The Rug Republic’s comprehensive catalogue for home decor is chic
Rugs certainly aren’t the first thing you think of buying online. But The Rug Republic is here to change that. “We believe using augmented reality and great customer service buying rugs online will be a breeze very soon. The way we shop is changing and we must change with it,” says a spirited Raghav Gupta, Director of E-Commerce, The Rug Republic. The Delhi-based brand that specialises in making handmade and eco-friendly Indian rugs, pouffes and accessories plan to be completely carbon neutral in the future. Raghav takes us through the brand’s journey, challenges faced and more. Excepts:
What inspired you to start The Rug Republic?
The founders are two brothers- my father Aditya Gupta and my uncle Ashish Gupta. TRR’s origin can be traced to the year 1983 when their parents, J.K. Gupta and Meenakshi Gupta started a small carpet making operation in Meerut, a small town 60 km north of Delhi. The founder brothers took it globally once they came on board 8 years later. Little did they know that the unit which they had set up in their garage with 6 weavers, will one day turn into an industry leader, directly or indirectly supporting around 5,000 families, and supplying rugs to more than 80 countries. The inspiration to start Studio Sharda (our parent company) was the opportunity as well as the lack of other opportunities. Serendipity is a powerful force in life. Everything does not really have a romantic story; or rather not every love story starts as a poem! The idea behind starting The Rug Republic was born out of Studio Sharda with the idea of providing retailers faster lead times, lower MOQs and ready to go styles. We aim to bring the art of Indian Handmade rug to every country in the world and we believe TRR's model is the perfect way to achieve that.
Since it uses unconventional materials to make rugs, how challenging has the journey been?
The journey has surely had its fair share of challenges, we were one of the first people in India to adopt things like recycled denim and PET bottles to manufacture floor furnishings. This meant two challenges – firstly, R&D. To make the process efficient and viable, it took a while to perfect the production as we did not have too many reference materials to go by. The second was the uncharted territory in terms of commercial viability. We were fairly in the unknown in terms of knowing whether our audiences will take to these new lines of products and it was a gamble, but I'm glad we took it.
What can we find in the collection?
We like to think of The Rug Republic as an ode to authentic crafts and an embrace of modern style. We pride ourselves in the fact that we bring Indian Handicrafts to the forefront of the world of home decor across the world. The TRR collection is a comprehensive catalogue of choicest products ranging from hand-tufted & handwoven rugs (made of cotton, wool, leather, denim, recycled fabric and PET yarn) to home décor accessories like pouffes, stools, cushions and even benches made from the same materials. We are the only brand of Indian handmade rugs to be given the Global Recycled Standard (GRS) Certificate. Our production centres are largely solar-powered and we aim to be completely carbon neutral over the coming years.
Where do you source the materials from?
Our materials are sourced from around the globe, from pristine wool from New Zealand to used denim jeans and fabrics all the way from the United States. Much of our materials are also sourced from Indian cities such as Badhoi, Bikaner and Mirzapur which are rather important parts of our industry.
Do you have operations only in India?
Our production centres /manufacturing units are based around Meerut, Uttar Pradesh and some around the carpet belt of India; Badhoi, Mirzapur etc. We also export to over 90 countries across 6 continents. We have a gorgeous flagship showroom in New Delhi and more than 10,000 retail touchpoints worldwide.
We plan to grow in the e-commerce space both in India and abroad, using online advertising as well as novel methods of presenting the products to the customer; people often want to get an idea of how the rug will look in their home and we are working on using augmented reality to make that possible for people sitting at home. We’re off to a good start and aim to be on 100+ marketplaces within the next 24 months. We aim to set up distribution centres all around the world and make sure no one has to wait for more than a couple of days for their gorgeous TRR product.