Brittany Stanley sees the world through patterns and colors. As senior design manager at Mohawk, she has developed a keen eye for trend spotting, always on the hunt for inspiration to create the next beautiful broadloom.
“Sometimes I’ll see something somebody’s wearing and think, that would make a really cool pattern,” she said. “I’m always looking because my goal is to create something that nobody else has and that everyone wants.”
As one of an exclusive group of designers and product developers at Mohawk, Stanley’s creations play an important role in the success of the company. So important, in fact, that Mohawk CEO Jeff Lorberbaum will check in with her to get an in-depth understanding of what is influencing her designs.
“He’ll stop by at 4:45 p.m. on a Friday and we have chitchats where he wants to look at patterns, color lines, see what’s new, and if anything has changed.”
Mohawk invests a lot in trends research and design exploration, sending Stanley and other product developers to industry shows and conferences in support of their creative endeavors.
“You’ll go to High Point and you’ll start to see little pops of certain colors,” Stanley said. “Three years ago, for example, we were seeing purple everywhere, and that usually means we will see a lot more of that color the next year.”
This year, she’s forecasting slightly different purples, greens ranging from seafoam glass to darker desert tones, and clay-like neutrals. This research, together with sales data, arms her and the product development team in determining which colorways and patterns to go with for each market season.
“We do a high-level presentation to upper management about where color’s going and where it has progressed over the years. Someone might say they are over gray, but they have to look at the numbers.”
Trends, which often initiate on the West Coast, will take a few years to migrate across the country.
Armed with an interior design degree, Stanley started working at Mohawk in 2012 as a customer service representative.
“At the time, there wasn’t an opening as a designer, but I thought it would be easier to get my foot in the door into the design department if I already worked for the company.”
Less than two years later, Stanley’s opportunity arrived when an opening came up for an entry-level designer. Today, she designs all the broadloom carpets for Mohawk, Aladdin, Horizon, Karastan and Godfrey Hirst brands.
“It’s a lot, but it’s nice to be able to have your hands on all of it—from more value-priced Aladdin with 25- and 38-ounce patterns to high-end Karastan, where we get to go out of the box and be more fashion-forward.”
That movement towards fashion-oriented floors has opened a door for more creativity within the soft-surface category. While carpet used to have an eight-year trend lifecycle, Stanley said it’s closer to four or five years.
“It’s good for us—consumers are making bolder choices in patterns and colors,” she said.
Sales of accent colors are actually starting to go up—she estimates maybe 5% in the last five years, but most noticeably on the high end.
“It’s a fine line—you can’t get super trendy because then in two years they’re going to hate the carpet that they put on their floor,” she said.