Carpet: Mills fill the void after loss of Stainmaster brand
The sale of the Stainmaster brand to Lowe’s last year may have caught some members of the carpet industry by surprise. However, to their credit, the mills responded quickly to create their own brand of pet-friendly carpet. In some instances, companies began working on their Stainmaster replacements long before the deal was consummated.
“At The Dixie Group, life after Stainmaster actually started to take shape about three years ago,” said TM Nuckols, president of the residential division of TDG. “We knew we needed to diversify our product offering to protect ourselves and our customers.” In late 2018, TDG began developing its EnVision6,6 nylon program, with positive market acceptance. “We were able to create products with great performance in terms of durability, stain and soil resistance, and we were able to compete more effectively in the market without the high costs of the SM brand,” Nuckols said.
Whether mills were Stainmaster customers or not, the departure of one of the most iconic brands in the last three decades created opportunities for companies to stake their claim in the growing pet-friendly market.
Following is an overview of companies that have made moves to fill the void.
Timing is everything, and the launch of Anderson Tuftex’s Pet Perfect platform could not have happened at a more opportune moment—with consumers intensely focused on home improvements. This shift from Stainmaster empowered A/T and Shaw Floors to collaborate and share innovations to better serve its customers. “Pet Perfect carpet is rooted in high-performance fiber technology that provides bleach, fade, stain/soil resistance; it also offers an additional innovation—LifeGuard Spill-Proof technology,” said Christin Clifford, A/T category manager. “New Pet Perfect and Pet Perfect+ styles will fit seamlessly into the elevated style and design of our Signature collection and merchandising system.”
Gulistan has committed to staying in the solution-dyed nylon carpet category. As Chet Graham, CEO of Marquis/Gulistan, explained, “We are continuing to work through our large nylon 6.6 inventory to service our current product lineup and customer base, and are in the process of transitioning our solution-dyed nylon fiber to a new 6.6 source. We will continue with our current lineup in 2022 and are planning on new spring/summer product launches in nylon carpets.”
Phenix Flooring was ahead of the market curve in responding to the Stainmaster exit. As Mark Clayton, president, explained, “We got out of the gates quickly after Stainmaster [exited] and are so excited to get FloorEver PetPlus out in the field. I feel we are filling a need in the market with this. FloorEver PetPlus also allows us to control our own destiny.”
The FloorEver collection features Phenix’ SureSoftSDN solution-dyed nylon as well as SureSoftSD solution-dyed polyester. “The products in the FloorEver collection offer an array of natural colors and patterns that coordinate with any décor,” said Lauren Campbell, director of product design and development. “Consumers will find something in this line that satisfies both their design aesthetic and their budget.”
The Stainmaster transition opened the door to other fiber systems, including PureColor SD PET by Dream Weaver, the retail brand of Engineered Floors. “To fill the void, our DW Select product line offers customers beautiful, higher-end products that utilize our PureColor TwistX patented technology,” said Eric Ruppert, residential brand manager. “TwistX offers not only unique aesthetics but built-in stain protection with enhanced durability.”
Ruppert said the EF difference is the fact it utilizes its proven PureColor fiber systems to create products with built-in stain protection. “Our PureColor products are solution dyed; therefore, staining is not an issue because the color is built into the fiber and cannot be removed with household items such as bleach.”
Mohawk did not need to develop new products in the wake of Stainmaster’s exit as it already boasted a pet-friendly solution in SmartStrand with All Pet Protection. “We have had ongoing success with SmartStrand, which has been a leading product line in the market for more than 16 years,” said Denise Silbert, vice president of marketing, soft surface. “However, we did have an opportunity to fill a few product-specific gaps.”
With third-party testing, Silbert said Mohawk saw equivalent performance between SmartStrand and Stainmaster Pet Protect. “It gave us even more confidence that our product lives up to the long-earned reputation for proven performance,” she noted. SmartStrand products can be found in Mohawk as well as the Godfrey Hirst and Karastan brands “with even more designs and differentiated styling than Stainmaster Pet Protect could offer,” Silbert said.
Shaw Floors, along with A/T, launched its Pet Perfect platform to better serve its customers with ultra-durable, easy-to-clean carpets. Pet Perfect styles feature Shaw’s proven pet-friendly innovations including Anso high-performance fibers designed with bleach, fade- and stain/soil-resistant technology. All Pet Perfect styles release pet hairs while vacuuming and boast the added protection of LifeGuard Spill-Proof Technology.
“Shaw Floors’ new Pet Perfect merchandising system creates an all-in-one carpet destination featuring our pet-proof technology, industry-leading warranties and new styles that have a casual texture and cozy tactility,” said Teresa Tran, vice president of Shaw Floors’ retail channel strategy. “Customers can browse patterns, textures and tonals designed to make us feel grounded and connected to our home and family—including pets—while also letting us feel expressive and unique.”
Stanton had minimal products in its portfolio that fell under the Stainmaster brand but that didn’t stop it from driving innovation in brands such as Crescent (shown). “Performance has always been an important category for us, and we continue to develop new products including the latest advancements in fiber technology,” said Christine Zampaglione, senior director of marketing. “Stanton, more importantly, focuses on style and design and being a leader in the decorative market. We are continually striving to put to market the highest level of performance products with the most sophisticated fiber technology without compromising style and design and softness and comfort.”
This market season Tarkett Home has introduced 20 new styles with a majority focused on unique, higher-end pattern visuals to help fill the void left by the Stainmaster move. Its entire product line is currently produced with solution-dyed PET fiber, with styles that showcase on-trend colors combined with higher, unique styling and affordable price points.
The Dixie Group
The EnVision platform includes solution-dyed nylon and white, dyeable nylon. The solution-dyed offering will be branded EnVisionSD Pet Solutions, and these products are said to be inherently stain resistant against even the toughest pet stains. EnVisionSD Pet Solutions are offered in the Dixie Home and Masland divisions. “A key new introduction for 2022 is Masland’s Pedigree, a beautiful textural pattern with a linen visual and amazing color line,” Nuckols said.
TDG’s white dyeable nylon offering will be branded EnVision Nylon. “One of our most prized introductions for 2022 is Fabrica’s Ithaca, an abstract pattern created by blending yarns of different dyeabilities and luster levels. Ithaca will be a great addition to our best-in-class Fabrica Colorpoint pattern collection,” Nuckols added.