Welcome back faithful [sic] readers of The Ruggist! After a near two month hiatus leaving the world of rugs wondering what I could possibly be doing, I have returned to blogging so as not to leave everyone in despair. Furthermore, I’d hate for people to think that I have abandoned this blog, when in fact I haven’t. There have been other, more pressing concerns afoot, which we’ll get into later. So without further digressions, let’s begin. Ooops! First though, a warning. This story is a bit winding, but it does get to a point. I promise.
December’s post was only half hearted as I was in the midst of tending to what has become an all encompassing project. Red Spruce. (You can see the website here, or for the press release you can click here.) The short version is that through a chance meeting and a long feasibility study I have launched my own rug company. Some would say this was inevitable, but for me it is the natural progression of anyone who is creative and in the rug business. Hmm, that is inevitable isn’t it?. Of course, this begs to ask “What is Red Spruce?”.
Red Spruce (fully Red Spruce Limited et L’Épinette Rouge Limitée aux francais, we are in Canada, eh?) is according to my own marketing “The premier maker of authentic hand-hooked rugs and carpets.” To expand on this. What Red Spruce makes are fully attributed, artist designed Nova Scotia hand-hooked rugs and carpets, made in North America, made without child labour, that are some of the most sustainable rugs (and carpets) around. All wool (or wool and cashmere if you’d like) construction, linen foundations, colour variations not easily achieved in knotted carpets, commissioning options rivaling the best, and a unique aesthetic that marries the modern and contemporary with the time honoured. All of this in a luxury product for which there are few if any justifiable competitors.
What am I talking about “more pressing matters”?
It dawned on me last December that the time was right to strike. To either sink or swim. To take a gamble, and not jump the shark. So I started writing the business plan. And writing. And writing. Then some spreadsheets, et cetera. By the time my weather aborted Amsterdam vacation rolled around (we ended up in NYC instead, and looked for a runner at the Odegard Warehouse) the business plan stretched on for many pages, and a course was charted.
On top of this is my parallel work with Robin Gray Design, where we (Robin Gray, Nedret Gürler, and myself) are working to expand their dealer network. In fact, I should welcome Regency Royale as a Robin Gray Design dealer, and remind everyone to check out Robin Gray Design (see link above) and contact Robin if you’d like to become a dealer. Finally, please join us on Friday, May 1, 2009 as we celebrate the Grand Opening of Robin’s new showroom in Santa, Fe, New Mexico.
So, with those two items, and my part time work in architectural salvage, I’ve been busy.
NORS, Domotex, and Surfaces.
In the time span of six (6) weeks you will find three of the most important rug shows of the year, and due to the previously mentioned time consuming events, and the personal advise I received from a well known veteran of the rug industry, I skipped them all this year. So critics of mine will say how can I write about the rug industry if I don’t go to the shows? First I will say “I was just too busy and there was not enough return on investment(ROI) in it for me this year. That is why the timing was wrong. For me.” and second “Because I choose to (write)”
Get to the point already.
Is there a point? Most certainly. And it is about timing. The recession looms large in everyone’s mind and everyone is looking for ways to save money. But it is not just about saving money. It is about looking at what you are doing, figuring out how to do it better, for fewer resources, so that you will still be around in better times. In a nutshell: increasing your return on investment. For me, the timing to get maximum ROI on attending the markets was just not here this year. My time was and is better spent, building a company so that in the future recovered (or recovering) world markets we’ll be ready to introduce our products.
For the rest of the rug industry, I think the timing is right to be attending markets, and to be buying, and to be advertising, all selectively of course. Sitting by waiting for the recession to end will only prolong it for everyone. Focusing efforts where there is maximum ROI, and not forgoing developing rug trends will speed your recovery. Furthermore, and everyone who knows me knows this is a pet peeve of mine: Manage your inventory (but not by forcing it on anyone, but by incentivizing them to take it.) The timing may not be right to sell any overstock now, but in the absence of sales, a look at how to manage your inventory for the future would make excellent use of the time(ing).
It is – just as it always should be – a good time to invest in your future. What will you and your company be doing in future years. Will you be trying the same nearly broken model? Will you embrace new ways of doing things? Will you own your own rug company? Will you invest in another? Regardless of what is done, it’ll be done when the time is right. For just as in (successful) comedy, timing is everything.