Meet The Team: Shaw Contract

Shaw Contract is one of the key brands promoting sustainability in the region. With a strong focus on the ‘Cradle to Cradle’ concept, and stringent recycling standards, the brand gets a glowing green star from us! 

This month officially marks a year since its showroom opened doors within the Dubai Design District hub, and while the celebrations have been a virtual affair with the current situation, the team is confident that they will overcome this wave.

We spoke to the regional team, Christopher Champlin, Regional Vice President MEA, Carly Dubery, Sales Team Leader, James Coward, Sales Manager, and Paolo Vaccarello, Commercial Sales Manager MEA, to learn about the team’s successes and direction going forward…

About the brand’s ‘Secret Sauce’…

Christopher: What makes this company special are the people. Realistically, it is the people that care about the company, how we go about our daily lives. When I came to Shaw Contract many years ago, I was amazed by the number of people, in different parts of the company, invested in its success. This is what leads into our brand message of smarter impact and being human centric – focusing on people, and focusing on what people bring to the business and the community everyday, and then how we interact with that community as a company, as a brand, as a product, and as individuals. We do a lot in terms of social responsibility and not just in the US. Probably our biggest initiative, company wide, is our support of St John Children’s Hospital. We have several products in our ranges in the US that we donate to, a portion of our profit, so that families with children getting treatment for cancer don’t have to spend a dime. 

Above: Simply By Nature from Shaw Contract

We have some global programs where we support design firms in order to help them donate their time to design schools and hospitals that are built in Africa and other parts of the world. Our environmental message is always evolving and changing. We are always learning more and more about the environment, and learning about the impact our products have on it, plus what we need to do.

“We have got three smarter impact pillars that are really important to us as a company – knowledge, human centric and optimistic.”

– Carly Dubery, Sales Team Leader, Shaw Contract

Carly: We have been in the market for five years and were fortunate enough to open our office here in d3 over an year ago, so we have been really ingrained into the design community and have been a source of knowledge. We are finding that everyone’s got this passion about being more sustainable, which is great for us. We have been ‘Cradle to Cradle’ for over 20 years and were the first manufacturer to do that. 

We have got three smarter impact pillars that are really important to us as a company. The first being knowledge led. We now have a larger team who have plenty of knowledge of the market and of our products, and we have got connections with our UK and US factories. The second core pillar is being human centric. It’s all about connecting with our clients, understanding their needs, often preempting them. The third core pillar is being optimistic. We are certain that we can make a positive impact by having a positive attitude and making that spread throughout our community as well.

Above from Left: James Coward, Sales Manager, Christopher Champlin, Regional Vice President MEA, Carly Dubery, Sales Team Leader, and Paolo Vaccarello, MEA Commercial Sales Manager

James: One of the key things at Shaw Contract is eliminating the concept of waste and thinking about material reutilisation as part of design. We have a strong Cradle to Cradle philosophy that promotes a circular economy. The brand designs products with materials that safely return to nature, or can be reutilised by the industry. 

Paolo: Being involved in the Middle East and Africa business development for the company has been exciting. Two years ago, we acquired a new factory in Scotland, so I have been working on expanding the distribution of products for this region working with our network of aligned dealers. This involved finding the right partners and people. With the new factory, we are able to produce competitive new products, provide better service, and shorter lead time. 

What were the highlights of the previous year?

Carly: We grew our team last year and have a new office space in a design hub, which serves as a resource center, for clients and designers to come in and experience our full range of products, samples and layout templates, and colour palettes. 

James: We are seeing more and more projects with requirements for LEED. Our ‘Cradle to Cradle’ certification is something we feel that designers and clients value. Since there is growing demand for sustainability, we are seeing more interest in our products.

Paolo: We have added new distribution channels in the region, especially Africa, as well as new distribution partners in the Middle East. Promoting sustainable solutions is particularly interesting, especially in different countries. 

Clockwise from Left: Assembly Carpet Tile, Dye Lab Carpet Tile, Unite Loose Lay LVT, reFrame Woven LVT,Haven Carpet Tile

Any new innovations and challenges?

Paolo: We have take back programs for our carpets free of charge at the end of the life of the carpet. We ship these back to our factory to recycle them into new carpets or in the form of energy, or in the UK they will be re-used for other products.

James: We also have some really interesting hard surface products that are in development, along with some healthcare products with technology integration. 

“As pioneers we have celebrated over 20 years working with the Cradle to Cradle design philosophy which underpins everything we do”.

– Christopher Champlin, Regional Vice President MEA, Shaw Contract

Christopher: On the carpet tile front, we were the first company to create a fully recyclable carpet tile. Something a lot of people are not aware of. We have won chemistry awards from the US EPA and other government agencies for developing that. Today, our carpet tile backing is recyclable, and we even take our nylon yarn and put that in another recycling chain.”  

As pioneers we have celebrated over 20 years working with the Cradle to Cradle design philosophy which underpins everything we do throughout the design process. Today, more than ever designers and specifiers are looking for solutions that deliver on material health, disassembly, circularity and value to help create interior spaces that both inspire but also embrace sustainability and wellbeing.

We continue to innovate and while we have had a take-back scheme in place for many years for our EcoWorx carpet tiles, we are in 2020 introducing a scheme for our TaskWorx carpet tiles which are made in the UK.

Clockwise from Left: Simply By Nature Carpet Tile, Suited Carpet Tile

With the current environment, the entire Shaw Contract sales, marketing and customer service teams have shifted to remote-based working, so we continue to remain operational and engaged within the design industry. We encourage firms to reach out to us during this phase and as lockdown protocols evolve, we hope to re-open our showroom and welcome the community in the near future.

We will also be introducing two new collections – Simply By Nature and Suited. Manufactured in the UK, they both meet key trends we foresee post-COVID for commercial interiors: one for a connection to nature with our Simply By Nature collection, and for an association with comfort through a connection to timeless fabrics and hints of home in our Suited collection.

Both collections embrace an atmosphere of ease and security which is a key look for today’s interior finishes.

What are the plans for the future?

James: We have established a new factory in Scotland, so we are developing a lot of new products out of the UK, specifically for the MEA region. The products will have gone through European testing, and it will be in metric size rather than US standard sizing.

Christopher: A recent addition to our team has been the appointment of our Showroom Manager – Brenda Mascarenhas, who is in charge of the day to day running of our D3 showroom and supporting our team there, whilst also working on broader engagement with the D3 community and beyond. 

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