Production of handmade rugs for export has continued to decline. We recently saw an e-mail sent by a manager of weavers in India to a supplier in the U.S. He wrote: “In present conditions, our weavers are not working as before. They had kept carpet manufacturing in last priority as they had many option (sic) of other income, too.”
This message reiterated what we had come to understand last winter as one of the reasons for a reduction in weaving: competition from other industries in the growing economy of developing nations, like India. In order to keep weavers weaving, they must be paid more, which results in an increase in wholesale prices. And with a dollar not going as far to buy rugs overseas, suppliers will stock a smaller inventory of new pieces.
Rugs are also taking longer to make, because it is more difficult to maintain a steady and stable workforce abroad. In some cases, when a supplier carries programmed rugs (rug designs that are available in a variety of sizes), fewer sizes are readily available to ship.
Rising energy and fuel costs have contributed to increases in everything from wholesale prices for wool and cotton to transportation and shipping.
We have received several notices from rug manufacturers and wholesale suppliers who have reluctantly raised their prices. They know that retail buyers are still cautious about making the investment in handmade rugs while the U.S. economic recovery is sluggish.
There have still been good deals for retailers buying “last year’s” rugs, i.e. rugs that were made and stocked before the prices began to rise. We were able to purchase some of these rugs in the early spring and pushed very hard with our suppliers to keep the prices as low as possible.
An interesting consequence of the confused market situation is that while there is not a high demand for rugs on the retail scene, the value of your rugs, provided they are well maintained, has probably increased. If you had to replace your handmade rug today, there is a high likelihood that you would pay more now than you did when you bought it.
Hence, it is very important to maintain the condition of your rugs by doing the following:
- Lightly vacuum or sweep rugs: do not use the rotating brush, if you can avoid it.
- Rotate rugs every six months for even wear. Worn areas occur when foot traffic impacts the same areas of your rugs over and over again.
- Blot pet stains immediately. Remove any solid matter. Flush urine stains with water whenever possible to reduce the likelihood of staining. If pet urine appears to have caused the color to bleed, do not add more water. When using water to rinse a rug, protect the flooring below: do not allow wet items to sit on hardwood floors. Call us at (847) 432-8100 to discuss cleaning.
- Have the rugs professionally dusted and washed every 1-5 years depending on the traffic in your rooms. A very heavy traffic area like an entry or hallway may result in quick soiling of rugs. A rug in a formal dining area without foot traffic will accumulate dust slowly.
- Do not avoid having rugs washed. Dry dirt deep in the pile of the rug can cause the cotton foundation to rot. When in doubt, Job Youshaei Rug Company can help you determine when to clean the rug.