Karastan Breaks Off Area Rugs From Broadloom; Roan to Head Division
January 11, 2010,
ATLANTA-Karastan has reorganized its sales force and product line, separating area rugs from broadloom.
Rug veteran Steve Roan has been named vice president of the new Karastan Rugs division. He started in the new position last month.
"Karastan is the leader at the higher end, and Mohawk (Karastan's parent company) is the leader at the entry level," Roan told HFN at the International Area Rug Market. "We're missing the whole, happy middle," and the new strategy will take advantage of that, he said. Roan has been in the flooring industry since 1987, and has held positions with such companies as Shaw. Most recently he owned companies importing wool and machine-made rugs.
The majority of the Karastan sales force will stay with the broadloom division, Roan said, while three people have been tapped for the new area rug regions: Bill Roach will become the Northeast regional vice president, Ed McRae the Western regional vice president, and Dave Matamoros the Southeast regional vice president. Roan is still looking for a Midwest regional vice president, he said. Under each regional vice president will be about three to five territory managers, he added.
The new sales force will also offer the premium Mohawk Select rugs to certain distributors, Roan said, but he emphasized that Karastan and Mohawk are two distinct brands and they will work hard to "maximize that to a fault," Roan said. "We'll probably miss opportunities so it's not perceived as crossover."
Karastan also debuted a newer, lower price point: $499 for a 5.5-by-8.5-foot rug. "Price points have trended down over the years," he said. "We're not trading down, but we want to get the person who couldn't afford a Karastan rug before to be able to do so now."
Anne Carley, director of marketing, said the new price points and styles will attract new customers to Karastan. The new rug line, which may have its own label, is made of nylon, and not of polypropylene "like everybody else...," Carley said. "The new line will give us opportunities to find that generation [people in their 20s and 30s] in new [distribution areas] as well as traditional retailers." About 60 designs were shown at the Rug Market, and more will join the line for Las Vegas Market, for a total of about 80 to 100 styles.