Following the opening of the first atelier in Chicago in 2004, Lapchi has added new ateliers in Los Angeles, Cleveland and Portland. These special showrooms display the company’s best practices, from design strategies and new collections to the company’s partnership with GoodWeave, a nonprofit that works to end illegal child labor in the carpet industry.
Last year, Lapchi launched an atelier website. On the regular Lapchi site, a special page for dealers features “color generation” software allowing buyers to plug in different colors and see what the rug looks like online.
In a nod to a fast-paced world, the company also tweaked the custom model by launching a “quick ship” program featuring 24 rugs that are available in three days, compared to four months for a custom product.
Bypassing showrooms altogether in some markets and selling directly to designers is another possibility, says Smith, who is also considering raising venture capital to “really grow the business.”
Regardless of strategy, Smith says everything the company does, from the elegant website to the equally refined ateliers, adheres to the aesthetic principles underlying the rugs themselves, which are distinguished by their use of silk, contemporary color and an artistic design sensibility.
“You can’t be talking about quality and beauty,” says Smith, “and then put out things that are shoddily done.”