Wool carpet manufacturer Bremworth is establishing a retail presence in Auckland as it looks to cash in on the domestic and export rug markets.
The 99m2 store, at the Residium (formerly the Home Idea Centre) in Parnell, is designed to address issues faced by consumers unable to find floor coverings to match the size of their furniture by designing customised rugs on site.
Bremworth chief executive Greg Smith said the local rug industry is highly fragmented and research shows over half of rug purchases by New Zealanders are made offline.
“Traditionally most Kiwi homes would have had carpet in the lounge, however, there is an established trend towards the use of hard flooring in these living spaces – which may then be covered with a showpiece rug.
“We know that for many consumers purchasing a rug online or from a small sample can be challenging.”
Smith said despite the advance in online retail, there is a segment of the market where shopping for flooring is still a tactile experience and a high-involvement purchase.
“Most rugs are sold through big box department or furniture stores. A dominant brand hasn’t emerged in this part of the market yet and consumers have little flexibility when it comes to the size of the product, let alone whether it is made with New Zealand wool.
“The new concept store in Parnell is designed to offer our consumers and interior designers an immersive retail environment where they can get inspired, learn about and interact with the brand.”
Smith said the company sold over $1.1 million worth of rugs through its online store last year with sales up 45% over the previous 12 months.
The new retail presence will have flow-on benefits for their wool carpet business. The company may open further stores throughout New Zealand and Australia if the trial proves successful.
“In store, we are able to work with a customer to understand what their needs are and design a customised rug which perfectly matches their space, and then deliver it to their home. It’s exciting because a customer can transform the look and feel of a room in minutes with a rug they design.”
In Focus: Bremworth welcomes government’s wool pledge
The new government has pledged to use wool carpet in all new government buildings giving a boost to the struggling strong wool sector. Bryan catches up with Bremworth chief executive Greg Smith to talk about the initiative. Greg also reflects on the past year, which saw the company’s Napier facility flooded by Cyclone Gabrielle, and outlines his plans for the coming year.