Paige Albright・Paige Albright Orientals, Birmingham, AL
How has your business changed over the last 18 months without in-person shows and other restrictions? We have sold more of our own inventory rather than purchasing new, fresh pieces. And we have been working strictly from photos when purchasing any new inventory. Also we began a weekly email when COVID first began. It is more of a conversation about all things rugs and rug-related items. It became more important to connect with our clients and educate them on our world of textiles. It has really taken off and I cannot tell you how many conversations begin with ‘I read your Saturday email and…’.
How important do you see in-person shows as being for the rug industry? Very! It is equally important to meet in person and share ideas as it is to touch and feel the quality of the carpets being purchased. Camaraderie is priceless. We all enjoy talking all things rugs when we get together.
What are you looking forward to seeing at CCNY? Are you hoping to see something in particular? New patterns. I’m especially excited to see a few new vendors from outside the US like Battilossi.
How important is it to have a rug-focused trade fair in NY in September? Extremely!! We are stronger together. We need to see each other face to face and build the human connection. It goes a long way. I always come away with fresh ideas after ‘rug chats’ with fellow merchants.
From your recent selling experience, what trends have you seen emerge in rug buying over the last 18 months? Traditional, comfortable, sustainable, colourful.
Do you have any plans for your business for the next year that you can share with us? More is more! Working toward a few trunk shows outside of Birmingham. #whyknot
Brian Robins・Kush Rugs, Portland, OR
How has your business changed over the last 18 months? The biggest change we’ve implemented is requiring an appointment with a specific sales person. Our goal was to protect our staff’s health by minimising casual gallery traffic. We were rather nervous about the policy’s impact, however it has allowed staff to focus their full attention on the buyers they are assisting. We’re contemplating making the change permanent.
How important do you see in-person shows for the rug industry? It’s always preferable to view rugs and samples in person. Pictures are convenient, however they’re not a favourable substitute for in-person viewing. Shows are critical to a well-rounded industry perspective. They take you out of your regional bubble and expose you to a multitude of ideas and trends all at once. Industry events are also an excellent opportunity to glean and share insights with colleagues.
What are you looking forward to seeing at CCNY? We’re always looking for wild, fresh, and exciting pieces. New colour combos, weaves, and innovative designs are what we’ll be keying in on.
How important is it to have a rug-focused trade fair in NY in September? I’m not sure how critical the timing, or the location of the show, is to us. Most rugs we order will be exactly that, an order, so they won’t necessarily be at our gallery until after the new year. As for NY, it’s a hell of a city and an exciting place to visit, however we’d travel almost anywhere for a compelling show. We’ve done The Rug Show in LA and NY, Vegas Market, Atlanta Market, ICFF, Maison & Objet, and Domotex Hannover. Each show has a distinct personality and they’ve all been valuable experiences.
From your recent selling experience, what trends have you seen emerge in rug buying over the last 18 months? Custom-custom-custom. Our clients want unique options for their area rug needs. Even when we work with our wholesale partners, team Kush often handles the graphic design. It allows for a quicker turn around and cleaner communication between us and our client.
Do you have any plans for your business for the next year that you can share with us? We’re relocating to a larger space with offstreet parking. Our team and clients could not be more thrilled!