The Story of Hali10/10/2020
In 1979 Ian Swart temporarily took over his father’s rug shop in South Yarra, Melbourne. An unfortunate accident had left his father Louis unable to work, and at 29 he was temporarily thrown into a new career path.
After dropping out of a law degree in his early 20s, Ian had emerged into a successful entrepreneur running lucrative businesses in both women’s fashion and bespoke leather jackets. However, all of this was to change in a matter of weeks as he foresaw enormous potential for growth in handmade rugs.
In 1972, as a young hippie he spent two years travelling the world where he lived in Amsterdam and London. He then made his way overland all the way back to Australia. On this adventure, he fell in love with Afghanistan and India where he was inspired by the culture, the people and most significantly the incredible textiles.
After making the decision to explore a new path in rugs, he was excited by the prospect of going back to India sourcing textiles for his new venture. The following year Ian established Hali Rugs and brought about a fresh and innovative approach to rug making, customising colour pallets to specifically suit the Australian market.
Within 15 years had built a nationwide chain of retail stores as well as establishing Hali as the principal rug supplier to the David Jones Rug Department.
With 40 years passed, Hali Rugs has 7 showrooms nationwide and remains the market leader for handmade rugs in Australia.
Ian’s children Dan and Rebecca now manage the business, bringing a fresh and modern approach to the industry. He still pops in a couple times a week as their mentor, where his experience and retail nous are highly valued. Dan and Rebecca are now fourth-generation of their family in the rug industry.