In an age where machines are replacing humans, Jaipur Rugs is an exception. The company proudly refers to itself as people-led. The brand, in its 40 years of existence, has become an example of true companionship, trust and innovation
By: Nikita Vivek Pawar
Posted on: November 26, 2018
‘Just sweep it under the rug’ - we have practised this adage numerous times, both metaphorically and quite literally. What we consider to be a mere rug is one of the oldest and voluminous industries in the world. Indian carpets, specially, are known for their unique designs, fascinating colours, and outstanding quality across the globe. Jaipur Rugs, an Indian carpet-making company, with an annual turnover of over INR 150 crores, is completely people-led. “Innovations holds the power to change the world and each of us are capable to bring the change,” says N.K.Chaudhary, the founder of Jaipur Rugs.
Mr. Chaudhary recounts, “Indian carpet industry lacked In innovation, technology, connectivity to global trends and efficient production processes. Hand-knotted carpets sold at phenomenal prices around the globe and this led to the mushrooming of multiple middlemen, who perpetually intended to usurp the deserved-dues of weavers.” And thus, Jaipur Rugs started with two looms, nine weavers, and a borrowed 5000 rupees in 1978. Forty years later, it’s one of the major rug producing companies in India, yet its principles remain intact.
Innovation and Creativity
Jaipur Rugs’ major focus is creative innovation. They want to encourage the creative minds of the artisans to ensure a unique design, unparalleled colour combinations, and more than that, an individualistic approach. To subsidize it, Jaipur Rugs follows a very disruptive form of supply chain management. The raw materials are delivered to the artisans, so they can work from home. This gives the artist his creative freedom as well as ensure a healthy work environment for them.
The artisans are also credited with their work which motivates them to create designs and patterns that are unique and represent them. The unstructured industry is now revived, eliminating the middlemen, ensuring that the artisans got the price they deserved, and quality wasn’t compromised. Jaipur Rugs also has rigorous quality checks to ensure that the customer gets what they asked.
Communication is Key
Communication when done right helps overcome almost every obstacle. Where the rest of the world focused on mass producing, at Jaipur Rugs, you see an exquisite connection between the “Doers”[artisans] and the “Thinkers” [head office]. They have a communication that is beyond formality and protocol. “When business was growing, I had very little time to go to villages. Then I focused on getting back to listening to weavers. So many solutions started coming from those weavers and there was a big change in our capabilities. We have so many leaders emerging from the grassroots who started understanding the growth opportunity for Jaipur Rugs,” Mr. Chaudhary remembers. The communication helps them create something that they are proud of.
There is also communication between the consumers and the artisans. This not only aids customisation but also has an unknown sense of familiarity. Jaipur Rugs also created a postcard program to start a dialogue between the artisans and the customers.
The 2013 Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh brought forward the gruesome condition of the artisans’ that worked in the factories. The poor condition of the artisans and their minimum wage rate created a worldwide wave of awareness and forced brands to revive their labour contracts. At Jaipur Rugs, the artisans are the company’s driving force, being completely led by manpower has its own challenges, but Jaipur Rugs aims to empower. “The idea was to improve lives through personal, economic, educational and social empowerment rather than just giving away in charity. That initial vision has blossomed into a unique vertically-integrated global organization.”
To further facilitate Mr. Chaudhary’s vision, Jaipur Rug Foundation was established in 2004 - a non-profit organisation that works tirelessly to empower the artisans and their families in the rural areas of the country. Jaipur Rug Foundation works on creating awareness about gender equality, conduct health camps and encourage overall sustainability. The foundation helps artisans’ families to become economically independent and technologically aware. “Encouraging artisan community creating something entirely of their own on an unassuming loom through Its ‘Artisan Original’ Initiative, Jaipur Rugs Foundation is now looking forward for weaver taking ownership of their work and eventually become a partner in profit sharing with Jaipur Rugs,” said the founder.
JRF genuinely believes in the betterment of the artisans. They strive to give the underprivileged a life with decent job opportunities, financial stability and social recognition. They also believe in keeping the art and its techniques alive and thriving.
According to statistics, 75% of carpets or rugs are exported overseas. Jaipur Rugs’ biggest markets are USA and Europe. From collaborating with Kate Spade to Jaipur Rugs’ 2018 debut at the Maison Et Objet, an international home décor fair, with their Manchaha Collection, the carpet brand has a massive global footprint. Plans to create a Manchaha museum are underway by Jaipur Rugs.
“It Is amazing to see our weavers winning globally recognized design awards. From rural Rajasthan to the global stage, Bimla, one of our weaver-designer from Aspura village, brings home German Design Award Design Award by competing among 5000 professional designers.“ It is indeed a proud moment for India.
Jaipur Rugs truly inspires and empowers the youth of the world. A company that sets its foot towards innovation, equality and progress are the signs of a true captain of the industry.