By Steven Feldman—Dallas—Shaw Industries heads into 2022 with a series of targeted introductions designed to line retailers’ pockets across its three signature brands: Shaw Floors, COREtec and Anderson Tuftex. The manufacturer is either offering enhanced visuals or innovative technology—in some cases, both—that is certain to excite floor covering dealers. Shaw is maintaining its 2021 strategy of phased introductions to ensure it can offer the hallmark service on which it prides itself. Following is an overview of some of the highlights.
The big story on the Shaw Floors soft surface side is the rebranding of its Bellera collection to Pet Perfect, a brand that is expected to resonate with consumers given how about 70% are pet owners.
Up to this point, only Anderson Tuftex had a pet-focused collection, Pet Protect, which became a Lowe’s exclusive in 2021. It was replaced by the Pet Perfect platform, which is now being introduced in Shaw Floors.
“We’re creating a new destination, a new story,” said Teresa Tran, director of soft surface. “Consumers will be drawn to this display from both the lighting and the breadth and depth of products.”
The display is designed for simplicity, both for the retail salesperson and consumer. Pet Perfect products are on the right-hand side of the display, separated from the higher-end Pet Perfect Plus with LifeGuard backing. “Pet Perfect Plus has Anso high-performance fiber, regardless of whether it’s nylon or PET, and it’s backed by the Anso warranty—the best warranty in the industry, which means it’s durable,” Tran said.
The Pet Perfect Plus collection features 18 existing Bellera patterns in addition to four new products, while the entire 19-SKU Pet Perfect line is brand new. Pet Perfect offers a 20-year warranty while Pet Perfect Plus comes with LifeGuard spill-proof technology and, thus, a 25-year warranty. Price points range from $1.99 to $3.99, product only, depending on the style.
On the hardwood side, Shaw Floors is beefing up its premium Repel collection with nine new products: five hickories and four oaks in both lighter and warmer tones. Repel is 100% hardwood—core and veneer—with the Repel finish on top for splash-proof protection.
Landmark is one of Shaw’s widest and longest products, 9 1/4 inches wide x up to 82 1/2 inches long. “If somebody wants something a little more refined, the oak species are fantastic,” said Matt Rosato, director of hard surface. “You have a little character in there, but for the most part, the oaks are very clean, much more refined. And if somebody wants something a little more rustic, you have a couple of stain options and you can even go to a tinted natural that’s highlighting the character of a natural hickory.”
With all the global supply chain challenges, it is advantageous to have domestic capabilities, Rosato said. “Repel offers all the bells and whistles. It’s made in America. It’s got splash-proof technology. It’s got ScufResist Platinum. But in the past with Repel, we’ve always lead with these features and benefits. Now, you have such beautiful products.”
Paragon Natural Bevel in Floorte Pro offers a pillowed bevel that makes it indistinguishable from real hardwood, according to Rosato. “If you look at the evolution of bevels, you started with a micro bevel, almost a square edge. Then you started doing a lacquered accent, which wasn’t as realistic. This third generation of innovation gives such realism to the product.”
He added that this technology is exclusive to Shaw.
Total Works from Shaw is a brand-new approach to what was formally known as sundries. Sundries are a group of products that have always been deemed too unimportant to have their own category, yet they are critical to the entire industry from pre- to post-installation, according to Jon England, vice president, enterprise sundries. “If you think about the flooring install, most of your issues come from the other areas, not the floor itself,” he said. “It’s controlling moisture, it’s controlling humidity. It’s making sure your subfloors are flat.”
Totalworx looks at that total body of work to have a successful install—start to finish, bottom to top. “Shaw can be a partner to provide all of those components for a successful install,” England said. “What we’re trying to do is simplify a very complex area of the business for our sales teams, our retailers and their personnel.”
The simplified approach has five components:
- Prepworx is anything that prepares the subfloor for the installation of a product.
- Groundworx is underlayment and cushion—anything that lives between the subfloor and the product for sound abatement, moisture control and comfort underfoot.
- Lockworx is anything that secures a product in place. It could be adhesive, seam tape, tack strip.
- Finishworx is how that design is finished—trim pieces, stair treads, wall bases.
- Careworx is the post-installation component—the products consumers use to take care of the floor. “A lot of our retailers are trying to hit that up front, put the right products and tools in their customers’ hands to care for the products through the life of the flooring.”
The other piece of this simplification is “decision trees” based on product category. For example, if the subfloor is concrete, the tree takes you down a simplified path: Here’s your primer, your prep, your groundwork, your underlayments, your adhesives, your finishing pieces and your cleaning and maintenance products. “We have these for each category,” England said. “If it’s hardwood, it’ll be a different decision tree. If it’s tile and stone, it’s a different decision tree to make it simple.”
Finally, there will no longer be third-party branding. Everything will be branded Totalworx to create a consistent message to Shaw’s customers.
Last year, COREtec took the wraps off its integrated bevel, which the company says is the most realistic bevel on the market, and introduced it into COREtec Originals, its flagship WPC line. So, this year it should come as no surprise that Shaw will expand on this innovation with nine new SKUs.
