By Megan Salzano-Birch—The market today is over-flowing with luxury vinyl—from burgeoning LVT suppliers to carpet manufacturers turned hard surface makers and even commodity-driven imports. However, in the sea of sameness there are a rare few that have specialized in luxury vinyl from their founding; Karndean is one such rarity.
It began in 1973 when a former flooring installer created a small business from his family home with the belief that luxury vinyl flooring shouldn’t just be practical, it needed to be beautiful, too. Today, Karndean is an expert in luxury vinyl when it comes to not only product development but also in aesthetics and design.
“We take a curated, mindful approach to new design development, introducing six to 12 SKUs at a time, typically,” Jenne Ross, director of marketing, Karndean, told FCNews. “Although this requires significant time, research and investment upfront—and may take longer to come to market—the resulting designs have longevity in the market. Some of our current top sellers have been in the market for more than 20 years.”
According to Ross, this approach instills confidence in Karndean’s partners that the investment they make in the company’s products will turn sales years from now. “The fact that these designs still resonate with consumers after all this time is a testament to our design quality and innovation in LVT,” she said.
The same care and quality Karndean puts into its products and designs extends to its relationships with its partners as well. “At its roots, Karndean is a small, family-owned company, and because of that we put customer service at the heart of what we do,” Ross explained. “From our dedicated customer service representatives to our technical advisors who will FaceTime with installers onsite, we are here to provide support whenever and wherever it is needed.”
But don’t just take Karndean’s word for it, the company’s retail partners are all too happy to share their vast and happy experiences with the LVT supplier. Candy Weisenberger, co-owner of House 2 Home Flooring and Design, Ham Lake, Minn., for example, has been a customer of Karndean’s for nearly 10 years and said she’s never looked back. “The ride has been fun—we went from two displays to being one of four Platinum dealers in the state of Minnesota. We love Karndean. The visuals—there isn’t anything like it. And it’s easy to sell something you believe in.”
For Joanie Beazley of Asheville, N.C.-based Carpet One Floor & Home, the company’s claim about service is spot on. “They have amazing customer service, in my opinion, and I have one of the best sales representatives,” she explained. “My rep, Patrick, consistently goes above and beyond. He answers my questions after hours, on vacation and responds quickly. The merchandising team is also on point and always willing to help out.”
When it comes to the product itself, Beazley noted that Karndean is her favorite floor to sell. “It is a unique product due to the thousands of design options,” she said. “We can use this floor in a commercial setting with intricate patterns or residential for a traditional-looking floor that looks like the real thing. I also love that they have options in most products that allow the client to choose the best application: glue down, floating or click.”
In addition to its unique approach to product design, Karndean’s sales approach also helps it stand out from the crowd. “For us, every design consultation should start with a conversation about the space itself before looking at displays; in other words, start with layout vs. product format,” Ross explained.
Weisenberger said her staff always utilizes the approach. “My staff is really good at it. We always start with their lifestyle, needs and wants, to get them in the right direction. Then that’s where having the glue-down options and customization allows you to really build and create something unique for your clients. In our 6,000-square-foot showroom we have about 5,000 square feet of custom inlays and vignettes. About 2,500 to 3,000 square feet of that is Karndean.”