Integrators could literally be standing on top of their next profit centre: home theatre carpeting.
“The motivation for dealers is simple: Carpets … why not? Why leave money on the table?” simply states Nick Dobosh, president of Joy Carpets, a 42-year-old Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia-based provider of custom carpets that target home theatre environments. “This is one more thing you can make money on. It is icing on the cake.”
And it truly is a very profitable category for integrators, with margins in the 35% to 40% range. In a standard 500sq ft dedicated home theatre room, the client cost would range between $2,000 to $3,000 (~£1,500 – £2,200).
Integrators might wonder why their clients wouldn’t just run down to their neighbourhood carpeting retailer to buy flooring for their home theatres. According to Nick, ‘mainstream carpet’ from the local store typically does not have any patterns. They tend to be single-colour carpets you would see in a bedroom or family room.
“Custom integration has evolved way beyond just offering the electronics. In most home theatres, the homeowner works with the integrator to spec just the electronics … the flooring is an afterthought. The customer is thrown to the wolves to fend for themselves at Lowe’s (an American home improvement retailer like B&Q) or the local carpet store. Those shops typically do not carry carpets with patterns because they usually only offer flooring that they can sell every day,” he notes.
“Joy’s focus has always been on specialty pattern carpets, or ‘less-than-mainstream carpets,’” as Nick describes. For the past three years, the company has exhibited at the CEDIA Expo. It ‘fell into this channel’ after noticing how often their carpet was being specified in home theatres.
3 Distinct Types of Carpet Clients
To cater to this niche, Joy Carpets created its ‘Any Day Matinee’ collection of 76 different patterns for home theatres. The company breaks down clientele into three distinct segments in terms of their carpet selection:
• Subtle and Casual – These are neutral colours like beiges, charcoal, tope, cream and olive. “But they still want something that does not look the same as the oatmeal bedroom carpet,” says Nick. Subtle and casual is most often used in great rooms and basements. Examples are the company’s Travelers Rest and Diamond Lattice (modern) patterns.
• Traditional and Regal – These are sophisticated, ornate-looking carpets with patterns of scrolls, trellises, medallions, and fleur de lis in colours like burgundy, gold, chocolate or navy. Examples are the company’s Walk of Fame and Waldorf lines.
• Whimsical and Energetic – These are patterns of movie reels, streamers and popcorn in bright primary colours of red, blue, yellow and even pink. “This is more of a commercial theatre look,” says Nick. Examples are the company’s Doubledown or Silver Screen patterns.
The carpet itself is a cut pile texture called Saxonys with 100% Stainmaster nylon, which is high-end manufacturing, according to Nick. There are no sound absorption qualities that Joy Carpets markets as part of the carpet, but obviously integrators know there are different acoustical qualities to soft surfaces vs reflective hard surfaces.
“It is not thicker. There is no special acoustical backing. It is just decorative. We leave the acoustical issues to the integrator. We are in this from the standpoint of fashion,” says Nick.
What about the sales and installation? Nick says it is pretty easy. Dealers just need to simply carry a sample book or point clients to the Joy Carpets website. There are no inventory requirements or minimum order requirements. Joy will mail samples to clients to look at. Typically, the carpet is delivered directly to the integrator or to his subcontractor who will install the carpet and has vehicles that can accommodate the large roll.
So far, Nick has not heard about integrators having conflicts with interior designers.