New York Rug Shows – Save the Dates!!

This year’s much anticipated autumn buying season is shaping up to be the most favourable for buyers in years. With the announcement the New York International Carpet Show (NYICS) and The Rug Show will run concurrently, gone is the much lamented decision as to which show to attend. Buyers will be able to visit all of their most important vendors at the same time: 11-13 September 2016 for NYICS (at The Tunnel NY) and 11-14 September 2016 for The Rug Show (at the Javits Center). But wait, there’s more! Metro Market Week will also occur during the same timeframe providing maximum excitement and energy as handmade rug and carpet buyers, aficionados, collectors, designers, snooty writers, and the like descend upon New York City to see all the best the world of rugs has to offer.


Convenient Map of The Ruggist’s Favourite Places.

As we have previously discussed the merits of both shows in detail, there is no need to further berate their respective origins as, at this point, it is safe to say the market is certainly large and varied enough to support them both. What was previously still open for discussion however, was the irrational overly competitive zeal, often bordering on animosity, that was perceived to exist between the two (2) shows. It was readily apparent to everyone and most importantly it was apparent to buyers. Buyers. You know, customers. The ones who pay (when they get around to it) the bills, and the ones who are never wrong.

Buyers have asked ‘Why aren’t the New York shows all on the same dates?’, innumerable times as if there is some mythical international show time allotment and planning authority. ‘Why isn’t there just one big show?’ and ‘Why doesn’t someone do something to make it easier on buyers?’ Surely they, the fictitious somebody – whomever they might be – can sort this out and make it easy. Well ‘they’ finally have and it is with irreverence and immeasurable pleasure I offer this open letter to the rug and carpet industry (of North America).

To whom it may (or may not) concern;

Greeting and salutations. It is with great joy I write to you today to facetiously say ‘Thank you!’ Thank you for finally resolving your differences, working together, and agreeing to hold the autumn New York Rug shows concurrently. Facetiously because I know this was not out of altruism and concordance but rather due to diligent hard work and an astute poker face. Without regard to the reasoning, I would, if I may boldly assert a position of prominence, on behalf of all rug and carpet buyers and a good portion of exhibitors like to express my most sincere gratitude. This is what buyers want, this is what exhibitors need, it is the only decision that makes sense if the rug and carpet industry is to continue to flourish, and it is most certainly the one that actually ‘…better promote(s) and expand(s) the collective interests of our industry.‘ I’ll continue (as if that was in doubt)…

We all reference ‘The Rug and Carpet Industry’ as if it was a finite and easily defined group, over which the aforementioned fictitious ‘they’ wield control and authority. This is not actually the case; our own disparate and varied raisons d’être alone are enough to dispel that myth, as is that fact that membership is open to anyone willing, or perhaps foolish, enough to produce their own self-made membership card. Perhaps at one time ‘The Industry’ existed, but for the contemporaneous industry as a whole the strict lines that formerly separated producers, importers, buyers (traders), and consumers, have been replaced by barely visible lines in the sand drawn precariously close to the water’s edge. And the tide is about to come in.

Neither show is better than the other and each has their own respective strengths and faults. For example, while wanting to amass and keep company with superior caliber exhibitors is laudable, describing it as ‘curated’, a perfectly cromulent word well suited to museums and non-commercial galleries, is an anathema that has no place in any industry driven by profit. Similarly, striving to keep exhibition costs low for exhibitors is greeted with welcome and open arms, but asserting oneself as a ‘non-profit’ is disingenuous considering the point of trade is to… wait for it… make money. It heavily implies the work of organizing a show should be done for free, and if that work should be done for free, should not also importing, and making, and so on, I ask somewhat rhetorically. But I am digressing and this letter is not intended as a diatribe about the unchangeable past but rather praise for what this re-alignment of the shows can mean for the future of this mythical industry.

Just like Neil Patrick Harris’ opening number from the 2013 Tony’s, it means we can go bigger! Envisage if you will a rug and carpet world equivalent of ‘Fashion Week’ anchored by the NYICS and The Rug Show, surrounded and augmented by ancillary venues and exhibits. The shows are but a brief nine (9) minute walk (Gasp!) apart, and within that same radius from NYICS lay galleries, The Highline, cute shops, and a plethora of spaces all waiting to host your particular brand of exciting rug event. Jan Kath NYC is literally a two (2) minute walk from the new NYICS location and while exhibiting at either of the shows (pick the one that suits your fancy) makes sense for a vast majority of carpet importers, there are those who have reached appreciable enough size and stature as to warrant their own special event offsite. Think Tamarian and NYICS a few years back. Paired with the historically backed likelihood one (1) or both shows will be at capacity, it’s only logical to be situated such that ALL of the excitement is taking place in the same area. As Werner Weber said in ‘Iranian Carpet Embargo – The End!‘: ‘[The Shows being at the same time and] separated by only a few blocks makes it really attractive.’

But to whom? Clearly it’s attractive to Mr. Weber who, as an exhibitor, is seeking to maximize his exposure to North American buyers, but it should also be in the best interest of any exhibitor who wants maximum exposure for their product. As for buyers, this revamped (and hypothesized future) Metro Market Week if you will, has the potential to become the one-stop-shop North American version and equivalent of DOMOTEX with just as much rug excitement and far more urban panache.

Let this be an opportunity to recapture the energy and lore of rug markets past, strengthening the relative position of ‘The Industry’ against the rising tide of competition not only from outside pressures, but from within. Here’s to a successful 2016 and many more years to come. See you all in September!

Thank you for reading,