With commercial segments redirecting their interior designs to incorporate a more residential feel, it is only natural that products such as furniture, lighting, and flooring follow suit. This is partially what inspired J+J Flooring Group to develop Kinetex, a flooring product that benefits those environments requiring the comfort of carpet with the strength of a hard surface.
What was born is a product that took specifications from carpet and LVT and merged them together to offer solutions that had yet to be explored in the market. interiors+sources sat down with Keith Gray, J+J’s director of applied research; Ginger Gilbert, vice president of design and development; and Natalie Faulkner, director of marketing communications, to discuss the evolution of Kinetex and the challenges and triumphs that have come with developing the unprecedented product.
Gray was brought on in 2011 to complete a product evaluation for Kinetex, finish the development, and determine if the product was commercially viable. “The most challenging part of [making] the product was deciding what equipment [to use],” he recalled. Due to its unique blend of materials, determining the ideal manufacturing process was tricky. Gray also moved forward with product testing and performance, which led to marketing development by Faulkner’s team.
A few months before NeoCon in 2012, J+J was debating on whether or not to preview Kinetex at the show. Ultimately, the company’s efforts in designing a temporary exhibit garnered positive industry feedback—so much so that Kinetex earned Best of Neocon 2012. After the helpful response, J+J decided to move ahead and fully realize the product by heavily investing in manufacturing as well as training its seasoned sales representatives on the new line.
Next steps for Next NeoCon
Although the product was a success at NeoCon, the work for the Kinetex development team was just beginning. After the show, they had the remainder of 2012 up until NeoCon 2013 to work on the product and take it from “utilitarian” to something with real design appeal. Because J+J was was using equipment designed to manufacture industrial textiles, the appearance of Kinetex at that time was not a selling point. The task was to prove that the product would sell based on aesthetics and performance. The team put in the work and Kinetex officially launched at NeoCon in 2013.
While validating Kinetex as an installed product, select sales representatives sold the offering below cost for a risk-free guarantee. If the product did not meet the end user’s
standards, J+J would uninstall it at no cost. This was a crucial step in understanding all facets of Kinetex; as Gray said, “it takes more than a product to launch a product.” With that, it was J+J’s intention to test how other factors affected the product’s success, which included warranties, installation, maintenance instruction, and messaging.
J+J has recently invested in a facility specifically built to manufacture Kinetex products. It is scheduled to open in 2018 and will facilitate design development. Gilbert noted that although Kinetex started with a solid gray color palette, it has continued to evolve. With the new facilities, the design team will develop more patterns, textures, and color depths at a fast pace using the same unique manufacturing techniques.