Issue Date: 2018 APRIL, Posted On: 4/26/2018

04262018 Jennifer Adams Teams with Orian - New Rug Collection 'Redefines Soft'
By Carol Tisch

Brandon Culpepper and Rob Merritt of Orian introduce guests to designer Jennifer Adams at the spring High Point Market launch party for the super-soft Home by Jennifer Adams rug collection. 

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Designer, TV personality, author and lifestyle guru Jennifer Adams has carved a niche and locked in some of the biggest names in retail with a laser focus on affordable but luxuriously soft fabrics in her namesake top of bed and utility bedding collections. 

Now she's teamed up with Orian Rugs to extend the concept to ultra-soft luxury underfoot with an area rug collection unveiled at a launch party on opening night of the spring 2018 High Point Market. The new Home by Jennifer Adams rugs bring Adams' aesthetic to Orian's breakthrough Cottontail quality, which combines exceptionally dense, plush texture with durability and easy care. The initial offering is a collection of 20 designs, with other qualities and constructions to follow. 

At the High Point Market launch party for their initial rug collection, Rob Merritt (center) welcomes Jennifer Adams to the Orian family with a toast to a long relationship. Next up, Brandon Culpepper (left) says the licensing partners are a great match, sharing the same value system and vision.

Cottontail, which is made from space-dyed polyester in a high and low pile, was first previewed to retailers at the fall 2017 High Point Market in 10 abstracted transitional designs. The warm reception encouraged an expansion of the line with 30 more designs released at January Las Vegas Market, where the licensing partnership was struck with Adams.  

"Jennifer's concept for rugs is the same as her other textile products:  soft to the touch, soft colors, innovative but casual designs, and affordable pricing.  Cottontail checks all those boxes," Brandon Culpepper, chief revenue officer at Orian, told RugNews.com. "Her initial rug collection saw an almost overwhelming response in High Point. We are excited to launch our partnership with Jennifer and we hope to work with her for years to come," he continued. 
Indeed, Adams brings coveted retail relationships and a proven good, better, best strategy to licensees. Her long-standing program with Costco, which has expanded across the U.S., Canada and the U.K., and is now launching in Mexico. And her bed fashion license with PEM-America extends the brand's in store and e-commerce reach to names like Bed, Bath & Beyond, Macy's and Kohls.

In this exclusive interview, Carol Tisch sits down with Jennifer Adams to discuss her new partnership with Orian, her focus on soft, comfortable textiles and her upcoming decorating book to be released in August.

From the Home by Jennifer Adams collection, the Towson comforter set's decorative pillows and throw inspired the coordinating Nardik rug displayed in a vignette at Orian's High Point Market showroom.

Your website says you're redefining soft with products designed to help consumers begin and end their days in California-style comfort. How does that dovetail with your new rug collection? 

JA:  We work to redefine soft in all of the products that we do, whether it be our bedding or our fabrics. Cottontail was perfect for our initial rug launch because it is incredibly soft, but it's also a performance fabric.  

What appealed to you about Cottontail? 

JA: It's made from a micro fiber. That's how they get that extra softness. It's an easy care performance fiber so it's livable. And my rugs are out at an affordable price point, so we can hit the majority of consumers without hurting their pocketbooks.  

What's the price point and why is affordability so important to you? 

JA: I grew up in humble beginnings and I wanted rugs that my family could afford.  The price points are really low. The highest MSRP price the rugs can sell for is just over $400. That is really attainable.  

So the unique selling proposition is price, combined with value-added comfort and plushness? 

JA: I'm glad you noticed that. The rugs are incredibly soft. When I laid them down for the first time in my home, my dogs came over and thought I had bought them a luxurious new dog bed. It was so funny.  They wouldn't move -- they weren't going anywhere. 

The Nardik rug in indigo and white from the Home by Jennifer Adams collection for Orian is made from 32-mm, super-softs space dyed polyester microfiber in a dense high-low pile.

How long did it take to design the collection's 20 patterns?
JA: Unbelievably quickly because Orian manufactures so quickly. Right after this [April High Point] market, the rugs are going to be available in eight weeks, which is fast.  

We had our kick-off meeting at the Las Vegas Market in January. They were able to launch us with our first collection in less than three months -- from the design process, to going back and forth to get the color right, to producing market samples. I was really surprised. 

