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Monday, December 03, 2007

Flooring Inspiration From Mohawk

I love witnessing the transformation of abstract concepts into practical yet delightful products.

You can't get more practical than with floor covering materials, especially carpet. However, you can definitely get more inspired and fashionable. So, when there's a chance to observe how the masters of broadloom sift through market information and combine that with color & design trends to create new products, I get very excited!

On 11/9/2007, I had the pleasure to visit the Mohawk color & design division for residential carpet in Calhoun, GA. Unfortunately, it was a quick visit, but I do hope I can visit again and absorb more.

I got to talk to Vickie Gilstrap, Vice President, Residential Color and Design, for Mohawk and Karastan Woven Product Development. She is responsible for color and design across all broadloom styles, and for some beautiful new carpet collections....

Vickie invited me to see the color & design workspace where the walls capture a floor to ceiling quarterly snapshot of the best selling styles and colors across price points and manufacturing styles.

These photos don't do justice to the scope of the project. I do hope, though, that they convey to you the massive scale of the undertaking. I couldn't get over how how visual the overall effect was, and how enormous!

The visual part really caught my attention: it's the first time that I've seen the pulse of consumer carpet preferences captured this way. Normally, it's all about numbers: yards and dollars, and not about colors and constructions. This method calls attention to trends as they happen.

To my untrained eye, this looks to be an insurmountable undertaking. But, Vickie and her team's trained eyes can track subtle nuances or changes in consumer color preferences. Combined with their other color research, they are able to identify a color trend in its infancy and forecast what the next 12-18 months might bring.

The next magical aspect about visiting the color & design studio, was getting up close to Mohawk's 2007 color presentation trend boards.

Trend boards from past years adorn the walls in this Mohawk building. They are dimensional, intense, filled with details and great fun to absorb. To see the current ones was an unexpected treat. And, then, to experience in great detail all of the trends that these boards capture absolutely inspiring!

I plan - thanks to Vickie - to share those with you in all of that detail in upcoming posts.

To whet your appetite, the presentation addresses the notions of Color and Emotion in five separate stories:

+ Color-Emotion
+ White
+ Going For Baroque
+ Desert Neutrals
+ Eco-Chic/Eco-Elegance

So, please join me on a colorful, emotion-packed, inspiration-filled journey that will enthrall you and encourage you to experience the world in new ways!

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Justin Holbert said...

What did presentation by Vicki cover? And how are they able to predict color trends. That would be something nice to know since I am in the flooring industry. We currently sell mohawk hardwood flooring and carpet. It would be nice if Mohawk could share some of the information they receive in color trends with the retailers like myself

CB Whittemore said...


Thanks for your comment.

Vicki’s presentation consisted of a color trend presentation in 5 parts with the final one [and links to others] being http://flooringtheconsumer.blogspot.com/2007/12/color-emotion-from-mohawk-part-v-eco.html, all representing Mohawk's 2007 color presentation developed by Vickie Gilstrap, Nathan Hammett, Lauren Campbell, Luanne Holloway, Rebecca Frazee, Cliff Lyles, Susie Bell, Katherine Bugsch, and Michael Thompson.

The prediction of color is a skill developed over time; Vickie belongs to Color Marketing Group which discusses color and color trends.

You might also visit http://carpetology.blogspot.com/ where I’ve captured other perspectives on color and carpet style.

Have you asked your Mohawk representative about color trends? I think they regularly share their insights. And, if you’re in Calhoun, you could practically walk to the design center!

I hope this helps.


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