ANAHEIM, CALIF.—First, high-definition revolutionized the television industry. Now Weavemaster Carpets, a new division of Kane Carpet, is following suit with the creation of the first high-definition carpet.
Kane took the wraps off the groundbreaking broadloom at the recent Carpet One convention, and retailers were lining up to take on the collection. “It’s the future of patterned floor covering,” said Herb Frank, president and CEO, Kane Carpet. “What we’ve done is taken what happened to the TV industry and brought it to the carpet industry.”
Put simply, this carpet offers better clarity than anything that has ever been available, Frank said. “Up until this point, printed broadloom has only been capable of delivering 16 dpi (dots per inch) of pattern. The maximum shown by any manufacturer—U.S. or overseas—has been 20 dpi, but that was limited to car- pet tile.” But Kane has signed an exclusive deal for the U.S. and Canadian market with a Turkish manufacturer that owns a one-of-a-kind machine which can deliver 72 dpi. “So the technology behind Weavemaster Carpets offers almost five times the clarity that was unavailable until today.”
The color aspect is equally impressive. “The maximum number of colors that has been available in any one carpet has been 10,” Frank said. “We can put in 500. In fact, a good portion of the Weavemaster patterns contains more than 60 colors in a single SKU. On the other hand, we have patterns with only three colors. So the variety in the program goes across the board from simple, distinct patterns to complicated florals.”
But Weavemaster Carpets is not just another pretty face. Its WeaveSoft yarn is extremely soft to the touch, yet the products will also meet the most demanding requirements. In fact, the loop is rated for severe commercial and cut pile is rated for heavy commercial, yielding 5- year warranties against wear and manufacturing defects. “We have a texture appearance rating of 4, which is unheard of for cut pile nylon,” Frank said. A stain protection treatment, WeaveGuard, is also applied.
According to Bruce Kurtz, vice president of sales, Weavemaster is the answer to needlepoint carpets that do not perform on staircases and in hallways, where they often end up. “This offers an affordable Wilton needlepoint that will perform with no compromise on color or design. Then we are giving an alternative to the Axminster business, which is very cost prohibitive. When we made these designs in wool, they wholesaled for $81 a yard. This is a third of the cost without sacrificing looks. In fact, it’s even better with the high-def.”
Kurtz added that the Weave- master Carpets line is extremely installer friendly. “They have more dimensional stability than any carpet made in the U.S. because of its WeaveLoc backing created by Kane Carpet expressly for this product. That is because when this carpet is made, it is manufactured first, then printed. It is stabilized to not shift or skew during the printing process. Also, its soft backing is important in cold areas where the backing can crack when coming off a truck.”
The Weavemaster Carpets line debuts in 41 designs and 240 SKUs in both loop pile and cut pile with an expansion planned for Surfaces 2012. All SKUs are fully stocked in Calhoun, Ga. “We are the first to bring out branded nylon type 6 carpet that is soft as wool,” Frank said. Suggested retail price is $39 to $49 a yard, carpet only.
Karla Shone, showroom manager, EF Marburger Fine Flooring, Fishers, Ind., told FCNews she is very excited about the combination of a “fabulous looking” product and great pricing. “I’ve been looking for some- thing for our front showroom to replace some outdated products, which is primarily carpet and upper-end products. Weavemaster Carpets pretty much fills the bill.”
Shone touted the line’s range and level of aesthetics. “The clarity of design is magnificent, and the styling is across the board. There is something for everyone, which is pretty amazing in itself. Plus, the softness of the product is also exciting. We think our design-oriented customers will be as excited about it as we are.”
Frank told FCNews he could have put these carpets under the Kane brand, but since Kane Carpet for the past 15 years has been associated with woven patterned goods, he opted to move the revolutionary process to another division.
While the patterns and designs for the residential market will be sold under the Weavemaster moniker, Kane will develop special colors and designs for the commercial market under the respective mills’ brands. In fact, Bentley Prince Street has already signed on for a line under the Global Innovations brand.
Aside from residential and commercial, there is also an attractive customization component to the launch. For one carpet roll minimum, any of the background colors can be changed out with 500 options available on the color selector in both loop and cut pile.
The Weavemaster launch is supported by an array of tools: Merchandising. Retailers can choose from a fully rebateable display with 24 x 30 sample boards or 18 x 27 cut samples. The racks are slated to ship the last week of August. Frank said about 500 dealers have already signed up for the display.
Marketing. Kane is embarking on a comprehensive trade advertising campaign to “educate retailers on something they never thought was possible,” Kurtz said. “It is very important to explain to and educate the retailer on this high-definition manufacturing approach. We also have to convey how this carpet is built for this economy— there is no better apparent value.”
Service. Kane’s newly expanded, 250,000-square-foot service center in Calhoun offers a 15,000-roll capacity. Three fully automated cutting tables process orders quickly.
Frank could not hide his optimism about Weavemaster Carpets. “I’ve been doing this for 46 years, and I have never been as excited about a product I developed and brought to market. In 1995 we were the first to bring patterned carpet in heatset Eurlon to the marketplace when no one was doing it. Everyone laughed at us. Five years ago everyone was into that business. Everyone is always chasing this little guy’s tail.”