Sustainable, Ethical Rugs for Good

RUGS FOR GOOD

www.rugsforgood.com.au

Rugs for Good Founder Jess Kulakowski started her business whilst on maternity leave, after watching a documentary called Daughters of Destiny. Prior to embarking on her motherhood journey, Jess was a social worker and she was inspired to continue her passion for helping others by creating a business that would support and change the lives of people that need it most. Rugs for Good is 100% child labour free and donates 100% of profit to support the education of children at the Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project.

“Starting this business has proven to me that human beings are generous and kind. The benefit of buying from Rugs for Good is that customers can support a good cause and get a beautiful rug for their home in the process. It’s a win-win! I believe that a rug can change the feel of a whole room, so why not change lives at the same time?” 

Rugs for Good
Rugs for Good "Agni" rug. Photo by Francoise Baudet, Styling by Madeline McFarlane

How did you start your business Rugs for Good?

“I started Rugs For Good on maternity leave, during my 4-month-old son’s nap times. After watching the Netflix documentary Daughters of Destiny. I felt inspired to contribute to their children’s project. So I learnt how to build a website, I created a Facebook and Instagram account and then I slowly began sourcing rugs to sell. I already had rug company/manufacturing contacts from my family business that I’d worked in since I was a teenager, so I just started with a product I already knew well and with the sales skills that I had developed over the years. Initially it was just a little side project to raise funds for the Shanti Bhavan Children’s charity but it was so well received by Australian’s that it grew very rapidly. We are just under 3 years old, it’s been a wild ride but such a purposeful and fulfilling one. This year we are working with Shanti Bhavan to open a branch for them in Australia to raise more funds to support their children’s education project. I have been made Director (I still pinch myself!) and never in my wildest dreams did I think this humble little website would lead to such incredible outcomes.”

 

Ethically made rugs
"Amira" Zig Zag Moroccan Rug in Soft Pink. Photo by Francoise Baudet, Styling by Madeline McFarlane

Could you tell us about your design process, production and manufacturing?

“We have our own signature rug collection that we have designed and are lovingly handwoven by our talented team in India. Our Slow Weave Collection encapsulates the core of our ethics and values at Rugs for Good. Made in small batches to ensure that the artisans are provided with long term, sustainable work rather than short and large bursts. This is to support our beloved artisans who create these beautiful pieces of art. We only work with one group of weavers – not multiple factories. This collection is of the highest ethical standard in the rug industry. We are very proud of this collection and new Slow Weave rug designs are arriving soon, ready to warm our customers’ homes for the winter.”

What has been most challenging for your business? 

“The pandemic really affected our international shipping routes and our winter collection last year was significantly delayed. We were so excited about it arriving however it arrived 5 months late! This was really disappointing as we had lots of customers very keen to order these rugs and even once they arrived, they kept selling out so quickly. We couldn’t keep up with customer demand and this was disappointing for us. Shipping routes are now starting to improve which means we have been able to provide rugs for our customers’ homes and this makes us so happy!”
Lagom Wool Rug
Photo by @misskyreeloves - Alaska's room makeover - Featuring the "Lagom" Hand Woven Wool Rug in Ivory

Can you share your top tips when selecting a rug for a kids room or playroom? 

“It’s always a tough question and it depends on the requirements for each customer. But generally speaking when it comes to kids, I recommend our rugs made of Polypropylene (Poly). We have a HUGE collection of these rugs in various colours, sizes and styles. Poly rugs are durable, stain resistant and easy to vacuum. I have literally hosed down some of my poly rugs during my son’s toilet training and they came up as new!  Whereas a wool rug can get easily spoiled by food spills or shoes being worn on them. Poly rugs are basically indestructible and this means that parents/caregivers don’t need to stress about them  getting ruined. Poly doesn’t absorb spills and can be easily wiped clean with a wet cloth. This is not to say that a natural fibre rugs like wool and cotton won’t work in a family setting but they do require a little more care. Many families prefer the feel of wool underfoot and are happy with the extra TLC required for a wool rug. Wool is a more sustainable fibre and the wool used in our Slow Weave collection is 100% New Zealand premium wool. Further to this, our wool rugs are handwoven, meaning they don’t require any electricity to make compared to the poly rugs which are machine made. There’s a lot to consider when selecting the right rug for your home, but we take great care in helping our customers make the right choice.” 

Sapna Wool Rug
Photo - @thefrenchfolk - Featuring the 'Sapna' Rug

Goals for the future of the business?

“Our main goals for 2022 and beyond are to release our new Slow Weave rug designs (so exciting!), to start shipping to New Zealand to service all those wonderful people reaching out to us over the ditch and to raise more funds to support The Shanti Bhavan’s Children Project to build their second school.”

What do you find the most rewarding aspect of owning your own business is?

“I really love designing the rugs with our rug maker in India. It’s so rewarding to watch a rug move through the entire design process and then be meticulously hand woven into a beautiful piece of art for your floor. I’m still so amazed by the talents of the traditional weavers who are still using 16th century skills to create our very special rugs. It almost goes without saying that our donations to our charity partner (Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project) are what motivate us the most and are the most rewarding part of running Rugs For Good. For me personally, Shanti Bhavan making me their new charity director of their Australian chapter (a volunteer position) has been the most incredible honour and an exciting move for the charity within Australia. I feel entrusted with this role and I can’t wait to raise more funds for the charity who are doing such wonderful work for underprivileged children in India. So many good things to come this year!”
 

Minty's picks from the Slow Weave Collection

‘Sapna’

100% New Zealand Wool 
Hand Knotted 
Ethically Made
GoodWeave Certified
(300cm x 200cm) 

$1,650

Rugs for Good

‘Agni’

100% New Zealand Wool 
Hand Knotted 
Ethically Made
GoodWeave Certified
(300cm x 200cm) 

$1,500

Ethically made rugs

‘Amira’

Power-loomed in Turkey
Polypropylene 
Non-shedding
Child labour free
330cm x 420cm 

$510 

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