In addition to its product innovation and design team, what else about Orian makes them stand out as a licensing partner?

JA: They're 'Made in America' - which is great because that's a really growing avenue for us. We're really focused on direct to consumer, and that's why I am so grateful that they make everything in America. They can be quick to market. And, since they're machine made, they can also bring fashion out quickly and frequently so we don't have to do huge volume for any one pattern. We can bring out newness every season. With Orian's price points, people can layer the rugs, buy more, or change them out if they want to.

At its Showplace showroom, Orian Rugs introduced spring 2018 High Point Market shoppers to the debuting Home by Jennifer Adams collection of 20 rugs, including this vignette featuring Tribal Stripe.

Tell us about the design process. 

JA: We hand designed all the patterns in our Southern California office. Each pattern you see in our first launch has been hand drawn and hand designed. We try to keep all our designs effortless with an easy-breezy Southern California feel, but livable with a little bit of a global feel. Our designs and prints aren't so literal. They look like they have a hand drawn quality to them.  

Do the designs coordinate with any of your bed fashion patterns? 

JA: With our really soft new Lux fabric, we've started to do prints. In fact, most of the patterns you see on the rugs we've done in printed sheets -- so they're coordinated. We've also got some patterns on the gussets of our pillows. The patterns that we've brought out in the rugs have already been tested at retail in our sheets, shower curtains, bath accessories, even in utility bedding. We brought out these patterns because we know they've been saleable for us already.  

It's amazing how well the textile patterns scaled up to rug size.  

JA: I'm so glad you noticed that.  A lot of it is because Orian's design team is so good at executing the design vision into product development. I didn't know how the designs were going to be executed, especially on such a deep, plush rug, but they did it really well.  

Some of them look as if they were inspired by ikats.   

JA: They were, and some of them actually originated as ikat patterns. The plushness made the patterns more diffuse - which I really like. 

What decorating styles do your rugs complement? 

JA: They bridge a lot of different styles, especially because of the way that deep pile takes each of the patterns. It doesn't make the pattern too literal. Even though there is a definite pattern, some of the rugs can act as a solid. They can anchor a room in any design style. They're livable for bohemian. They also work with easy-modern farmhouse and Scandinavian looks - livable, soft modern. Some of them can easily go traditional. We tried to make the designs not too fussy so they could go in a lot of directions in homes without being too literal.

Global Diamond from the new Home by Jennifer Adams collection for Orian showcases the rug maker's breakthrough Cottontail construction in a new warm gray colorway with hints of gold.

Tell us about your palette. 

JA: We decided to do elevated neutrals for the colors. Indigo is actually a neutral right now, so we did blue with variations. We did grays and beige, and grey with a little bit of gold mixed with it because a lot of the grays are warming up now. There are whites and some off-white too. The palette is livable with what's trending right now, but it's also classic.  

I remember hearing you speak to women entrepreneurs at one of the markets. Does helping them mean a lot to you personally?  

A: I do a lot of motivational speaking for women entrepreneurs, or any woman who wants to do something more with her life because I came from really humble beginnings. I'm just breaking down the limiting barriers that we think we have about ourselves. 

Can you share anything about your new books? 

JA: I have two books coming out with Beyond Words Publishing, both with a little bit of a spiritual take. The first one is about the home and it's called Love Coming Home: Transform Your Environment. Transform Your Life. It's on pre-sale right now at Barnes & Nobel and Amazon, and will be in bookstores August 21st.  It's a guide to give you the tools and knowledge to make where you currently live a place where you will absolutely love coming home to.

Adams believes your 'now' home can be your 'dream' home and her new book, Love Coming Home: Transform your Environment, Transform your Life, aims to inspire decorating regardless of budget.

It's taking your "now" home -- borrowed, rented, or owned -- and making it your dream home. Often times we put off decorating our 'now' home, thinking our dream home will be a place we will eventually move into down the road once we've saved enough and worked hard enough to achieve it. The book helps inspire decorating no matter what your budget is and to see the potential in the place you are living in right now.  

The second book is launching at the end of February 2019. That one is called How High Can You Soar: Eight Powers to Lift You to Your Full Potential. That's about what I speak about. The publisher was actually in the audience when I was talking about that topic to a group of women at market. It's coincidental that you asked about it.

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