Advances in technology have dramatically impacted the way handmade rugs are brought to the market. Not only have printed catalogs been replaced by cds or online catalogs, many buyers are able to limit their trade show travel time and expense and simply place orders from established manufacturers from the comfort of their office chair, pretty much the same way consumers purchase items online.
Nejad Rugs had two beautiful wholesale trade showrooms in Atlanta, Georgia and High Point, North Carolina. These huge multi building complexes housed thousands of big and small manufacturers and importers. Twice a year in each location the trade markets are held and retailers from around the country and world attend. Before the internet took hold, it was like watching an empty city fill up for five days and empty in one. Sometimes I would go to our High Point Showroom off market and it was like the proverbial ghost town, half expecting to see tumble weeds blowing down the main streets. Ten show days a year really wasn’t the best use of very costly real estate. Our High Point, NC showroom was my favorite trade location because furniture design is another passion of mine, and High Point was the furniture capital of the world.
Whenever I could find time to steal away I would visit my friends at the
furniture and accessory showrooms. Baker, Henderdon, Hinkle Harris, Kindel, Karges, Stickley, Matland Smith and my favorite Italian Furniture Maker, Giemme Francesco Molon. My designs worked so well with Giemme Francesco Molon they used my rugs for their gorgeous catalog as seen on their website.
It was fantastic to walk the furniture galleries of some of the most talented
interior designers and imagine the next rug collections to coordinate with the latest furniture and fabric trends. Many of my rug designs were conceived during these trade shows. In High Point, we had taken over the Shaw Rugs space in the IHFC building. We had really great neighbors including Oriental Weavers, Momeni, Bokara Rug, Couistan, Jaunty, and Mohawk. It was always a pleasure seeing these tremendously talented and hard working people during the shows. Unfortunately Oriental Rug retail stores have a reputation for unprofessional, super aggressive
salespeople more interested in ripping apart their competitors than talking about their own business, making the buying experience confusing, stressful and unpleasant for customers. This is something you will never find at our Doylestown, Bucks County rug gallery and was also the complete opposite with the Oriental Rug Importers during the trade shows. Although we were all competitors, the level of mutual respect and cooperation was tremendous. If one importer didn’t have what a buyer was looking for, they would often send them to another importer who did. I am very fortunate to have made lifelong friends with many of these people and wish each of them continued success.
Our Atlanta trade showroom was another beautiful space with again many of the leading rug importers as neighbors including Safavieh, Feizy Rugs, Home Fries, Jerry Aziz, Lofty and Sons, Megerian, Moosavi Rugs, Peel, Renaissance, Shalom Brothers and directly across the hallway Kalaty. Because Atlanta also had an accessory trade show, I was able to see the latest designs in from home fashion icons such as Ralph Lauren and Barbara Berry to name two.
But technology made our trade showrooms redundant. More and more of our buyers stopped attending these quarterly shows and started ordering from our digital catalogs. This meant we didn’t have to wait three months to see our buyers to show them our new Nejad Rugs’ designs. We could send emails and JPEGS the moment a new design was ready to be introduced – all from of my Bucks County design studio Not only did this save everyone a tremendous amount of money previously spent on
expensive air travel and hotels, buyers could spend more time on product selection and less time running from showroom to showroom.
For buyers who prefer to see our rugs in person, we will make travel arrangements for them to come to Philadelphia and visit our warehouses in Doylestown Township, Pa. and Quakertown, Pa. I have found that this makes for a much more personalized and relaxing buying experience for our Nejad Rugs dealers. Although, I still think trade shows play an important role in the market place, they are not the necessity they once were before the age of the Internet. We still may decide to open another
trade showroom at some time in the future but for now, the internet is working for our wholesale business just fine.
Happy Rug Shopping!