Lexmark to produce residential designs reminiscent of hospitality successes

Home Inside FCNews Lexmark to produce residential designs reminiscent of hospitality successes

January 5/12, 2015; Volume 28/Number 14

By K.J. Quinn

When dealers check out Lexmark Carpet Mill’s new residential boutique collection of patterned goods at Surfaces 2015, executives are confident the designs will turn heads.

“We have done good market research and I think retailers are going to flip out when they see it,” said Ed Williams, president of Lexmark’s residential division. The new styles are made from a new pattern LCL machine that “enables us to create some unique looks in residential that haven’t been seen before.”

The new line, called Tailored by Lexmark, is made possible by tufting equipment that enables the company to create patterns that have a higher level of definition than a standard cut loop machine and to vary the density in a single piece of carpet. These two characteristics together allow the mill to create more sophisticated looks with depth and dimension not previously possible.

“We can produce cut piles and other types of carpets,” Williams said. “This machine can make patterned groups with more of a three-dimensional look, a real high-definition product.”

The inaugural line consists of eight styles ranging from refined linen to worn wood, with each pattern consisting of multiple colors. “The looks range from refined and formal to rustic and weathered,” said Justin Cash, vice president of business development and marketing. “Everything is produced using solution-dyed yarn, giving it outstanding fade and stain resistance.”

To help distinguish the line, Lexmark has created designs that resemble looks typically seen in public areas and guest rooms in hospitality settings, a market serviced by Lexmark since 1993. “I think the collection gives a very high-end designer look at a very reasonable price,” said Elisabeth Stubbs, owner of Enhance Floors & More in Marietta, Ga., who previewed the line. “I see these designs used for stair runners, rugs and, of course, wall-to-wall installation. I think the value and the stain resistance are important parts of the story.”

Michael Goldberg, chairman and CEO, Rite Rug, Columbus, Ohio, also spoke to the exceptional designs featured in Tailored by Lexmark. “The new patterns are beautiful; Lexmark’s extensive experience with hospitality styling can really be seen in their new styles. I believe there has been a lack of residential patterns for years, and Lexmark is helping fill the void with on-trend styles that will hit the right price point for consumers.”

In recent years, home trends have moved more toward tone-on-tone paint schemes as the difficult process of changing wallpaper and/or faux finishes have made them a thing of the past. The new carpet styles tie in with upscale design trends prominent within residential interiors today.

“Many of the new designs are quite unique and innovative,” Stubbs said. “The styles are very graphic and will definitely [allow carpet to be] a statement piece in the home.”

The Tailored collection helps consumers create an iconic look in areas of the home where carpet is the preferred floor covering, mainly bedrooms, game rooms and formal living spaces. “The collection looks high end, so margins should be excellent on these products,” Stubbs added. “I think these patterns must be displayed in large sample sizes, so they are easily discernable. I think if displayed properly, clients will naturally gravitate toward this collection.”

With the new collection from Lexmark, consumers are provided with a highly styled look and exceptional value, while the designs are unique enough to enable retailers to maximize their profit margins, Lexmark executives said. The products are positioned in the upper mid-range and are expected to retail for around $30 per square yard, uninstalled.

In addition, Lexmark is developing a merchandising display that will allow consumers to visualize the carpet as it will appear inside their homes. “We’re working on a new display, similar to something you would find in a high-end fashion boutique,” Cash explained. “It will leverage large swatches that can be laid flat on the floor.”

Williams added, “It’s going to be an attractive boutique display with blankets on it, and it will be sure to catch the eye. The consumer is going to be drawn to it.”

Tailored represents the latest innovation since Lexmark entered the residential sector in 2012 after years of success in the hospitality industry. Since that time, Lexmark has invested in new machinery and extended its footprint, which has enabled the mill to create an ideal mix of highly styled carpets appealing to a broad segment of consumers.

“Our new manufacturing facility has put corporate headquarters, tufting, extrusion and heat setting under one roof,” Williams said. “The [larger space] has allowed us to continue to add manufacturing equipment.” The equipment additions—which include two extrusion lines, heat setting equipment and a 1⁄12-gauge 4 E loop scroll—will allow Lexmark to offer better service and unique styling.

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