How have your first few days been in Dubai?
It’s been a fantastic couple of days actually, the shops looking great, it’s all very exiting.
How many stores do you have now?
There is quite a few now, we have got 13 in total, would you believe? But Dubai is our most recently launched shop and so our latest excitement.
What is your job with the Rug Company?
I look after all our local partners and visit all of our franchises. I do a bit of travelling. It’s a really fun job.
How did the Rug Company come into being?
The founders Christopher and Suzanne started the company in 1997. Chris was in the film industry and Suzanne was an interior designer when they decided to put their two heads together and turn what was a passionate hobby into a business. They became very knowledgeable on rugs, beginning first with the traditional rugs before moving on to the contemporary. The couple travelled a lot, which enabled them to build up a fantastic international collection. The business first opened in Chelsea in London, but then moved soon after to Notting Hill because they realised that there was also a market for contemporary pieces. They set up a shop there with rugs that were designed by Suzanne. In 2000, they added more designers and launched the contemporary design collection.
Why did you choose Dubai to open your new store?
Dubai is a fantastic market for us. I think the customers here are pretty fashion savvy and very knowledgeable about design.
What can we expect from the store?
We have a couple of new design collaborations that we’re excited about. For example, we have a new collection from Matthew Williamson, which will be launched in Dubai soon alongside new designs from Alice Temperley – a London based designer who also has stores in New York an LA.
What is the average price of a carpet?
The prices vary due to the type of rug, so it depends on the material, the knot count and the size of the rug. A pure silk rug in a large size like would be much more expensive then a cow hide. For this you’re looking at around Dhs4,000 right through to… the sky is the limit to be honest. These are high-end, handmade, really quite special rugs designed by some of the leading names in fashion, so I think the value of the rug is reflected in its price tag.
What inspirations do you have from this region?
Because Dubai is such an international and cosmopolitan city, our preconceptions about the Middle East were blown out of the water. We work very closely with our local partners because they have the knowledge and we bring the brand to them. We are collaborating constantly as we slowly build up a shop and product base that we feel is suitable for the market. I believe that instead of tapping into the traditional culture, we have very much drawn from the contemporary nature of Dubai.
Have you been affected by the current economic problems?
I think it is at the back of everyone’s minds, but our market is quite niche – it’s luxurious and high end. We have found that a lot of our clientele are still very happy to spend on investment pieces. Our products last forever, they can be passed down to children. We have loyal customers and interior designers, because they love the service and product that we offer. There are still a lot of people out there who want to spend on special things and we are a unique product, so hopefully you will see more of us popping up all over the world.
The Rug Company (04 323 1161 ), DIFC, Gate Village, Building 2