Driving through the busy streets of Kerala, India; Natural Rugs Managing Director Cat Morgan and Director Chris Wansley were struck by the liveliness and diversity that greeted them at every turn.
“The colour, life and vibrancy was infectious!”, Cat says with a smile.
For his part, Chris was in awe of the generous and welcoming locals. He was stunned by the huge amount of cultural diversity between the different regions, from the food and festivals; to the distinctive clothing and different ways of life.
“Everyone we met was so hospitable”, says Chris.
“It was heart-warming to see the pride in the natural beauty of each area we visited.”
With a mutual passion for workers’ rights and creating long-term, sustainable relationships with suppliers, it’s always been important for Cat and Chris to support GoodWeave certified producers.
The GoodWeave certification builds partnerships in the rug and home textile sector and is aimed at eradicating child, forced and bonded labour in supply chains.
Visiting one of their GoodWeave certified suppliers for the first time, Chris recalls how reassuring it was to see how handmade the fibres really are.
“It’s quite labour intensive and the workers are experts in their craft.”
Both Cat and Chris agree the trip has inspired them to work differently.
“We were both inspired by the number of products and weaves available - it opened our eyes to future possibilities and opportunities,” says Chris.
“We’re excited to look at expanding our range to include more natural fibres like silk and barker grass, adding new weaves like bucle, and experimenting with more jute patterns, colours and fabrication techniques.”
As a Director for Mutooroo Pastoral Company in regional South Australia, Cat is also particularly keen on incorporating Australian wool into the Natural Rugs range.
“Australian wool is so soft, it can be hard for weavers to work with,” Cat says.
“I’d love to work with our suppliers on developing a product that features Australian wool so that we can continue supporting local producers.”
Watch this space for some exciting new products that will be added to our range in 2023.
Our next blog will also introduce you to one of our GoodWeave suppliers and take a closer look at the rug production process.