I remember quite vividly, the moment that we found our perfect partner! Needless to say it all happened at the kitchen table. We had been searching for the right team to produce our rugs in India for around a year. Up until this point we had been creating commission hand tufted pieces in Scotland and although the quality was good, communication easy and logistics fairly straightforward, they had difficulty achieving the level of detail I desired and we so wanted to pitch to the popular John Lewis Partnerships.
We knew such expertise was to be found in India an area renowned for its artistic mastery. After many samples of differing qualities made over the course of a year, there was one that conquered our hearts however, the price point just wasn’t favourable for John Lewis, we were at a bit of a loss!
Then, the revolutionary phone call we were waiting for came one evening just after dinner from Jasbir the owner of a fledgling rug business, and after much discussion we worked out a way we could make it work! 7 years on and our partnership is gaining strength, it is fair to say we have both grown together with the help of each other.
Alongside my desire to create beautiful rugs I’m also passionate with regard to fair treatment of all staff taking part in each stage of our rugs production process. How do we attain ethical practices when working with organisations throughout the world? This is a constant question on my mind as our intricate designs are knotted and tufted in Asia an area notorious for its accomplished artistry and whose culture lays supreme devotion towards this practice.
Having found Jasbir who could produce our beautiful yet intricate designs it was imperative that we could invest time and energy into the team with regard to fair practices within their organisation. Jasbir’s commitment to this ideal has led to all our rugs being produced with Goodweave certification.
Since its inception in 1994, Goodweave has striven to provide a consistent standard across all rug producing countries. It has accelerated transparent monitoring of working conditons for weavers and staff involved in the production of rugs and assisted positive changes in Asian communities promoting the values of education for children which has resulted in increased access to learning.
Goodweave monitors organisations through an annual audit to ensure its standards are met. The audit also enables identifcation of any areas that need to be addressed in order that Goodweave can implement support and/or devise a programme to assist improvement for those organisations employees. It is ongoing in its quest to create fair working environments and instil positivity into workers lives.
With Jasbir’s support inhouse learning is actively encouraged and experienced staff pass on their skills to newly recruited employees or those adapting to different roles. Many Asian businesses have strong family bonds and relish the opportunity to convey their knowledge down through their generations through hands on training sessions under guidance at the work place.
This is Sachin one of our team who is 28 years old and a rug Tufter. He has been engaged in this role for 2 years and loves his job. Being a tufter is an extremely skilled position as each colour or fibre is tufted seperately. The tufter is steady handed and particularly precise as they use the hand held gun which shoots the yarn through the canvas from the back to the front of the rug. Sachin has gained experience of more complex rug designs improving his dexterity and precision under the guidance of the production team.
Anju below is a Master Tufter who has been a member of the team for 8 years. She is an exceptionally skilled high grade tufter and demonstrates her attention to detail with more intricate and complex designs.
Here is Satish who is the Finishing Manager and Wimay who is also a Finisher. They have both been long standing employees and demonstrate their skills shearing and carving the rugs by hand which gives the rug its final lustrous finish before they are meticulously inspected for packaging.
There is also a demand for flexibility within Jasbir’s organisation due to the large farming community in India. Staff living in the outreaches of towns who wish to travel into the workplace require a system that adapts to their home commitments as well as their work schedule. In order to maintain this balance we have regular conversations with the team and are mindful of the various cultural holidays and the consequences of the monsoon season that require intuitive timetabling to ensure staff are valued and content.To produce these beautiful rugs is a lengthy process undertaken by employees who enjoy the craft and relish the opportunity to become more skilled. Our desire in this increasingly conscientious world is to ensure that the staff recruited in this process can live and work with dignity, that they are invested in and that the Goodweave principles lead to a respectful living providing a livelihood for rural as well as urban residents through sustainable employment channels.
Look out for @wendymorrisondesign on instagram where the talented, happy staff are engaged in their work. Our pursuit continues with the aim to create striking, classical rugs for your feet all the while improving and maintaining a fair work place for all staff including progress towards zero discrimination, even better working conditions, good wages and a safe forward thinking environment!
Hope you enjoyed reading! Wx