“The wolf is away from the door…..” I have said this in the past few days referring to our business in September and the first weeks of October.  But, I continue, “I think he is still circling the house!”

In this environment, who knows what will come next.  Will the ‘wolf’ be back?  The past two years has been the most difficult of my entire career.  I have never seen a period when a businessman is completely unable to forecast his company.

At Fine Rugs of Charleston, by every measure, September was best month we’ve had in over two years.  Our clients and designers give me a feeling that there may be a resurgent demand in home decorating.  However, you can’t really call it “pent up demand” in a classic sense.  That implies that customer needs which went unfilled for a period are now being filled.  Not by a long shot; things are totally different now and we are adjusting to the changes.

Clients have dialed back their price points, but not their style expectations and quality standards.  This is natural in a recovery and logical when you realize that as business people we always endeavor to have our customer’s trade up. When the ‘wheels fell off’ in late 2008 we may have maxed out our client’s appetite for extravagance.  I see now in our own rug selection we had let a quest for freshness and color push our price points to the sky.   Frankly, I didn’t realize this until the past few weeks as business has begun to improve.

What are we doing differently?  Well, we have addressed our price points by adding a number of more moderately priced, but stylish rug collections to our mix.  For the past year and a half our vendors have been scouring the globe in search of value and these products are now coming to market.  Fine Rugs of Charleston is among the top rug and carpet showrooms in the nation and we are often offered first crack at new lines.

The one pictured here, is a custom Wool program in looped, or cut pile, construction that hits the lowest price point we have ever offered in a custom rug.

Interior Design firms, including Margaret Donaldson Interiors and Riverside Designers use rugs from this collection.  The adjacent room was designed by Jennifer Ferrell of Riverside Designers.

These rugs simulate our Tibetan rugs where we sell a 9×12 rug for up to $8,000.  The 9×12 rug in this collection (net) sells for only $2,300. Standard and custom sizes are offered and the lead time is 3-4 weeks.  Come in and see the Delray or Sierra Collections. Believe me, this product line is helping us “keep the wolf from coming through the door!”

4 comments on “The Wolf at the Door…

  1. Peggy Norris

    Glad to hear business has picked up for your customers…..
    Interesting comments regarding offering lower priced goods.
    You are right about forcasting business plans.
    You worked just as hard to sell that $2000.00 rug as you did to sell that $8000.00 rug.
    Glad to se you are blogging!!!! I am too. it’s fun and good to talk to people in the industry.
    I just designed my own website on my IMAC. Check it out!!!
    Just went to the furniture market and met a cute designer Cortney Bishop who has a studio on Princess Street. Is she on your mailing list. She is doing a big project out west……
    http://www.barlowbishop.com
    cortneybarlowandbishop.com

  2. Rob Post author

    Thanks Peggy,
    I appreciate your comments.
    Rob

  3. Tim Barkley

    Hey Rob-
    It’s good to hear this kind of positive feedback about the local economy. You’re not alone…we’re hearing the same sort of thing from all our clients…that things are improving. Clearly much of the rest of the country is still struggling but thankfully here in Charleston, where everyone wants to move to, we seem to be rebounding. You can see anecdotal evidence of that by the number of out of state license plates you see around town (lots of newcomers moving here with many more on the way as the new Boeing plant opens) as well as the volume of traffic at stores…people are finally buying again. This enthusiasm will just continue to build…as people realize the sky isnt going to fall after all, they will loosen their purse strings. But you’re right, they expect more for less. And I think that’s what we’re all doing these days…providing more and more value, without raising prices. So we’re right there with you! A client of ours recently said, “any company that has lasted this long, is going to make it through this recession.” I think that’s true and I’m glad we’re in the same company! Take care.
    Tim Barkley
    tbarkley@newhomecharleston.com

  4. Rob Post author

    Thanks Tim,
    We are sort of…… “in this boat together”

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