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Anjali Kirpalani| Posted On: 16-Nov-2011

Rashi Bajaj, the first carpet designer in India, launched her label, Carpet Couture by Rashi in 2009. She has expertise in making customized carpets of different sizes, shapes, colours, fabrics and adorned with embellishments like Swarovski crystals, genuine leather patches, hand embroidered motifs. She chats with Sk on the demand for hand woven carpets, her brand plans etc…

How did you decide on designing carpets? It is an unusual area of specialization…
My family has been manufacturing carpets and exporting them across the world for years. It was actually my husband’s idea to start customizing carpets. He said customization is happening for every other product so why not carpets?

Is there a demand for hand woven as compared to machine made carpets?
Initially carpets were just hand-made. Now there is a large market for machine made carpets. But there are still people who appreciate hand woven carpets. The quality of handmade carpets is far more superior than that of machine made carpets.

What is price difference between hand woven and machine made carpets?
It’s a major price difference. It’s almost 3 times the difference. So if a machine made carpet is priced at X, a hand woven one will start at 3X and go upwards.

Please tell us about the work that goes into a hand-woven carpet?
Our hand woven carpets are made by skilled workers in the rural Bhadohi-Mirzapur belt of India. I was brought up in this area and my family has been working with these weavers for the last 30 years. The time that it takes to make each piece varies on the size etc but the shortest lead time is 4-5 weeks. Usually just one weaver would work on one piece, otherwise there would be a difference in hand.

Are you beginning to face competition in this industry now? What are your current and future business plans?
There really isn’t competition. The level of customization we offer is quite unique. All our customers say that hardly anyone else out there offers the exact need of the customer. We can give you exactly what you need in terms of quality, style and design for your carpets. I’ve worked on projects with interior designers for hotels, farmhouses etc. We also get walk in customers. The demand for carpets is certainly there. Any interior designer who works on a home will always recommend a carpet, at least for the living room. Carpets provide that formal setting that a space requires. I aim to supply customized carpets to anyone who has a home in the entire world! We currently supply to the Middle East, Europe and U.S. I really want to work with the top interior designers and architects of the world. I’ve already worked with some of the best in Mumbai and Delhi. In terms of international markets, I’m looking at New Zealand, Australia etc; whatever comes across really.

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