemporary and transitional. It comes in Spice Multi and is made in the USA.

abbey arch blue Arch in Blue

Contemporary Rugs

Defining points: no borders, bold color, unique, modern art-like design elements

Our design partnership with COCOCOZY contains several contemporary rugs. Here’s our Fence style in Charcoal, available in five colors. It’s wool and a hand knotted construction.

fence in charcoalFence in Charcoal

The Rings style in Flax, a member of our Orchard House collection, is a wool, contemporary rug design from our creations with Biltmore. Orchard House-Rings rugs have a trellis pattern and a hand tufted construction. It comes in Maize as well.

Rings in FlaxRings in Flax

Ultimately, it comes down to the rug texture, color, size, and shape that fits your personal style. Come see me at High Point Market. I’ll show you hundreds of styles across the spectrum.

With Love,





Posted on by Cameron Capel
Williamsburg Brand and Capel Rugs

Capel Rugs will introduce two new mid-range priced transitional rug lines in six colorways to the WILLIAMSBURG collections at HPMRKT in April. WILLIAMSBURG’s tagline – Trend Meets Tradition - is reflective of the classic 18th-century design adapted to the colors, materials, and scale of a transitional look. The goal is to preserve the appeal of our brands while meeting the tastes of new generations.

We’ve worked closely with The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation since 2002. Recently, I spoke with Liza Gusler, the amazing Licensing Manager for the WILLIAMSBURG brand (WBG brand), about our shared desire to offer enduring Southern styles with national appeal.

The entire collection features new colorways that complement the many neutrals on the market. Our colors range from aqua and indigo to greige and taupe. The new rugs will be available late summer 2016.

How we arrive at colorways, construction, and design.

Capel is one of thirty licensees working with the WBG brand.  Also included are names such as Benjamin Moore, Global Views, York Wallcoverings, Robert Abbey lighting, and PK Lifestyles fabrics.

As Liza notes, we all benefit from her ability to listen to designers from a range of WILLIAMSBURG licensees regarding what’s happening in the marketplace with colors, fabrics, and much more.  We, in turn, translate it into products that are just right for WBG brand customers.

Why we feel Shalimar Resist and Ashland are unique Capel – WBG brand rug offerings.

Technique and colorways make the difference.

We’ve employed a hand woven Jacquard, using a combination of a high and low pile and 3 to 4 shades of color and very detailed patterns. The fibers are 55% wool, 35% viscose, and 10% cotton yarns.  The lower pile is wool while the higher pile uses a mixture of viscose and wool.  Viscose offers a silky sheen.

What Liza and I both love are the effects this approach creates depending on your vantage point and the lighting. Whether you are looking from north, south, east, or west – the texture offers a different effect.

Ashland – Style # 1785 incorporates a paisley pattern. It is available in aqua, natural, and greige.

Shalimar Resist – Style # 1786 is a hand-tufted damask design made by master weavers in India. It is available in indigo, taupe, and khaki.

Williamsburg  brands represents “the good bones of classic 18th – century design with modern sensibilities.”

Liza says, “Nearing our 80th anniversary WILLIAMSBURG remains an evolving, venerable brand possessing the good bones of classic 18th – century design yet appreciating modern sensibilities.”

I love it. WBG brand has owned tradition for 50 years. It’s a challenge to improve upon what our mothers and grandmothers passed along. When building on design foundations that have not gone out of style for literally hundreds of years, there’s a freedom that enables us to bring transitional pieces to our customers that are affordable and gorgeous.

Capel Rugs is honored to collaborate with the pioneer of home furnishings licensing, beginning over 80 years ago with Wedgwood at the suggestion of John D. Rockefeller, Junior, who remained an active benefactor of Colonial Williamsburg and America’s historical design traditions until his death in 1960.

Learn more about The WILLIAMSBURG brand: https://www.colonialwilliamsburg.com/do/shop/licensing/

See you at High Point Market in April!

With Love,




Posted on by Cameron Capel
Williamsburg Grand Palampore cream

I spent the day at our Capel High Point Market showroom with our fabulous photographer of twenty-plus years, Wendell Wagner of Tri Group Studios. We shot six new rugs in our Williamsburg Collection for debut at High Point Market.

You’ll see Shalimar Resist and Ashland rugs in our new 2016 catalog – coming out week of April 11.

Look for a peek at what you’ll see in our new catalog from Williamsburg soon. Think – trend meets tradition in multiple shades of aqua, taupe, indigo, and more. It’s a departure from our existing Williamsburg collection, which captured classic Colonial patterns.

williamsburg fretwork puttyWilliamsburg filigree naturalWilliamsburg Lotus 450 ocean

If I had to sum up in one word what we were after, it’s texture.

For the last few years, the rug market has been all about texture. I love what we’ve done with texture in this Williamsburg Collection. We incorporated a more sophisticated jacquard pattern and a mix of wool and viscous cotton with varied pile heights.

Whether the soft under foot pleasure of cotton chenille in a bedroom or the functional nubby feel of my grandmother’s braided kitchen rug, I believe texture is integral to good rug construction.

With Love,


Posted on by Cameron Capel