Scott Group Custom Carpet
Prior to purchasing bespoke carpet and design firm Scott Group in 1997 with his business partners Michael (brother) and Tim Hill, Richard began his career at Scott Group Custom Carpets as a sales trainee in 1983 in Cleveland, Ohio, and brings over 25 years of sales and marketing and management experience to the company. Richard covered the Southern Ohio territory for the company before being named Regional Sales Manager of the Southwest region in 1985. During his tenure as Regional Sales Manager, Richard led Scott Group Custom Carpets effort to enter the business jet sector and was instrumental in its growth globally. Richard is a graduate of Bowling Green State University where he earned a Bachelor degree in Communications and Marketing.
ET: Can you tell us about Scott Group’s beginnings?
Richard Ruggeri: Scott Group Custom Carpets was founded in Cleveland, Ohio, by Steve Sellinger in 1969. The company began as Scott Carpet Mills, producing luxury carpets for architects and interior designers in any size, shape or color—seamless. In the early 1970s Scott Carpet Mills purchased a small hand-crafted carpet and rug factory in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and shortly thereafter, both production operations were merged under one roof in Grand Rapids. My brother Michael and I joined the company in sales in 1983 and 1979 respectively. Shortly after joining the company we realized the product we were selling was not only perfect for luxury homes and offices, but also ideal for the business jet and mega-yacht sectors. Our first customer was KC Aviation in Dallas, Texas. When they saw our product and experienced our service they were absolutely hooked. We slowly opened up production to a few OEMs and completion centers, wanting to learn the needs of the customers and carefully train and expand our production workforce. The hallmark of this company has always been product of the highest quality, outstanding service and on-time delivery. Sharing a passion for the business, Michael, Timothy Hill and I purchased Scott Group in 1997, built a state-of-the-art production facility and steadily grew the business. We’ve continued to leverage our ability to provide all sample design and production from our Grand Rapids headquarters and production facility. Our 110,000 square foot facility is well equipped to handle the largest and most demanding of projects with unparalleled customer service.
ET: What should customers should keep in mind when they begin to consult with you on the design of a carpet?
Richard Ruggeri: We are a very nimble company and offer to produce carpets and rugs in any size, shape or color. This is an incredible benefit to the end-user. When working with residential interior designers, we try to always be mindful of where the carpet or rug is going to be installed and the logistics associated with delivering the product to the appropriate room. It’s not uncommon for installers to hoist the product in through an open window. Pre-planning and understanding the intent of the interior designers is paramount to a successful installation. Aircraft and luxury yacht interiors pose less of a challenge at installation. We work strictly through architects and interior designers and rarely communicate directly with the end-user, unless requested to do so. The interior designers we work with are trained professionals who spend countless hours understanding and translating the desires of the end-user. Given we’re able to produce just about any pattern, color or texture, having an open channel of communication with the interior designer enables us to most often times exceed everyone’s expectations.
ET: What are the trends you see in today’s high-end market?
Richard Ruggeri: We categorize the carpets and rugs we design and produce as being more classic and timeless and don’t consider the carpets and rugs we produce as being trend-driven. The business jet sector, once hesitant of using deeper, richer colors for the carpet, has evolved from a primary palette of pale beiges, grays and blues to a more comprehensive offering of colors and now realize they can successfully use a more broad range of color. We consider all of our raw materials as being rare as they’re not openly available to everyone. The wools we use are spun from the top of the clip and secured directly from the sheep growers in New Zealand. Our silk is of the finest quality, and we recently introduced a blended wool/cashmere fiber that is incredible to the touch. Even simple textural carpets and rugs take on their own unique identity when we change colors or striate multiple colors together to create a soft, elegant backdrop. We do provide one-of-a-kind design and have produced heirloom quality pieces for residential end-users who plan on keeping the rugs within the family for years to come.
ET: How do you balance the importance of technology vis-a-vis computer aided design and control and producing a top-quality custom-made product with a real hand-made feel?
Richard Ruggeri: When customers visit our factory in Grand Rapids, to a person they are always amazed at the hands-on craftsmanship associated with each and every carpet and rug we produce. It’s the artisan nature of our product that is so attractive to owners and users of luxury interior spaces. Each and every carpet we produce is sewn by skilled artisans, resulting in carpets and rugs reflecting incredible detail and quality. We have over 40 years of experience and we invest heavily in training our employees. Skills are learned and honed in our facility as a result of ongoing training. It is the hand-crafted nature of our carpets that provide designers and end-users with such unique and stunning platform on which to build. We’ve invested very heavily in and use technology to better analyze and manage our business and to gain efficiency wherever possible. Though the technology used is invisible to the customer, they benefit in the form of better service, higher quality product and on-time shipments. The use of CAD allows us to retain the drawings for all carpets and rugs we produce. Customers buying a new aircraft and wishing to reproduce a carpet they purchased from us 10 years ago will be glad to know we’ve retained all of specifications necessary to produce the carpet for them. We also use technology to assist us in our effort to be a green manufacturing company. Electronic data storage and files eliminate unnecessary paper files thus allowing us to share needed information both internally and externally on a moment’s notice.
ET: What are some of the hidden benefits of commissioning a custom carpet?
Richard Ruggeri: First of all, there’s the aspect of indoor air quality and safety. After rigorous and ongoing testing, we are very pleased to say our products have earned Green Label Plus Certification, meeting and exceeding standards set forth to assure designers and users of luxury interiors of low VOC emission. In addition, our pure New Zealand wool is non-allergenic, and it’s natural properties help provide air purification by capturing many common pollutant gases and acts as a natural filter, trapping particles such as dust and pollen not easily dislodged from your carpet with normal use but easily removed by vacuuming or professional cleaning. We derive our raw material from rapidly renewable sources adding to our ability to promote products that are friendly to the ecology.
ET: What elements does your company have in common with say, a high-end car maker or a premiere Swiss watch company?
Richard Ruggeri: Attention to detail, complete customer focus, on-time delivery, produced by highly skilled artisans and the ability to develop custom, on-of-a-kind product.