Walking into an art gallery is an immersive experience that inspires creativity. Imagine a shopping experience based on the same concept. That’s the feeling store manager Bryce Smith had in mind when he was given free rein to redesign RenCollection’s to-the-trade showroom in the Dallas Design District.
“We removed all of the dividing walls of what was once a furniture showroom and opened up the space so that it has lots of good energy and light coming in. I was given full responsibility to implement what I saw in my head,” Smith says, referencing the three showrooms of rugs and furniture that stretch over two buildings. Relying on his background in theater set design and retail merchandising, Smith hung showpiece rugs on the walls to give the new spaces an artistic vibe and allow designers and their homeowner clients to easily see the different design styles. Stacks of similar rugs under each hanging display help customers navigate the showroom and know exactly where the type of rug in which they are interested can be found.
The new showroom-turned-gallery is meant to serve as a catalyst for design ideas, with the rugs displayed to bring that concept into context. As designers walk in the door, they see the first showroom filled with modern, contemporary and transitional rugs. Walking through to the second showroom provides a look at the wide assortment of Turkish and tribal rugs in inventory, including Oushak rugs. “These are perfect for the designer and homeowner looking for a muted, vintage look,” Smith says.
The third showroom displays traditional and antique Persian rugs, which come in a range of jewel tones and complement homes with antique furniture. All furniture and accessories such as mirrors, tapestries and ceramics are showcased in one shoppable space at the front of the store in what Smith refers to as a “treasure hunt.”
“We have organized the showrooms into how people want to shop,” he says. “It is a faster, more enjoyable way to find the perfect rug that matches a particular décor or color scheme. Everything we carry in inventory is available off the floor. The supply chain may be slow these days, but we are not.” RenCollection’s 30 years in the rug business, developing relationships with both domestic and international suppliers, ensures there is always a fresh inventory from the United States, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India. “Because of our deep connections, we can make a phone call and have a requested rug on a plane the same day,” Smith says.
He wants designers to think of RenCollection as their assistant who does all the heavy lifting—literally. “We transport rugs to homes, move furniture and install rugs so clients can try them out and don’t have to attempt to visualize a particular rug in their space. These aren’t add-on services; they are all part of the RenCollection experience,” he says. For designers searching for the perfect fit for their clients, Smith provides online links to inventory pieces or takes photos of rugs to send to designers that meet their color and style specifications. “Our goal is to do it right the first time, a value I learned from my father and one I try to replicate in the showroom,” Smith adds. Designers can source from 6,000 rugs in inventory, from the smallest size at 1 foot by 2 feet to the largest at 19 feet by 36 feet.
Smith focuses on providing exceptional customer service to designers. As part of that service, he helps designers choose the rug that will be the foundation of their design. “We want designers to start with the rug, which is one of the largest components in a room’s visual experience. You can always find fabrics to match the colors in a rug, but it’s terribly difficult to find a rug to match five or six different fabrics,” Smith says. “If the process begins with the rug that a client loves, the possibilities are endless.”
Dana W. Todd is a professional writer specializing in interior design, real estate, luxury homebuilding, landscape design, architecture and art.