“What can we as an industry do to make Oriental Rugs special?”
In the not so distant past, to buy and own a quality Oriental Area Rug was a sign of status. In 1985, Steve ran an ad in Lawyers Weekly with the headline; “CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE” The copy went on to say that if your office had an Oriental Rug in the waiting room, then you must be successful. To own a fine Oriental Rug in your home or office was special. Oriental rugs were a status symbol.
And today? No one can argue that over the past 20 years or so, real or perceived, we have seen Oriental Rugs as a category become more of a commodity and lose their status as a art form among “Main Street” consumers. Many said that it was because we have become a throwaway society that really doesn’t care much about buying quality products that they are proud to own and that will last.
Our response was, “Tell that to Rolex.” The Wall Street Journal is loaded with ads for Rolex, Jaeger, Patek-Phillipe and other high-end quality timepieces. While Timex, Seiko and other low to moderate priced watches have captured a huge share of the market, the value and status of the premium high quality timepieces has not been diminished.
Many we spoke to blamed the erosion of the public’s perception of Oriental Rugs on the explosion of Tufted and machine made qualities that have made our product category, floor fashion affordable to everyone.
Our response was, “Tell that to BMW.” Not for a minute was the BMW brand tarnished by Hyundai, Kia and other brands that made great styling affordable.
The great irony is that we still weave art and, today, oriental rugs capture a wider artistic spectrum than they ever did. As has been true for generations, really great qualities are still being woven.
The challenge before us all is to work diligently to educate the consumer to the art of hand knotted Oriental rugs. No segment of our industry can do it on its own. Suppliers and importers must spend the time and resources to educate those retailers and design professionals that stock and sell their rugs and instill in them passion for this great art form. Sellers – retailers and designers must devote the time to reach out to their suppliers and avail them selves of the tomes that have been written about the art of Oriental rugs. Then, the real magic can happen. The seller must bring that passion to the consumer and elevate the status of fine hand knotted Oriental rugs to where they once were and where they deserve to be.
Everyone whose survival depends upon the renewed and continued vitality of hand knotted rugs must do their part.
Are you in?
Sy Mahfuz and Steve Boodakian have been well-respected members of our industry for over 35yrs. Both are third generation experts in the sales and professional service of Oriental Area Rugs. Sy is the current president of Persian Rug Galleries. In 2003 they started The MERA Group to provide much needed product and customer service training to importers, retailers and design professionals.