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Focus on offshore business pays off for Cavalier Bremworth
13
Apr '11
New Zealand carpet maker Cavalier Bremworth has grown its export business by 75% in the last 12 months following a concerted effort to further develop its offshore markets.

Gaining new distribution partners and developing more design-led products for the premium end of the market has helped it gain a much stronger foothold in the US. New products made from felted yarn were on show at the Las Vegas 'Surfaces' flooring show in January and have led to orders from New York-based Prestige Mills and Hibernia Woollen Mills in Los Angeles.

Cavalier Bremworth's parent company Cavalier Corporation has recently bought a 75% stake in Christchurch felted yarn plant Radford Yarns, with the intention of boosting its product development using this unique yarn structure.

Both Prestige and Hibernia specialise in high end wool carpets in a US market dominated by synthetics. General Manager of Sales for Cavalier Bremworth, Steve Duncan, says all the US distributors have told him the unique and modern designs combined with an appealing colour palette and high quality production make the Cavalier Bremworth wool product a stand-out against competitors. Repeat orders are already in the system following the first deliveries of carpet.

"They look at our product and put it next to a similarly priced import from elsewhere, and the differences are immediately obvious. Quality and craftsmanship make our product a much easier sell into a market that is starting to experience a good lift after a tough few years."

A second California distributor, Unique Carpets, has also placed orders on two ranges. In addition, as a result of a joint effort with Elders Primary Wool Limited, orders have been received to supply Just Shorn branded carpet to International Design Guild - a group of over 100 retailers who specialise in high-end wool products in the US.

Duncan says the Canadian market is also showing good potential with a new distributor putting in an order for a container-load of carpet this month and a South African distributor/retailer based in Johnannesburg doing the same.

In China, Cavalier Bremworth has established a new joint partnership with a long-standing Chinese distributor, to provide stock into Beijing for distribution to independent retailers in Shanghai and Beijing.

Through an Auckland-based hotel fit-out company, Cavalier Bremworth had also supplied more than 20,000 square metres of carpet to two hotels in Iraq.

"There's no doubt that this bigger focus on offshore business, is helping to offset the challenges of working in a flat domestic market," said Duncan.

"While our Australian market has performed strongly, New Zealand is taking longer to pull out of its recessionary mode though we are now seeing the indications of a pick up in activity - and pleasingly - more noticeable demand for products that are New Zealand-made and environmentally friendly."

Cavalier Bremworth

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