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|Articles - February 2013|
|Monday, January 28, 2013|
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Lapchi — Tibetan for “abode of good energy” — wasn’t the first company to fashion a made-to-order rug. “But we were the first to create a business model based on custom,” says Smith. Lapchi dealers typically purchase just a few rugs in each style, allowing interior designers to then customize for size and color. The manufacturing takes place in Kathmandu, where 30 Lapchi employees oversee the production of the on-demand carpets. Depending on the amount of silk and “knot density” — knots per square inch — a 9-foot-by-12-foot Lapchi rug typically costs between $7,000 and $12,000.
By 2005 most high-end rug dealers had started to adopt the Lapchi approach. But if the company revolutionized the industry, the rug company is also an example of “be careful what you wish for.” Under the new model, dealers no longer need large amounts of capital to purchase hundreds of rugs up front. “We inadvertently demonstrated the barriers to entry were very low,” Smith says. Today, “there are 100 companies doing what we do.”
As competition increased, so did factory costs, which are 70% higher than 12 years ago, Smith says. The recession also hit hard. In 2011 Lapchi grossed about $5 million, down from $6.5 million in 2008. To stay competitive in a tight market, Smith and his partner, Salman Khan, are pressing ahead with new innovations, with a focus on leveraging the atelier concept into higher sales.
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Is your business ready to join us in the call for action? This opening panel includes Oregon businesses who will discuss why they signed the Oregon Climate Declaration, the investments they are making to reduce carbon emissions, and how their actions are affecting their companies.
Get ready for two days of special events produced with the EPA, Portland Timbers and ISOS before and after the GoGreen Conference on October 16.
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The official launch will be Jan. 14.
In a switch on the traditional trade show, representatives from UO departments and local and state agencies will host tables to connect with businesses and vendors. The fourth Reverse Vendor Fair will take place Wednesday, Feb. 25, in Eugene.
Featuring Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba along with high-profile Oregon Ag attorney Tim Bernasek whose recent matters include representing the Oregon wheat farmer who discovered unreleased “Roundup Ready” resistant GMO wheat growing in his fields.