In a business that finds its wares in generally speaking underdeveloped countries, we “in the business” have a duty and a responsibility to help improve the lot of the workers who make these products.
I have traveled the world and visited with tribal leaders and weavers in the rug villages that make the wool hand-knotted Persian area rugs for sale in my showroom. Visit my showroom so you can admire the top quality local Afghan sheep’s wool, intricate designs, beautiful colors and craftsmanship of these rugs. These rugs are often made by the same family for hundreds of years. I have shared meals, celebrated life and am a tireless advocate so their livelihood can grow and some day even prosper.
In addition to adding more channels to sell hand made wool rugs, for example my new line of Wholesale Rugs, this is what I do to give back:
Afghanistan – Arzu Studio Hope
I am Brand Ambassador for Arzu Studio Hope, a non-profit organization that provides Afghan rug weavers with a steady income and access to education and healthcare by sourcing and selling the rugs they weave to customers, mainly in the US. Since my first visit to the region over 40 years ago I have officially and unofficially dedicated myself to the women and children in these rug communities. Rug weaving touches almost 20% of the Afghans, mostly women.
Arzu, which means ‘hope’ in Dari, is a success story of innovative social entrepreneurship. They provide for the weaver’s children with necessities such as education, medical care and even free day care.
Arzu is making for me a 15′ x 18′ replica of the famous Pazyryk carpet, the oldest rug ever discovered. Read more at my A Rug for the Horse Culture blog post.
Please see these additional Arzu blog posts:
- Event to Benefit Afghan Women a Success
- Advocates for Afghanistan to Visit Charleston
- Making a Difference for the People of Afghanistan
- Fine Rugs to Host an Evening to Benefit the Young Women of Afghanistan
Sales to Interior Designers
Many of my sales are to my valued Interior Designers clients, and each sale of an Afghan rug helps break the cycle of poverty the weavers are facing.
Participation in Trade Fairs
I travel the world participating in trade fairs, conferences, home shows and more to increase sales of Afghan rugs and also to discuss my passion for these hand made rugs. I frequently display the Afghan rugs at shows in the USA including the High Point Furniture Market. Please see these blog posts about International fairs.
- Rob Leahy Attends Afghanistan International Carpet Fair
- Afghan carpet producers sell $1.7 million USD at Dubai conference
Subject Matter Expert
I am a Subject Matter Expert at the Afghanistan Reconstruction Task Force and also member of the Afghanistan Investment and Reconstruction Task Force, US Department of Commerce.
Events In My Showroom
Through the years I have hosted many free outreach events and benefit sales in my showroom. This 2014 article in my local newspaper explains a recent event: Local rug seller Rob Leahy works to empower Afghanistan’s rug weavers.
Sharing The Afghan Rugs Story