Just like fashion designers, we have our custom pieces (haute couture) and our collections (ready-to-wear). However, we don’t walk our carpets down the runway, so trade shows are where we present our collections “in the wool” to current and potential retailers.
We are shortly off to NYICS – the New York International Carpet Show - taking place this year from September 7 – 9. It’s been interesting to see this relatively new fair (10 years) steadily growing. Domotex in Germany and Forza Tappeti in Italy are longer-running and among the ones we have attended regularly during our 25 years in the business.
The Natural Dye Collection was only set into motion during Carol Sebert’s spring trip to Nepal when she finally discovered a dye master with the requisite skill in natural dyes. Once the design “Percolate” was established, then came the inevitable of toing and froing with samples in various colourways. We finally settled on five for the launch of the collection but only one of them has made it off the loom in time for the show. Mulberry, which will take pride of place at our booth, thankfully arrived in Toronto last week.
Unlike fashion, our collections are not tied to a particular year and season. While rugs within collections continue to be popular with our retailers, we continue to add designs and colourways. Consequently, also up front and centre in the booth, will be Drift and Shale, two new designs for the XXV Collection released in 2013. Within that collection, we will also premiere three new colourways of the highly popular Dream design, and a blue version of much-loved Suspension.
In our Toronto office, Abigail Williams is the chief logistician for trade shows because - in addition to her design work - she also manages CMI’s relationships with retailers. In order to have the new designs in time for the show, she is in constant communication with the different mills. She, more than anyone, breathed a heavy sigh of relief when Shale left Nepal on Monday headed directly to New York via Fedex.
Last week, Abigail was busy was selecting all the rugs she wanted for the show and physically loading them up on a skid. In New York, she will unload them and make them all pretty with the input of president Carol Sebert who is naturally an essential member of the trade show delegation.
Abigail still has to finalize the details of the draw with Reto Aschwandan who will travel to New York from Label STEP’s headquarters in Switzerland. The rug raffle has an interesting history dating back to our anniversary celebrations last November when many visitors were invited to take part in the design process. From the 60 designs that emerged, six were selected for online voting and “#58” was the design that headed off to Nepal. No doubt, Abigail is looking forward to making the call that tells someone they are the lucky winner of a one-of-kind rug valued at $5,000.
And when business moves from the trade show to somewhere more comfortable, our favourite place to entertain clients in New York is the Soho Grand hotel where many of our rugs can be appreciated in situ. Nothing is more apt than discussing floorcoverings in the bar area while gazing upon a splendid sweep of our woven axminster.
Abigail doesn’t know it yet, but once the trade show business is complete, there’ll be a quick trip to the Park Hyatt. The hotel only opened last week, so it will be the first opportunity to inspect our lobby carpeting. And thinking back to our collections, it’s interesting to note that although the Park Hyatt was a custom project, the designer at Yabu Pushelberg actually chose to use the Glow design from our Aerial collection which was remastered in an exclusive colour combination.