When Nand Kishore looked at the market of rug weaving, over 40 years ago, he saw huge gaps in the supply and industry. He saw weavers being underpaid, inefficiencies in the systems, and products of sub-par quality. He decided make the changes he dreamt of, which led him to set up not only Jaipur Rugs, but also the Jaipur Rugs Foundation. The Foundation aims at uplifting marginalised communities by giving them skills, job and leadership capacities. Created as a social enterprise and based on humanitarian capitalism, Jaipur Rugs channels profits back into community-building activities that strengthen his workforce and impoverished populations across India. Weavers who used to receive INR 50-60 a day now earn INR 250-300 a day, along with being treated like legitimate members of society. The model is built around communities, harnessing potential at the grassroots level - senior managers are identified within artisan families and trained in management.
It is this combined pursuit for profit and equality that has allowed Nand Kishore to build a brand and establish trust in the market. Nand Kishore’s daughter Kavita heads the design department and has been working with a team of over 50 members, which includes researchers, patternists and colourists, to create new and exciting products that blend local flavour with international design tastes. Jaipur Rugs' recent collections are sophisticated, innovative and fuse the best of local and global aesthetics. In 2014, the company took the amazing step to encourage its experienced weavers to create their own designs, an activity that resulted in the hugely successful Artisans Collection. Jaipur Rugs has changed the way we think about rugs; it makes hand-tufted wool rugs, flatweaves and hand-knotted designer pieces in wool, viscose and silk. With a vast product range and a philosophy that strikes a chord, Jaipur Rugs is one of the first social enterprises to have entered the luxury design space and make it work.
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