THE RUG INDUSTRY IN INDIA: AN OVERVIEW
Rug weaving is a prominent trade practiced throughout rural India, with a concentration in the northern states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Punjab.
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. No single person can have a monopoly 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 the skills are passed down from people within their community.
ARE THE WEAVERS FAIRLY COMPENSATED?
Rug weaving is considered a well paying job in relation to the average income of the region. 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 establishes a ‘set rate’ for the region, and as demand remains high, the rate increases over time. Regardless of order size the rate that a weaver receives is held to this ‘set rate’. It is not possible to underpay a rug weaver as they will simply work for someone else.
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 can deliver high quality rugs quickly and train other weavers.
WHAT ARE THE WORKING CONDITIONS LIKE?
Many weavers choose to set up in their own homes, but many looms are set up in more central locations in the open air with a roof over the loom to give shade and keep the rain off during the monsoon. The weavers set their own hours and choose how many rugs they want to produce. 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.
ARE THE RUGS FAIR TRADE?
Neither Mark Krebs nor any of our export partners in India are affiliated with the fair-trade organization at this time. As the business grows we will investigate different types of certifications and work with our rug weavers to complete these certifications as this is a great way to show further transparency.
The focus of Mark Krebs is to bring an awareness to the process of manufacturing and to make sure the process of making is part of our brand identity. This type of transparency is critical of telling the true story of the life of everyday things.