As world demand for area rugs recovers, hand tufted rugs are taking an ever growing share of the market—over 50%. That’s up from about 25% five years ago. These data are in dollars, and since tufted rugs have a 3-4:1 cost per unit relationship to hand knotted rugs, the unit growth is amazing. This is proof, though, that new consumers are entering the U.S. rug market.
Another outing, fundamental to our trip to Mazar-e Sharif, took place on Friday morning (9/28) at Abdul Qadir Qandel’s warehouse at Buzkashi Circle. Most of the traders who traveled to Dubai came to this meeting; bringing many large rugs for us to see.
The Afghanistan/USA Carpet Conference in Dubai was a success. In my last post, I told you about how I traveled there to share the news about Sheep to Shop. Sheep to Shop is an initiative led by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration to help Afghan carpet traders build a stable and sustainable future by exporting directly to U.S. rug importers. The concept was well received.
I am in Dubai this week, attending the Afghanistan/USA Carpet Conference. Twenty of the best Afghan carpet making companies and some of the top American rug importers and retailers—including Macy’s—will be there. As one of the main presenters at the conference, I have the honor of telling the audience about a project I’m intimately involved in and passionate about: Sheep to Shop.
Afghanistan has developed a strong reputation as a source of high-quality handmade carpets in a diverse and varied range of styles. During my last trip to Afghanistan, I immersed myself in the weaving traditions. Nothing beats going there and sitting with the people to whom the traditions have been entrusted.