An Archetype Of Enterprise & Ethics
Insite|October 2016

Jaipur Rugs Co. is India’s leading and most awarded brand of handmade rugs, based in the northwestern state of Rajasthan, the company works with village artisans throughout India and has a presence in over 45 countries.

Values form the foundation of Jaipur Rugs

The business is built on the bedrock of values that goes back to the founder, Nand Kishore Chaudhary that combines kindness as their default demeanour, compassion for those around them, and the humility that everyone deserves dignity. This means that Jaipur Rugs will work with all those that stand for these values, and it drives them as an organisation to work with and tap into the creative capacity of those in the society that are disadvantaged or rejected.

With their help, Jaipur Rugs not only creates the most distinct design of the highest quality but are also able to capture the blessings of the disadvantaged such as the artisans and their families. This blessing derives from their passion and devoted labour as they receive the opportunity to grow their fortunes, self-worth and pride, which then transform into their products.

The visionary early beginning

As a young lad, Nand Kishore found himself restless and directionless for a while. Though he had finished college and had started working in his father’s shoe shop in Churu, he was not happy. He recounts, “In 1978, Churu was a small town without much purchasing power. I realised that there wasn’t much potential in the shoe business.”

He soon had a job offer as a cashier in a bank, yet he did not join the government job and rejected a secure and stable life. He knew he wanted to start something on his own, something big.

Crafting with weavers

A friend had told him that hand-knotted rugs were in huge demand. Therefore, he travelled to Jaipur and studied the industry. He also visited the carpet looms and saw how carpets were fabricated.

Meanwhile, he borrowed ₹5,000 from his father to buy two looms. He hired eight weavers of untouchable caste and a master weaver. Despite opposition from his family and caste taboo, he stayed with the weavers, learnt how to weave from them, and would even eat lunch with them sitting next to the looms. He did not agree with their argument that weavers belong to lower castes. In fact, he believed, “How can someone who weaves such beautiful carpets be of lower rank and bad at heart. Isn’t a person known by the work he does?” Such was his love for weaving and his artisans, it was evidenced in their first woven carpet.

Two years later, an article featured a photo of NKC’s first carpet and highlighted the bright future of the handmade carpet industry. This helped him gain confidence, and he decided to expand.

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