The Economics Of Rug Weaving

The rug weaving industry in India is what is called a ‘cottage style industry.’ These industries are defined as small-scale, labor-intensive production that can be done with simple tools owned by the craftsperson. They are industries where no single person can have ownership of the manufacturing process and workers act as independent contractors.
 
Weavers either set up their looms at home, or in central locations in the villages, and learn the trade from people within their family or community.

Kendra Boyed asks:

ARE THE WEAVERS FAIRLY COMPENSATED?

Because weavers can build their own loom and have a specialized skillset, they are able to choose to produce goods for the exporter who offers them the highest pay. This system establishes a ‘set rate’ for the region, and as demand remains high, the rate increases over time. It doesn’t matter if you are a one-person business such as Mark Krebs or a giant corporation such as Ikea. The rate that a weaver receives is the same.  

Weavers are paid per square foot and earn different rates based on the complexity of the design. Master weavers earn the highest rate as they are able to deliver high quality rugs quickly and train other weavers.

Patricia Cressman asks:

WHAT ARE THE WORKING CONDITIONS LIKE?

Many weavers choose to set up in their own homes. In more central locations, many looms are set up in the open air with just a roof over the loom to give shade and keep the rain off during the monsoon. The weavers set their own hours and choose their own production volume. This allows for farmers to weave on the off-season and go back to the fields for harvest, or for women to have an income at home while taking care of their family.

Lauren Watts asks:

ARE THE RUGS FAIR TRADE?

Neither Mark Krebs or my export partners in India are affiliated with a fair trade organization at this time. As the business grows I’ll be looking more into different types of certifications as this would be a great way to show further transparency.
 
The focus of Mark Krebs is to bring an awareness to the process of manufacturing and make sure the story of the craftspeople is part of our brand identity. This type of transparency is critical of telling the true story of the life of everyday things.