NEW YORK — Oriental Weavers came to New York Home Fashions Market with introductions aimed at big box retailers and national chains — many of them aiming to replace area rug programs impacted by Chinese tariffs.
“From an attendance perspective, retailers are coming in. We’re right on track with previous shows. We’ve already had some people in the end of last week and over the weekend. It’s going to be a really busy three days,” Jonathan Witt, president, Oriental Weavers of America, told RugNews.com on opening day of market.
“It’s not as if with all the instability in the market that anyone is backing away from coming to the show. Everyone is looking for the next solution, whether it’s from a product standpoint or it’s ‘what do we do in the marketplace in general from a promotion standpoint’. We all know the market is soft on a day to day business – and then you have to factor in the Chinese tariffs.”
Witt noted that the tariff process, which started about a year ago, has actually helped OW’s bottom line. “We’ve been a beneficiary. Our first half was up tremendously, and a lot of that was driven by replacement programs for products sourced in China: a lot of tufted and printed programs, some wovens, and a lot of microfiber — which is still very popular in the marketplace — the majority of it coming out of China.”
NEW YORK INTRODUCTIONS
Oriental Weavers’ domestically made microfiber polyester Fiona collection premiered for mass merchants and e-commerce shoppers in New York.
Offering an alternative to Chinese imports, Oriental Weavers showcased two new microfiber collections in both rugs and non-skid scatters rugs at New York Home Fashions Market. “We are also presenting a couple of new products that incorporate a lot of high-low texture at some really value price points,” Witt said.
A standout high low collection was Vesper, woven with a combination of polypropylene and shrink polyester shown in a dreamy range of designs with off white ground and innovative textural effects. These looks are resonating at the high end, so we know they will be accepted at opening price points.”
The new Fiona collection of microfiber polyester by Oriental Weavers features a range of plush designs in styles ranging from abstract to updated classic motifs.
One new microfiber intro, the Fiona collection, is designed to provide continuity for the “soft underfoot story” that big retailers have been sourcing directly. Patterns on display at OW’s 295 Fifth Ave. showroom ranged from abstracts to classic center medallion motifs. Indeed, OW has a factory in China which has produced microfiber rugs for years. But to gear up for the needs of these large customers that production was switched to other OW facilities.
A trending palette of ivory, blush and moss fading to soft washed shades of blue grey and teal gets paired with a high-low texture in Oriental Weavers’ Vesper collection for NY Market shoppers.
“We had a contingency for China,” Witt continued. “We just took that production to other parts of the world – here in the U.S. or in Egypt where we’ve upgraded some equipment for that capacity, replacing it at the same or even at a lower cost.
“The process really started a year ago. Then some retailers were a little more conservative about changing out product because it is a big hassle. And other national retailers go through a process of replacing a program, so they were waiting it out. A year ago everyone thought it [the trade war with China] would have been settled by now one way or another. But since it hasn’t been settled, there is now a second wave of people saying, ‘alright I have to start looking for alternatives away from China’.”
2020 OUTDOOR SELLING SEASON KICKS OFF
Above and below, Oriental Weavers offers big box shoppers plenty of fresh indoor-outdoor designs at NY Home Fashions Market, including the debuting Sumner collection with an ombre-style flat-woven background (pictured below). Shown, Sumner 1527W.