Rugs and Beyond - Allows Local Weavers and Craftsmen to Sell Their Carpets to a Global Clientele

Rugs and Beyond has a unique value proposition and aims to manifest the “Made in India” motto in every possible way to a global clientele.

Sakshi Talwar wants to take Rugs and Beyond to another level. Apart from designing customized rugs for clients, she has successfully held shows in Thailand, Portugal and South Africa.

Team BW Disrupt Interacts with Sakshi Talwar, Co-Founder, Rugs and Beyond and Spoke to Her

Tell us about the inception?

The ideas of Rugs and Beyond came into inception in 2014 with the sole aim to provide a platform to local weavers and craftsmen to sell their “One of a kind” carpets to a global clientele. I had absolutely no technical knowledge back then and educated myself by learning the idiosyncrasies of Digital Marketing by enrolling for a 6-month course while learning the ropes of the game myself. Also, previously I have studied an interior design course from Parsons, New York that certainly was a catalyst in increasing my inclination towards the home décor and interior design industry. However, after a thorough research of the Indian Carpet Industry and going through various challenges with our developers while dealing with the nuances of putting together an Ecommerce platform, Rugs and Beyond was finally founded in late 2015 in New Delhi by myself under the aegis of my father’s mentorship.

Rugs and Beyond is not like any other regular Ecommerce store. We believe in not just selling products but selling an experience. Given the fact, that our talented weavers intricately weave each carpet and it takes almost 6-8 months to weave each rug, Rugs and Beyond staunchly believes in telling a rug story. Our aim is to make the online rug shopping experience as seamless as possible and one of our biggest USP is that we offer free shipping worldwide.

What are the unique key points of your company?

One of our biggest USP is that we offer free shipping worldwide which is a big deal since rugs are bulky items. Additionally, our products are directly from the source and there are no middlemen involved which enables us to list fair prices. Also, the beauty of selling these rugs online is that each merchandise is “One of a Kind”.

How is it different from the existing ones?

I believe that if any business does not possess a unique differentiating factor, they need to re-analyse their business proposition. The first and foremost rule that we abide by is “Transparency”. We ensure that there are no marked up prices or hidden costs. For instance, if the knots per square inch in a silk carpet are less, we convey the same to our clients and also provide a “Certification of Authenticity” at the same time unlike other retailers who tell a different story.

We essentially do 5 major things:

1) Offer beautiful, “One of a Kind” products to a global clientele
2) Provide a platform to local weavers to sell their craft
3) Collaborate with Interior Designers and Home Decorators
4) Offer Free Shipping Worldwide
5) Give our 100% and work relentlessly to provide stellar customer service

Tell us about your future plans?

The start-up is at its nascent stage and there is a lot more to do and I firmly believe that sky is the limit. We have a plethora of ideas and concepts to implement keeping constant innovation and creativity in mind. For example, we are coming up with a feature that shall make the overall experience of buying a rug even more seamless. Also, we are in the process of creating our own design magazine by collaborating with industry insiders and influencers. Lastly, we are also adding other home décor categories like fine art, decorative accents since our aim is to become a one-stop-shop for exclusive home décor products.

How are you different from the existing competitors?

Rugs and Beyond has a unique value proposition and aims to manifest the “Made in India” motto in every possible way to a global clientele. One of our biggest differentiating factors is that we specialize in “Handcrafted” products. Most of our carpets are hand woven by skilled weavers, which takes months to weave as opposed to other retailers who are merely selling machine made carpets.

Also, prior to selling products, we first strive to educate our clients about the art of carpet weaving. Our focus is not just selling carpets or rugs to customers worldwide. Our axiom is to provide an overall experience to carpet connoisseurs and people who appreciate art since most of the exclusive products are preserved as memorabilia because they are highly durable to the extent that it can be passed on for generations altogether.

What is the funding status and monetization model?

Rugs and Beyond is completely self-funded. We have a close-knit, dedicated in-house team who are not just thoroughly involved in marketing but are also coming up with new-fangled, innovative ideas very often. We have garnered interest from investors due to our unique business model and will be venturing out soon when we find the perfect fit and someone who we share a common vision with.

What challenges are you facing in running your business?

Some of the early stage challenges we have faced in the past is- finding the right type of employees. I really think that by the end of it it’s all about team effort. One might have an awesome idea and methodology, but it is all in vain if one doesn’t have an ace team. Also, given the fact that Rugs and Beyond has a plethora of ideas to implement in the future, one of the other challenges we face is limited spending. Lastly, since we are selling high value ticket items online, there are times when a customer wants to touch and feel a product before spending that kind of money. Although, we have combatted this problem by providing carpet samples before hand, this does remain an issue at times.

How do you look at expansion?

Rugs and Beyond has huge expansion plans set for the coming future. It is so crucial for any company to constantly keep evolving and keep abreast with the changing times. We are now including other home décor products like fine art, decorative accents into our current line of items. However, our focus shall always be on exclusive, one of a kind rugs since that is our prime forte and that’s what we specialize in. Also, considering we our catering to a global clientele, we would certainly like to increase our presence by penetrating into various established as well as emerging markets.

What is the market size and opportunity?

India accounts for more than 70% of the world’s market share when it comes to handmade carpets. Although the market is pretty scattered but it's huge. There are ample of opportunities in this space and Rugs and Beyond aims to increase its presence and capture the global market while empowering local weavers and craftsmen.

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