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Shaw rug roolout: two lines due under new license.

DALTON, Ga.--Tracy Porter, a designer of limited-distribution handpainted furniture and accessories, has developed two signature area rug collections for Shaw Industries under a licensing agreement intended to bring an upscale image to Shaw's burgeoning rug business.

The licensing agreement is expected to bolster Shaw's placements in furniture stores and gift shops, since Porter's furniture and accessories are widely distributed in these channels.

One group of rugs--Tracy Porter, The Home Collection--is earmarked specifically for home fashions, gift and accessories stores.

The other--Tracy Porter by Shaw Rugs--is geared to traditional rug markets such as furniture stores and specialty shops.

At first blush, it's an unlikely coupling: a designer from a handicraft tradition working for a giant of mass production. But Don Whitfield, vice president of Shaw Rugs, said this strategic alignment is designed to make the most of the strengths of both parties. "Shaw expects to utilize Porter's stalents to create new marketing opportunities for woven area rugs. It's a great combination of talent and capabilities, an excellent fit," he said.

Porter's executives had similar views. "The rug designs tie in nicely with her furniture creations. There is a marriage between the furniture and rug markets. It will open up new channels of distribution for both companies," said Deb Hernandez, director of marketing for Tracy Porter.

It's also the combination aimed at getting Shaw Rugs firmly onto the sales floors of the furniture stores and gift shops of America. Shaw has been bolstering its rug business in the past year, and Porter's designs are expected to give the division some cachet.

The Tracy Porter by Shaw collection will be sold through Shaw's in-house sales organization and will be available in five sizes, from small accent rugs to 6 by 9 area rugs. Retail prices will range from $69.95 to $199. The line is aimed at traditional rug outlets such as specialty stores and larger furniture stores, not discounters or mass merchandisers.

The Home Collection will be sold through a network of 10 independent sales agencies specializing in the gift and accessories market. The companies include Ivan Bloom Associates, Chicago; Napp Deady Inc., Atlanta; Firestone & Associates, Los Angeles, and Remington-Freeman Ltd., New York.

The rugs will be unveiled at Napp Deady's High Point, N.C., showroom in April. They will be available in two sizes: "small" (3 feet, 3 inches by 4 feet, 8) and "petite" (30 by 40 inches). Suggested retail for the small is $69.95. The petite will retail for $39.95. The Home Collection consists of approximately 24 designs.

Both groups are woven on Shaw's eight-color looms of stain-resistant, two-ply heat-set polypropylene.

The two groups are mutually exclusive from the standpoint of design and end-use, according to Whitfield. However, both lines play on Porter's recurring themes of animals, botanicals and arts and crafts. The Home Collection will coordinate with other Porter-designed items for the home. These products, marketed independently from Shaw, include handpainted furniture, accessories and home textiles known as Stone-house Farm Goods.

"These rugs offer maximum profit potential for the retailer and great value for the consumer," Whitfield said. "Tracy Porter is at the cutting edge of design, and that's where we want to position ourselves."

Retailers are given product protection from mass marketers and discount houses. "These aren't items to be shopped from store to store. They are impulse items that will give the consumer instant gratification and tremendous perceived value," Whitfield said.

Shaw has developed a series of design fixtures for small and large stores. A small grid rack will hold 12 to 14 small and petite rugs. A swinging arm rack will hold up to 40 rugs in varying sizes.
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Title Annotation:Shaw Industries
Author:Wyman, Lissa
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:Mar 4, 1996
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