In the latest issue, COVER 65, Editor Lucy Upward talks to six international rug retailers about how the pandemic has changed their business and how they see the industry moving forwards in 2022. Here we present the third and fourth extended interviews online with Theresa Paulig, CEO of German brand Paulig and Ned Baker, Marketing Generalist at Baltimore-based Tamarian.
Theresa Paulig, CEO of Paulig
What changes to your company have you noticed occur during the pandemic? We see a very strong trend towards cocooning. Now more than ever consumers see their home as an island against the outside. On the one hand families are becoming even closer and are spending more time together. On the other hand, due to Covid almost all companies adapted to remote working. So, consumers had to create a home where their work and living space can come together. For both reasons consumers are heavily investing in building and creating a beautiful home to fit the new requirements.
Is this something you see likely to stay in place post pandemic? Definitely! Cocooning is a trend that started long before the pandemic. Covid reinforced it and changed our view on how a modern work-life-balance will look like even post-pandemic. That’s why homes are and will be prepared for living and working in them. Still, comfort is key, and homing will always come first.
Have customer buying habits changed due to Covid-19? They did in terms of sustainability, not only environmental but also social. Due to worldwide delivery difficulties caused by Covid, consumers became more sensitive to where their product comes from and who manufactures it. For Paulig a transparent supply chain and the use of natural materials is not new, as a family company both have always been majorly important and deeply rooted in our values. Respecting and appreciating each other are a matter of course. We are happy consumers are demanding it more and more.
How do you see design trends and buying trends developing in 2022? We see consumers being bold when it comes to colours and structures. They are not afraid to mix colours or designs. On the contrary there is a trend where everything is super soft and warm. All natural materials are definitely upcoming. Either way more attention to practical and flexible use of home furniture is demanded to combine work and living.
Ned Baker, Marketing Generalist at Tamarian
What changes to your company have you noticed occur during the pandemic? Tamarian was poised to make some significant changes right as the pandemic hit so for us, it was an opportunity to accelerate those changes and embrace an evolution that was coming like it or not! Letting go of past habits, comforts that were no longer serving us, and fear of change were, and still are, difficult but necessary exercises in order to grow.
Is this something you see likely to stay in place post pandemic? Yes. I feel we have gained confidence in identifying what we feel can ‘fall away’ and embracing the positives that lead to success and fulfilment.
Have customer buying habits changed due to Covid-19? Yes and no. The demand has increased which gives wholesale buyers more confidence but with a gluttony of product choice available, you still have to give the market incentive to choose your pieces. For us, it’s a commitment to hand-knotted qualities using authentic materials coupled with our service to our clients that has helped us thrive in challenging climates.
How do you see design trends and buying trends developing in 2022? I see the demand continuing into 2022 with supply chains still gummed up somewhat and the top of the market engaged in a lot of real estate transactions and renovations. Comfort from more traditionally leaning designs will out-trend the more daring contemporary looks but in general buyers are individuals so it’s hard to say where the moods of inspiration will lead them so we stand poised to go wherever they may lead us!