The rug and carpet industry may be enjoying a steady stream of sales, but a newly formed organization aims to boost the field further up.

The International Rug Group (IRG) was organized in October 2014 with the objective of improving the rug industry. The group hopes to accomplish this monumental task by offering consultation, hosting big events to shift the focus back to the rug industry, and helping rug companies set up online shops.

One of its exciting plans is to help rug retailers put up an in-store gallery to showcase their best and finest rugs, with IRG lending assistance in terms of setting up the show. “They (retailers) basically provide the space and some support and we do the rest… We operate within their culture and the galleries trade in their name,” said IRG president and CEO Mark Bannon in a news release. In other words, the group will provide the equipment, materials and workforce for the event, and the retailer will simply provide the space.

The first batch of rug retailers who played host to in-store galleries saw significant improvement in their sales as a result of the innovative marketing campaign. “We replaced poor performing sales per square foot with these rugs, and they’re doing 2 1/2 times what we were doing, so we’re very happy,” said Eric Easter, who works as CEO of Kittle’s Furniture, which hosted one of the IRG galleries.

IRG assures rug companies and retailers that they will respect culture and current practices when they put up shows like this. “Everything is custom-tailored to the specific retailer, so the structure and commitment will vary depending upon the retailer and the nature of the services we will provide,” Bannon added.

The in-store gallery initiative is starting in four Kittle’s Furniture stores, but IRG plans to expand its assistance to other rug manufacturers in the near future.

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