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|Articles - February 2013|
|Monday, January 28, 2013|
Page 1 of 3
BY LINDA BAKER
Kerry Smith, managing partner of carpet company Lapchi, knows a thing or two about beauty — its power and limitations. “Lapchi makes beautiful rugs,” says Smith, sitting in the company’s elegant Pearl District atelier in Portland, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and an array of silk and wool rugs. “But nobody has a monopoly on beauty,” Smith says. “Beauty is part of the cost of entry. Beauty is not a strategy.”
A former bread-baking magnate with a penchant for yoga and meditation, Smith co-founded Lapchi in Portland in 2001 with $300,000 and a clear objective: to disrupt the dominant business model in the handmade carpet sector, which at the time involved a lot of inventory but limited financial returns.
Twelve years later, Lapchi is the main reason the industry standard today is made-to-order custom rugs. The company itself has sold more than 6,000 custom and handwoven carpets, mostly to hotels, professional firms and high-end residential customers, including hotel chain Ritz-Carlton and Oprah Winfrey. But Lapchi’s innovations also led to new challenges. “We demonstrated there was a better way to sell rugs, and lots of people did it,” says Smith. “The result is a tremendously competitive business.”
To help distinguish the company, especially in an economic downturn, Lapchi continues to adopt initiatives that push convention, including opening new ateliers in several cities, launching new digital marketing strategies and even rethinking the company’s pioneering custom-made approach. Innovation has always been a core value for the company. Changes in the marketplace, he says, simply mean the company must “further refine our strategy.”
Before Lapchi, most high-end rugs made in Asia were purchased from huge piles off showroom floors. Those piles were driven by manufacturers, most of them “fifth to 15th generation, making traditional things, pushing them through the pipeline,” Smith says. For dealers, carrying massive inventories meant a low return on investment. Meanwhile, interior designers — Lapchi sells primarily to the trade — often had to compromise on size, design and color. “No matter how many rugs were in the showroom, they rarely had the perfect rug for the end client,” Smith says.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JASON NORRIS
Historically, when the leaves fall, so do the markets. This year, earnings, Europe, energy and Ebola have in common? Beyond alliteration, they are four factors that the investors are pointing to for this year’s seasonal volatility.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY KIM MOORE
The ubiquitous fast-food restaurant may be on the decline.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
National media can’t get enough of Oregon’s pinot noir, artisan-food purveyors and lively, independent film scene.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY
How State Representative Julie Parrish (House District 37) balances life between work and play.
Monday, October 06, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
Intel's manufacturing way station; Merkley's attack dog; Diamond Foods gets into the innovation business.
Thursday, October 02, 2014
Oregon Business magazine has named the sixth annual 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
Why has six years become an acceptable investment in public undergraduate education that over-promises and underperforms?
|The 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon 2014|
|A Recipe for Success|
|Target to offer free holiday shipping|
|Caterpillar gains after raising forecast|
|Dow Chemical profit up 44%|
|Boeing profit jumps 18%|
|Verizon posts higher Q3 revenue|
|Oscar Pistorius sentenced to 5 years in prison|
|IBM to pay Globalfoundries to take chip unit|
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