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Friday, 06 November 2015 12:03

Aussies love NZ carpets; now here

Written by  Pam Tipa
Carrfields Primary Wool's Just Shorn carpet. Carrfields Primary Wool's Just Shorn carpet.

Carrfields Primary Wool's Just Shorn carpet wool brand is being rolled out in New Zealand in a "soft launch".

This follows "remarkable" success with its launch into Australia, says Howie Gardner, chairman of Carrfields Primary Wool (CP Wool) which owns the brand. Just Shorn is distributed by CCA Global Partners in North America, where it has a significant footprint.

Just Shorn is distributed in Australia via flooring retailer Carpet One and exclusively in NZ by Harrisons Carpet One.

Gardner told Rural News it has taken longer than they would have liked to "bring the brand home", but being in the NZ market gives them credibility and visibility. While early days, it is tracking well.

The local Just Shorn launch range includes six styles and up to seven colour choices. The styles all carry iconic NZ names and are 100% NZ wool procured from CP Wool clients.

"It is a very different style of carpet compared to what is in the US.... very NZ type carpets. There is one loop pile they have used more and more over the years. The majority are cut piles with high quality and good wearing."

Gardner says it is surprising how quickly Just Shorn took off in Australia. The average consumer there knows exactly what a sheep is whereas the average US consumer is much more removed from the rural sector so a big education programme is required.

"The only way you can do that is with well informed and confident frontline sales staff in the stores. That takes time to build. We have found without education there are no sales. That's a big cost to the carpet manufacturers and it costs the retailers to maintain: you can imagine that with the standard staff turnover, if you lose your wool champion you then have to train another one.

"In Australia it has been a far easier market to penetrate in that respect because you've got a market that's far more informed already."

Gardner says after a market review their North American focus is to refine their range, emphasising the premium soft flooring market coupled with ongoing consumer and retailer education.

But it is a long game. "It is in line with Fonterra and Silver Fern Farms with their branding programmes," says Gardner. "You only have to look at the success of Tatua; they have been going for 25 years. Fonterra and Silver Fern Farms are more recent. It's a slow burn. It takes a long time to build your relationships and brand understanding and to achieve those premiums.

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