One vision, two looms, and an impressive journey. The company you know today as Jaipur Living, started with the vision of N.K Chaudhary (the founder) connecting people around the world with the talents of the artisans that surrounded him in India.
We spoke to the CEO, Asha Chaudhary, in this interview for byDesign. Magazine.
Let’s start out by learning a bit more about your company. What makes your brand and products unique?
We’re truly rooted in the principles of love and respect, and we’re one of the few companies dedicated to preserving the art of handmade rugs. Our purpose as a business is to create beautiful lives—for the artisans who create our products, our employees, our designer partners, and by extension their clients. We’re women-led, 70 percent of our artisans are women, and most of our customers are women. Empowering them is as the center of who we are.
Do you have a favorite piece in your collection or a new item or collection coming that designers might not know about?
It’s tough to choose a favorite! We release new product launches every month, so my most-loved item or collection always changes. One of my favorite collections from our winter introductions is Manifest, a hand-knotted collection that achieves a beautiful Morroccan look in a high-performance design that doesn’t shed. It’s not only incredibly durable and easy to clean, but also incredibly beautiful. Its subtle, natural striations come from a unique wool yarn sourced from some of the highest mountains in Afghanistan. And because the wool comes from such a cold area, it also has incredible resilience, length and sheen. This collection truly highlights the amazing craftsmanship that Jaipur Living is known for.
Who or what inspires you most when conceiving of your designs?
Our inspiration comes from so many places—from what’s happening in the world at a macro-level or feedback from designers, to travel, nature, or trends. A great example of this is our hand-knotted Someplace in Time collection, which is inspired by a sense of nostalgia and the beauty of vintage rugs. We use an innovative washing method to create the look and feel of a vintage heirloom, but because the rugs are new, they’re made with modern interiors in mind and are available in all the standard and custom size options of a brand new rug.
What is the process behind initiating new designs/products?
We have an incredible Product Development team that constantly looks at the latest industry trends when concepting our designs. We’ve also been able to work with some amazing licensing partners such as Nikki Chu, Barclay Butera, and Italian designer Matteo Cibic, to name a few.
What is your favorite part about the manufacturing process?
It’s really incredible to see a rug design from start to finish, especially our hand-knotted pieces, which, on average, pass through 186 hands and take 240 days to complete.
Please speak to the custom nature of your lines.
Yes, we’re very proud of our custom rug program, which gives our customers the ability to customize the size and shape of more than 600 of our rugs. We’re also seeing that more and more customers are looking to customize, which is exciting. We want designers to find the perfect rug for the space they’re designing, and we don’t want size to stand in the way of that choice. Our website offers a Custom Calculator, which provides immediate pricing and timing after you select your rug and preferred custom dimensions. And if you’re on a tight deadline, we offer quick custom sizes for select collections that can be delivered in as quickly as three weeks.
Please give us an overview of the more personal side of your business, who’s behind it, how did it come to be, any interesting stories about the origin or the founders you can share?
My dad, our founder, built his business in 1978, upon the principle of love, working alongside so-called “untouchables” and defying deep-rooted practices of prejudice and discrimination. He carried these same principles of dignity, and respect into the way his three daughters were raised, even moving a thousand miles across India from Rajasthan to Gujarat because it was the most progressive place in the country to raise daughters. And I’m so proud of what we three daughters have accomplished in the industry: my sister Kavita Chaudhary is one of the most talented and respected rug designers, and my sister Archana and I have been able to create an incredible brand, Jaipur Living, where we carry dad’s principles of love and dignity into everything that we do.