Interwoven offers aggressive product launches

Resources are expanding their lines with an eye on the recovery, not the current retail slowdown

HIGH POINT — Textile and leather resources looking to stay current with styles and values across their product lines came to the spring edition of Interwoven this week with plenty of new introductions ultimately aimed at driving consumer interest on retail floors heading into next year.

Presenting a combination of color and textured looks and designs, many also offered strong values including within starting price points on a wide mix of seating to be launched later this fall.

Given that the show was just barely three weeks from the April High Point Market, some said the event felt lightly attended, the result of buyer fatigue that also has resulted from extended trips to Milan and the recently concluded HD Expo.

Nonetheless, there was plenty to see in both fabric and leather as resources came prepared to show the latest across a wide mix of styles, including updated traditional and artisanal looks to contemporary and modern designs in pillow patterns, plus a wide color palette in body cloths, ranging from neutrals to bright colors including greens, blues, orange and russet tones.

At Sunbrella, there were some 25 new patterns with multiple colorways for a total of 160 new SKUs the company said were inspired by “artisanal influences, inviting textures and rich, earthy colorways.” Many of the looks are designed to work in both indoor and outdoor settings, complementing the design of frames that also can work as easily inside one’s home as in outdoor settings, as well as sunrooms and screened-in porches as the fabrics are bleach cleanable, mold and mildew and fade resistant.

Company officials acknowledged the challenges at retail that will certainly impact not only the sale of fabrics from this market, but also from last fall that were just shown on new frames at the April High Point Market. However, there appeared to be plenty of interest from those attending the show, particularly in textures, colors and new patterns.

“People still want newness and freshness,” said Amy Gillam, design director, adding that many companies are still working through inventories as they navigate the current business environment and try “to figure out what’s next. But they are going to do it in a way that is rightsized for their business.”

Regardless, the pricing structure of the line offers a good-better-best story that aims to provide something for every customer need.

“We are focused on creating value at all levels, from basic solutions to top-tier luxury offerings,” Gillam added.

Culp’s introductions included several new style categories aimed at evoking moods inspired by natural settings and themes, including Folk Future, Desert Palm and Homespun to name a few. Each features dozens of new patterns and colors, offering customers a wide selection providing both texture and comfort.

Culp’s showroom in Congdon Yards in downtown High Point showcased many new patterns and colorways across a range of price points.

They also are aimed at creating a new level of inspiration for retailers and their customers.

“They need something new on the floor when business does come back,” said Tammy Buckner, senior vice president of design and marketing, noting that the line offers a good-better-best pricing story along with high levels of style and comfort in each segment. “We have given it an equal focus to provide value in each area.”

Culp said it received positive response to its new fabrics as well as its new partnership with HeiQ that offers the company’s Allergen Tech enhanced interior upholstery fabrics, with Culp as the exclusive supplier. The company said that Allergen Tech addresses problems ranging from dust mite matter to pet allergens in textiles “with the help of active probiotics, making it ideal for applications in upholstered furniture, such as sofas, armchairs, and other upholstered furniture products, which are among the household items that are rarely or never washed.”

“We introduced this new option at Interwoven to all of our customers and had HeiQ on site for demonstrations and questions,” Buckner told Home News Now. “It is a finish that we can apply to any fabric in our line and it works with our LiveSmart or Washables line if the customer wanted to offer it as a part of their performance line.  It doesn’t wash away or wear off so it does last for the lifetime of the fabric. This has been perfect timing for introduction with it being in the middle of North Carolina allergy season.”

“We’ve been really excited about the reception it has gotten at Interwoven and think it’s a great addition to our Health and Wellness fabric offerings,” Buckner added.

These and other resources also noted that combined with innovation, competitive pricing remains key in today’s marketplace, and many values were to be had in starting price points in particular.

For example, STI Revolution’s Game Changer line offered seven new patterns and a total of 38 SKUs priced from $3 to $4.50 per yard. Available from the company’s North Carolina and Mississippi warehouses at the end of May, these and other fabrics in its Lone Star and Benson lines are part of the Express program that ships product in as little as a few days or less from the time of order. Other special order fabrics in the line are available within roughly seven weeks.

