Sourcing handmade rugs, without my hands

05/10/2021
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Adventure, friendship and inspiration are the three pillars of any good buying trip. 

 The adventure of breaking routine and travelling to a distant land reignites your senses and nourishes your creativity. The time to stop and reflect on the busy months past is a true gift, whilst reconnecting with our good friends in India is yet another a reminder that for me, meaningful work is built on relationships.

 When sourcing and selecting handmade rugs, you can never truly underestimate the impact texture and feel. The purchasing process, like the product itself is tangible, tactile and sensory. Just as for our customers, the journey for a buyer needs to be exciting and emotive. There is nothing quite like discovering something totally new, waiting nine months patiently for it to arrive... for it then to be adored by your customers. It is this this long and hands on process that allows you to connect with your customers in the most palpable of ways. In essence, you share their journey in the reverse order.
 
Every industry has needed a shift in perspective in order to pivot successfully over the past 18 months. Amongst the myriad of challenges that we have faced as a business, no greater has been our inability to physically source our products with our hands and our eyes. As such, our process for developing new collections has undertaken a dynamic twist. When flying out samples and going through the process of reselecting colours, tones and weaves here in our studio; the final step now comprises some delicate description.

We found, over the first 6 months of 2020 that the infinite back and forth sampling, countless FaceTime calls and PowerPoint presentations we just weren’t making magic happen! One day, after 4 rounds of failed sampling I called one of our top suppliers and began to describe in acute detail the feeling I wanted to experience from the texture we were trying to produce.

 This was a specific luxury collection for bedrooms. I went on to describe the feeling of the rug underfoot. The tension in the knotting and how placing my fingers within the pile, would evoke the same sort of experience as thick tropical grass... but soft and fluffy. I went on to express how I wanted to “feel like a king waking up and walking across the bedroom to grab my robe!” All of a sudden, it started to click.
 
Looking back, it’s truly amazing to see how a slight change in perspective has allowed this process to evolve from technical and clunky, to purely emotive and descriptive. And with every passing month... our language becomes more vivid and our rugs more beautiful.

Dan Swart | Managing Director