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Showing posts from July, 2011

Axminster icon, Brintons Carpet, in default

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Brintons Carpets is in default of their covenants with Lloyds Banking Group according to a recent article published in the British Business Sale Report  (British Carpet business seeking a white knight).

Brintons was a formidable competitor when I was a wholesale distributor of Mohawk Carpet supplying national chains like Wendy's, Bob Evans, Hyatt Hotels and others. This nearly 230 year old company managed by the sixth generation of the founders is based in Kidderminster, England. It has a brilliant history and was once the leader of pattern axminster carpet production globally. In America, their strength was in woven axminster carpet for the commercial market; in the UK and Europe patterned residential carpet was their largest market.  Late in the 20th century, Brintons purchased the Mohawk axminster plant in Greenville, Mississippi from Sam Silver.  Sam, an ex-Vice President of Mohawk, had purchased the plant from David Kolb and named it US Axminster. For a long…

Clear thinking and innovation needed in the floor covering industry

Neither the economy or consumer confidence will likely improve any time soon.  Clear thinking and innovation are necessary for our floor covering industry to increase revenue and become more profitable.   

Executives often dismiss long term issues during difficult times; too many other issues to resolve.  It is now time to take a new and long view of our industry’s critical issues.  For example, unit sales of carpet were decreasing for years before the financial implosion.  Most floor covering retailers did not recognize the decline because it was offset by price increases.  There are many more critical issues to consider.  Paraphrasing hockey great Wayne Gretzky: “are you going where the puck is or where it is going to be?” 

One of my favorite authors is Ed De Bono.  He is considered the father of lateral thinking.  He writes that we should all be aware of “errors in thinking.”  I share this because clear thinking is an imperative for the flooring industry to remain relevant and be…

What's changing in the carpet fiber industry?

While I’m best known as the guy who solves problems  (particularly in the carpet industry) I get asked a lot of things about carpet: what’s new in fiber and construction for example.  Things are changing.  Nylon, once the undisputed king, is giving way to polyester, and,  there’s a new fiber called PTT.  Let’s take a look at this and more….

Nylon has been the dominant fiber used in carpet for several decades. There have been fluctuations over the years where nylon, polyester and polypropylene (olefin) have gained and lost share, and while nylon still holds the largest fiber share, polyester is gaining fast, especially in the residential segment. 

It’s hard to pin down actual fiber shares. Reports vary, but recently Floor Covering News reported that in 2005 polyester had a 13% market share which increased to 18% by 2009. During that same time, olefin shrank from 28% to 22%, indicating that polyester’s rise was at the expense of olefin. Recent estimates coming from Invista say that nyl…

Getting Started: Social Media For Floor Covering Businesses

Getting started with social media can be overwhelming, particulary if you're already feeling pressed for time just to deal with normal floor covering business priorities.

At the same time, ignoring it isn't wise because social media tools aren't going away, customers have adopted them and flooring businesses aren't immune to the digital and social forces affecting us all.

If you don't believe me, check out Erik Qualman's hot-off-the-press update 3 of his Social Media Revolution video.

[Subscribers, click on this link to view Social Media Revolution 3 Video on YouTube.]

Luckily, more and more in the floor covering industry have been paying attention. They are becoming more digitally immersed with tools such as blogs [see Social Flooring Blog Index - April 2011 which refers to 168 vs. 88 blogs], Facebook Fan pages, LinkedIn and Twitter, and also more engaged in the conversations taking place [see Social Flooring Index Conversations - April 11].

In the process of…