I have been in the rug business for 46 years now. I believe that rug weaving is an art, and I am committed to doing what I can to preserve the life and integrity of the industry. That’s why I’m pleased and honored to have been accepted to serve on the Board of Directors for the Oriental Rug Retailers of America.

For more than 40 years, ORRA has been the only national not-for-profit organization working to promote ethical practices in the Oriental rug business. ORRA has become known throughout the country as the organization to depend upon for reliable Oriental rug information.

Last month I traveled to Atlanta to the International Area Rug Market and met with other members of ORRA. As my introduction to the board, I gave a brief presentation about the work that I have been doing in Afghanistan for the U.S. Government sponsored program “Sheep to Shop”. The participants in the session were very interested in the details of the project and the long term benefit for the Afghan people.

My traveling partner and fellow Subject Matter Expert, Alex Zahir, joined me in a round table discussion of current examples of Afghan craft rugs. Alex brought a few specimen rugs from his collection. Most notable was the Kojha Roshai rug, a rather new design made by Turkmen weavers that is becoming very popular across Europe where Afghan Red rugs remain in high demand.

Alex Zahir, Abdul Qadir Qandeel and Rob

After I returned from the seminar, Alex forwarded me an email he’d received from Afghanistan. It was from a man who is part of a family of rug weavers that is benefiting financially from the orders place after our recent trip to Dubai.

I can report numbers and data, but personal accounts like this is the real proof that the work I do outside of my store–on the other side of the world–is worthwhile.

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