After going bold in 2021 with its Blended Series, which blended hickory and oak styles in a 7 x 48 HD plank, this year COREtec went the more traditional route with four walnuts and five oaks in its 7 x 60 HD plank with the integrated bevel. “We had some holes in our original WPC line, and these five oaks are more of the traditional,” said Natalie Cady, director of premium brands, retail. “That integrated bevel really showcases the graining where that beautiful color comes toward you instead of overpowering you.”
Walnut can be very tricky in a rigid core, Cady said, because walnut in real wood has beautiful shade variation within each plank. “And as you work with a bevel, sometimes that color can be slightly off and takes that visual in a different direction than you want. By having it integrated into the actual plank, we can showcase that graining as well as that shade variation from plank to plank and even within the plank. And then, since it’s EIR or HD, we have the ability to have the highs and lows, the light acceptance, so it even becomes more natural after installation.”
Shaw said it was extremely purposeful with its introductions this year. “We want to make sure we have the right colors, the right product and we’re able to service,” Cady explained. “We will have more product coming out in the summer.”
Shaw is one of the few companies that still focuses on WPC. “It is perfect for residential, and COREtec is geared toward residential applications,” Cady stated. “And quiet, comfort and style and design are always where we want to be. Originals is exactly where we want to put our energy toward.”
Shaw has also simplified its COREtec Originals portfolio into a merchandising unit showcasing three WPC collections: Classics, Enhanced and Premium. “Premium is anything that has HD, EIR,” Cady noted. “Our integrated bevels live here as well as our Grande.”
Shaw also put a new schematic by color because it’s no secret that consumers want to see the color first, “then they’ll start figuring out what platforms and features and benefits they like,” Cady added. It is also easy to pull out samples, which are all the same size. “So, literally, let’s say you’re in a store and you want to showcase one specific line or one specific product, you have the ability to put in all of this stacker.”
When Invista sold the Stainmaster and Pet Protect brands to Lowe’s, it left some manufacturers and retailers with a void in their showroom. To that end, Shaw has launched its proprietary Pet Perfect and Pet Perfect Plus brands on both the Shaw Floors and Anderson Tuftex sides.
But Christin Clifford, category manager, Anderson Tuftex Soft Surface, was quick to point out that Pet Perfect is much more than a re-label; rather, it’s rooted in technology. “We had already been working on the Pet Perfect platform as a pet story for Shaw Floors,” she explained. “To be Pet Perfect, it has to be bleach and fade resistant and it also has to be an Anso high-performance fiber, whether nylon or PET.”
Aside from the bleach and fade resistance, Pet Perfect gives Shaw Floors more differentiation. “Before, with Pet Protect, you’re selling the same story as your competitors,” Clifford said. “And now we’re all telling the same story across our soft surface brands. Plus, it’s a much more consumer-focused story. It’s not about nylon 6,6 (Pet Protect was only available on Invista solution-dyed 6,6); it’s about a fiber that’s going to be durable, cleanable and more tailored to what the consumer cares about. It’s a simple story to tell, and we’re all telling it together.”
The warranties are an extension of Shaw’s Anso warranty. “The one big difference is it is going to be bleach and fade resistance from sunlight; UV light,” Clifford added. “And Pet Protect didn’t have the 30-day customer satisfaction warranty that we have with Anso.”
Pet Perfect Plus is the upgrade—everything that’s Pet Perfect but with Shaw’s proprietary LifeGuard backing, which elevates the warranty from 20 to 25 years. LifeGuard is Shaw’s spill-proof backing system that prevents water from leaking to the subfloor. “Shaw Floors has had it for a while, and now AT has it,” Clifford noted.
AT will showcase five highly styled Pet Perfect introductions for this first phase. “We’re also making sure we have each collection addressed,” Cady added. “We have Signature, which is our patterns and textures. We have our Studio and then we have our Classics. We have an introduction for every collection, which allows us to hit all price points and designs.”
Clifford added, “What’s nice is AT really blends in the pet products seamlessly. I feel like we lead with style and design and then we have the pet story as extra power. It is designed for the consumer, but we also take the pets into consideration.”
On the hard surface side, AT is putting the spotlight on two new collections: Grand Estate and Joinery. Grand Estate is an oil-finished collection, a first for AT, in 10 colors. “It’s that clean, European white oak visual, thick veneer, but has that oil finish that gives it that low luster,” Cady said. The line is nearly 10 inches wide in random lengths up to 86 inches.
Joinery offers a wood floor with an inlay, inspired by a Japanese woodworking design element. “The inlays are actually done before we stain it and it’s a reactive white oak—beautiful platform—but it gives it just a little bit more depth and style and is really playing off that geometric visual that has been very popular,” Cady explained. “We know this is not going to be for every floor. So, we have a plank that coordinates with it. You have Joinery and Joinery Flights available in three colors, but it’s just a unique visual, which is perfect for Anderson Tuftex.”