A second startup has been launched by Amorim Cork Ventures (ACV) - the world’s only business incubator exclusively dedicated to the cork business. SUGO CORK RUGS® is based on an innovative, patent pending method for producing cork carpets, which recovers traditional weaving techniques. It has resulted in the creation of a new collection of versatile and functional carpets, with the added value that results from the incorporation of cork - including thermal and acoustic insulation, comfort, whise also minimizing the risk of allergies.
The new brand - SUGO CORK RUGS® - is owned by the startup, TD Cork - Tapetes Decorativos com Cortiça, Lda., run by designer Susana Godinho and manager Sónia Andrade. This was, in fact, one of the first businesses to be accepted by Amorim Cork Ventures, during the first call for proposals, that ended in December 2014. After the incubation period (which allowed the product and business model to be developed), the company was incorporated and invested in production equipment, culminating in the market launch of the first woven cork carpets.
Susana Godinho explains: "In the years prior to starting the company, I discovered that cork’s unique characteristics gave me the opportunity to develop an innovative product – to weave a cork rug combined with other materials. The opportunity to work in close partnership with Amorim Cork Ventures came at a crucial time in terms of our product development, so we didn’t hesitate to submit an application."
As with other projects supported by Corticeira Amorim’s business incubator, cork is the differentiating element in SUGO CORK RUGS® and delivers several competitive advantages. The added value of the new carpet brand is based on its natural features, a diversity of patterns and colours, a new creative concept and multiple performance benefits, in terms of durability, thermal and acoustic properties, anti-humidity, minimisation of the risk of allergies.
In the opinion of Nuno Barroca, Corticeira Amorim’s deputy chairman, “When we analysed the value proposition of SUGO CORK RUGS®, we immediately realised that the idea had significant potential for the world market, where we typically position ourselves. A cork carpet produced using a loom is a brand new innovation. The collection’s aesthetic versatility is obviously an added value and the fact of combining cork with other sustainable materials fulfils one of the main success criteria for the interior design market.”
In addition to cork, the new carpet brand includes Portuguese wool and cotton, recycled from large industrial productions. The new collection of SUGO CORK RUGS® is contemporary - combining simple and stylish solutions with bolder works that complement cork’s natural colour with one or more of the colours of the textile fibres used.
Portugal is considered to be a world leader in the production of carpets and rugs targeted at the middle-high and high segment, such as Beiriz or Arraiolos rugs. SUK CORK RUGS® is also positioned in this segment. In a single product it combines two industries in which Portugal is widely recognized as a world leader - cork and woven carpets.
Responsible competitiveness and high social and environmental performance are important values for the brand’s intended positioning. Thus, and despite being a newly established firm, TD Cork has already obtained international certification from Pending BCorp - a fast-growing international movement that evaluates companies on the basis of their environmental, social and economic performance.
The priority sales channels will be specialist retail outlets, as well as partnerships with design firms and architecture studios in the main target markets of SUGO CORK RUGS ®.