Revolution STI showed a mix of blue tones on pillows and ottomans that contrasted with the neutral tone of the body cloth on this sectional.

The company also has a mix of product that falls toward the upper end of the line spanning from about $10 to $19 a yard, offering a mix for a wide range of customers.  

Officials note that the depth and breadth of the line, including its presence in the outdoor segment, has helped grow the business in challenging times. Officials noted that in particular, the domestically produced line avoids issues such as rising container rates along with potential customs delays not to mention tariffs on fabrics imported from China.

“You take all of those issues out of the equation,” said Sean Gibbons, president and chief executive officer.

Still, domestic producers appear to face ongoing competition from importers, whose introductions also were strong in the starting price points. For example, Nice Link’s mix includes 60 patterns and 10 colorways for an estimated 600 SKUs, half of which are pillow patterns and half of which are body cloths. Including freight and China tariffs, the line ranges from roughly $2.95 to $10.95 per yard.

Jim Ennis, president and chief executive officer of Vision Fabrics, shows some of the colorful new fabrics at the company’s showroom.

With a line that spans from $2.95 to $17.95 per yard for indoor fabrics and $7.95 to $12.95 for outdoor fabrics, Vision Fabrics also offers a good-better-best story, thus appealing to a broad range of customers.

That said, company President and CEO Jim Ennis said it’s still a challenging time at retail, particularly given some of the still high inventory levels.

“It is difficult for them to get rid of what has been in the supply chain,” he noted, adding that some are still not “able to buy anything new. It think we are in it for the rest of the year.”

For that reason, he and others note that price remains a critical factor in the overall value equation for those in the market for new product.

“You have to have an entry level, and you have to be priced right,” he said, while also acknowledging the importance of style. “We are in a fashion business, so if it’s good, they’ll buy it.”

Mossy Meadows is one of the design and color palettes available from Nice Link.

But some also acknowledged the timing of the show just a few weeks after the April market was a challenge, particularly those with an already heavy travel schedule.

“The biggest complaint we have is that manufacturers are still following up with retailers from the last market,” said Doug Henderson, vice president of residential fabrics. “With retail being soft, it makes it a little tighter.”

Regardless, Henderson noted, not everyone is gravitating to the lowest prices. Instead they are looking for design and texture across multiple price points.

“People are still in love with super-soft fabrics,” he said, adding that price is not always the determining factor in what they order. “In the past, the promotional guys didn’t want to buy above $2. Now they are all looking for style more than price.”

R. Sackett Wood, chief executive officer of Moore & Giles, shows some of the colorful new leathers at the company’s showroom at Interwoven.

Color was also a key aspect of the palette, with a mix of blues, greens and russet tones. Texture and color also were part of the mix at various leather resources such as Moore & Giles. Its mix of new leathers ranged from highly polished and colorful aniline hides to new colors in its Nu Buck line featuring lightly buffed hides with a soft, velvetlike texture.

While the company said traffic felt a little lighter than normal because of heavy travel schedules, company officials appeared pleased with the show overall.

“We are not setting any records, but this is a good show,” said R. Sackett Wood, chief executive officer, noting that it gives customers a good foundation to see and choose what they like. “And we’ll edit down what we show here.”

These are some of the patterns available in the Revival performance fabric line by J. Allen Fabric.

With product coming from Italy, New Zealand, Germany, Thailand and India, the company has a vast mix that primarily spans price points ranging from $3 to $7 a yard, with some higher grade product priced slightly higher.

“We offer a value proposition, but the best leathers are more expensive,” he noted. “We are not defaulting to the lower price points.”

Speed to market was another part of the value equation resources touted, ranging from Revolution’s quick delivery in its Game Changer line to J. Allen Fabric’s domestically stocked Revive performance fabric line which includes six patterns and a total of 51 SKUs priced from $2.75 to $4.95 per yard. Soon to be available from its Los Angeles warehouse, it aims to ship within a couple of days from the time of order.

With retail being soft, the company believes the strategy will help separate it from the competition by providing customers with what they want and when they want it.

“We will be able to give them a variety of product,” said Bob Kyle, who handles sales for the Midwest territory. “In tough times, the only way to grow is to take market share from your competitors. That is what we are trying to do.”

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at and at 336-508-4616.

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