It was a compelling way to display its product, and credit Kirsten Korhani – the chief designer and creative director – with developing the idea. She translated her fashion-industry background into style and fashion for home.
PR trickery? Perhaps, but the audacious move was effective. It spotlighted what the company offers and it displayed it in vibrant fashion. (Want to see a visually forceful example? Visit the company’s website at www.korhani.com. The front page shows it all.)
PLEASING TO THE EYE
Consider Kirsten Korhani a marketing leader – after all, many consumers change their home décor as often as they change their wardrobe.
“Fashion is elemental to our business,” says Moji Korhani, owner of the Canadian-based company. “We have changed the meaning of area rugs. Floor coverings no longer have to be a substantial investment, as we offer affordable price points. At the same time, we don’t sacrifice attractiveness. We please the eye.”
And this company is not just about carpets and rugs. KORHANI home also offers home accessories and accent furniture. “But products don’t exceed a $150 price tag. It is very important to integrate the fashion concept into the economy we provide,” says the company owner. “Price point makes it possible for the consumer to make changes in their homes without breaking their financial back.”
That’s where fashion comes in, he says. “Newness, brightness – the same way it happens with wardrobe, which changes with the season,” Korhani observes. “With clothing, you want to have new items and new colors that match with the seasons. The same concept should hold true in home furnishing.”
Indeed, KORHANI home adapts product to annual changes. “Each season, we change our focus and our categories,” says Korhani. “For instance, every six months, we change our rug designs.”
He makes it more specific: “In the summer, we focus on outdoor carpets.”
CROSS PROMOTION = $$
This creative company has embraced a cross-promotional approach. “We cross-promote the outdoor carpets with summer outdoor furniture and home accessories that can be left outside,” informs Korhani. “We specially treat our products to withstand weather extremities, such as heat and rain.”
Innovation is year-round. “In the fall, we feature heavier products,” he says, “sort of like the thicker sweaters worn. Products include shag and wool carpets, which warm up a residence. Again, we change with the seasons. That means appropriate colors and specifically designed product.”
Change is not just seasonal, but annual. “What someone buys in spring 2011 is not what they are going to want to buy in spring 2012.”
At the same time, consumers aren’t just tossing away last year’s clothes. The KORHANI home product isn’t as dispensable as a Kleenex tissue. “What you bought last year can easily connect with what you buy this year. It all coordinates,” says Korhani.
KORHANI home knows where it is coming from. It has more than a century’s worth of experience decorating the home interiors and exteriors, providing consumers with both fashion and function – all at affordable costs.
The company was established in 1902, and it first focused on floor coverings. “But as we evolved, we wanted to be more. Initially, we focused on items such as virgin and knotted rugs,” recalls Korhani. “As we’ve developed through a century, we’ve coordinated earlier product offerings with accent furniture.”
Still, floor coverings remain a major category, as does its accentuation concept. “Our accent rugs come in small sizes, and they’re washable products,” reveals Korhani. “But we have expanded into other categories. It’s not about the dining room, or even the bedroom. Our purpose is more about accentuation, or decorating the consumer’s living space.”
Products now include picture frames, vases, candle holders, patio furniture lamps, and small accent furniture (which include bistro chairs and tables). The company well understands the diversity of consumer tastes, and it is conscious of both lifestyle and budget.
So who buys the product, and where can they make their purchase?
“Our consumer profile includes people from 25 to 45 years old,” describes Korhani. “They are professionals. Many have small families. Women mostly make the purchase. Our products are available through almost 3,000 stores, and that means we deal with the largest and most famous retailers such as Lowe’s and Home Depot and with major market chains such as Target and Walmart.”
While exports aren’t a substantial portion of the company’s revenue, this business is witnessing increased sales in the United States and Europe.
The company has just one factory, located in Sorel-Tracy, near Montreal, and since 2001 production output is up fivefold. The facility, which employs more than 150 individuals and measures more than a half-million square feet, was built from scratch, as the company reports. It now runs 24 hours, and it was established at a time when many Canadian companies shut down domestic facilities in deference to the perceived advantages of China production.
KORHANI home wasn’t interested in the early 21st century status quo. “We turned things around and created a state-of-the-art facility that realizes five-time gross of what we started within 10 years,” says Korhani. “We continue investing, into the finishing line and into the most sophisticated looms. In the past year, we imported two looms that allow us to be at the cutting edge of technology and that allow us the highest capacities and latest innovations. That enables us to remain competitive.”
KORHANI home’s focus on fashion might imply – in some people’s minds – that this is a frivolous enterprise. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a responsible organization that takes sustainability quite seriously. It’s not just about aesthetics; it’s also about activism. As the company reports, “eco-conscious considerations” come into play.
“Our Canadian manufacturing facility has been certified by a third-party ‘Eco’ logo, which can only be achieved after a stringent two-year process,” explains Korhani. “Our factory, and many of our products, have been certified under that logo. We make sure that our products are recyclable, and they can be reusable in various industries. Nothing goes to waste.”
PUSHING FORWARD – SAME AS IT EVER WAS
As far as the future, the company pursues the path it established at least a decade ago. “Our plan, 10 years ago, was to be the largest Canadian producer in our industry segment,” says Korhani. “We achieved that goal. Then, again 10 years ago, we wanted to place the company ‘around the corner’ when it comes to implementing the most sophisticated technology. That’s something else we have achieved.”
Results are evident. This company has increased its capabilities at the same time that it has created jobs.
Bottom line: This is a family owned business, and its efforts transform a house into a home.
“We’re passionate about style. But we don’t just furnish. We finish,” says Korhani.