Volume 26/Number 17; January 7/14, 2013
Phenix Carpet, a division of Dobbs Mills, is somewhat of an enigma. Those who know the brand rave about the company and its products. As an example, it has a strong position with groups such as the National Floorcovering Alliance and FCA Network. But many retailers are not completely aware of the value and high style Phenix brings to market. That’s all about to change. Industry veteran Mark Clayton came on board last year as president and CEO, and 2013 is the year the company will shift into overdrive with updated products and a new brand position. Clayton recently spoke with FCNews publisher and editorial director Steven Feldman about what the industry can expect to see from Phenix this year.
What was it that attracted you to Phenix?
Phenix has a tremendous reputation in the marketplace. It was and remains a leader in the development and growth of the residential polyester (PET) category. Customers always referred to Phenix as having the best customer service and some of the top products in the industry. The company experienced steady growth which created some excellent opportunities to take things to the next level, especially with additional emphasis on the sales and marketing side. I felt it was a good opportunity to combine my background with the expertise that was already in place here.
Talk a little about the repositioning of the Phenix brand.
Phenix manufactures beautiful products and we want to ensure that we are doing everything we can to market ourselves in a manner that is reflective of our brand position. We recently hired Susan Curtis as vice president of product and marketing development. With her efforts, we felt Surfaces would be a great platform to reintroduce ourselves to the market. You are going to see a new brand position, new logo, new sample vehicles, new website and an enhanced presentation at the show.
Phenix has always had great service, quality and products, and we will continue to do so. But we feel the opportunity lies with our ability to bring beautifully designed products to the consumer while not sacrificing those core competencies. We are going to show the consumer that she doesn’t have to settle for bland design in order to obtain a value-centric product.
What would you say are Phenix’s competitive advantages/differentiators?
We are known for delivering great products that offer tremendous value with exceptional service. This will continue to be at the core of everything we do. However, you will see Phenix bringing products to market, even in the solution-dyed category, that are first and foremost focused on design and aesthetics.
Talk to me about your short- and long-term goals?
Obviously this marketing focus was a large short-term initiative that we will expand upon in the long term. On the sales side, we are putting a tremendous amount of focus on ensuring we have exposure with the right retail partners. Tom Pappas, our vice president of sales, is in charge of that effort. We are making sure we have the proper brand presence and the proper selling tools to get us out there. And the most important thing is always product. So short-term we will have an aggressive product launch in polyester and nylon, and for the future you will continue to see us expand our reputation as being the design leader in the categories in which we participate.
Right now we are really focused on investing in the business, whether it be people, assets or technology. We are focused on putting exceptional talent in place, securing the best equipment to service our business and designing the finest products for our retail partners. We are investing for the future.
What’s new for 2013?
Our main emphasis will be a new collection called SureSoft. It’s a super-soft polyester collection that does not sacrifice on value or performance. The products are well constructed utilizing a high twist yarn, and they offer beautiful tip definition, an extensive color offering, as well as an exceptional finish. Customers who have previewed the product were excited about what we accomplished. We are going to have face weights ranging from 40 to 70 ounces. It’s a great value story compared to other soft programs out there. We will have six styles: casual friezes, more formal constructions and some multi-color products as well.
We also have a collection of multi-color solution-dyed polyesters which is extensive in terms of colors and constructions. We have eight or nine products there. Those will offer color combinations that are not available today in the polyester category. We will also introduce various other PET and nylon products at market.
Is this Phenix’s first foray into the soft fiber arena?
The soft market, and what is considered “soft,” continues to evolve. We have had what were considered soft products in the past, but SureSoft is more in the wheelhouse of where the market is going today, which I would classify as “super soft.”