SC paper makes Flor shine

Two years after launching its catalog, Chicago-based floor covering merchant Interface Flor changed its paper stock and reduced its trim size to better showcase its product line.

Interface Flor, owned by $900 million commercial carpet manufacturer Interface, sells “modular carpeting,” or carpet tiles. The company had been printing on a coated freesheet (45 lb. for the inside pages, 80 lb. for the cover). For its spring 2005 catalog, Interface Flor used the same weight but a trace groundwood supercalendered (SC) stock.

Flor’s previous paper was a matte finish; the new stock is coated with a slightly glossier finish. The hard-coated surface holds color better, says the catalog’s vice president of operations, Dan Malone, resulting in colors that “pop” more than previously. And that’s important to Flor, whose spring line boasts several colorful new designs. Flor, which sells to design professionals as well as to end users, has increasingly been targeting consumers: “When we decided to release our catalog to a broader audience, color was our primary concern,” Malone says.

“We know that many of our customers often end up fighting mixing and matching problems with color,” he adds. “We wanted to make it easier on them.” And, of course, if colors aren’t true on each page, “it could eventually lead to returns.”

Smaller Flor space

Interface Flor has also been steadily dropping its trim size. The first catalog measured 11-1/2″ × 19″; the most recent winter catalog was 11-7/8″ × 7-1/2″, and the spring book measures 10-1/2″ × 8-3/4″. Why? Because the longer, narrow format was counterproductive for floor coverings, Malone says.

The original trim size, because it was unusual, grabbed the attention of the designers who were the original target audience. But to better address consumers’ expectations, “we designed the new version to be wider to adjust for horizontal space as opposed to vertical,” Malone explains. The catalog’s new configuration provides customers with a clearer perspective of how a room might look with new flooring, since they can see the flow across the page as opposed to up and down.

Flor’s spring catalog began mailing in late January. The company will not release results, but Malone says it has received positive customer feedback on the spring catalog in its call center.

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