I really love it when a company has a great story behind it, especially if that story entails empowering people and helping them to earn a living and care for their family. And that is exactly what Sukhi is all about. Working together with skilled artisans in India, Turkey, Nepal and Morocco, Sukhi produces beautiful handmade rugs that are made to order and are even customisable. As soon as I heard about Sukhi I wanted to find out more. Nasia Burnet is the founder of Sukhi and she kindly agreed to answer some questions for me.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What is your background?
During my studies at the Royal Academy of Arts in the Hague (the Netherlands), I developed a passion for the use of artisan techniques and natural, durable materials. The countries where our handmade rugs are made are well known for their beautiful nature, but they are also famous for their techniques. They all use a unique and personal technique because it’s made by hand and learned from mother to daughter. I love the pure character of our products. All our rugs are made of 100% pure materials such as wool from New Zealand, which is well-known for its quality and softness. The dyes that we use are non-toxic, anti-allergenic and free of AZO.
Can you tell us about Sukhi and how the idea came about?
During our travels to India, Nepal, Morocco and India we discovered that the handicraft from these countries was incredible and we really wanted to share these amazing handmade products with the rest of the world so that anybody can have access to these lovely rugs, or…you could say pieces of art!
We believe that the talented people who make Sukhi rugs should have great pay and excellent working conditions. In this way, you can buy a beautiful rug while knowing that the artisan making it is being treated fairly. We’ve set up workplaces too and our artisans (mainly women) who work for us live within walking distance of the workplaces. The majority of the artisans who work for us are illiterate, which makes them vulnerable, but by making the Sukhi carpets, they can take care of their children in addition to taking care of the housekeeping because they have the flexibility to work at the times that are best for them.
The result is that these artisans are able to live comfortably and can send their children to school. Take a look into the lives of three of our female craftsmen who live and work in Nepal. In this video, you get to see how the purchase of a felt ball rug can make a positive contribution to a community.
In order to decrease the distance between the maker and the buyer, it’s also possible to thank the maker. You can see the name of the woman who made your rug on the label of the rug. Via their personal e-mail address, it’s possible to thank the woman for your hand-made rug.
What can customers expect from Sukhi? How is Sukhi different from other rug retailers on the market?
At Sukhi, our goal is pretty simple. We want to provide our customer with very high quality handmade rugs. In Nepali, Sukhi means happy. People always tell us that our rugs make them happy. We want our customer to buy our rugs knowing that they’ll get a great handmade rug and that they are buying directly from the person who created it. Also, our rugs are only made when you order, so they’re very customisable carpets.
We want to tell a story with our products: no mass production, but unique, hand-made rugs that are made with love from natural materials.
Can you tell us how you source your products and how you find the artisans that you work with?
We find the artisans via our travels and my knowledge about textiles due my art background.
Who comes up with the designs for your rugs? How does that part of the process work?
The designs are mainly well known in the area they are from, meaning that we work with old techniques, which makes them extra special and durable. You also have the possibility to design your own rug meaning that you can adjust the size, color or even add a pattern. That is what is so unique about out brand.
And you can even choose your own size for our Beni Ourain carpets by adding your own measurement. This can be done for any carpet on our website. Our artisans start with making your rug once the order is placed meaning that every rug is unique and a one-of-a-kind.
How do you ensure that all your products are the best quality possible?
Everyone at Sukhi is very dedicated to quality. All of our products undergo careful checks. We work with the highest quality of fabrics and best artisans. See here a lovely video of the making of a felt ball rug.
How do you ensure that your products are affordable?
We care about pricing and we want as many people as possible to discover the joys of owning rugs made by skilled artisans. We want people to be able to get a rug that they will treasure for years to come. The good news is that you save up to 60% at Sukhi because we’ve eliminated the middleman. And there are no warehouses or physical stores. That means we only begin to make your rug at the moment you order it. This results in considerable price savings. Savings we pass along to our lovely customers.
We work directly with the artisans who create our rugs. These artisans care deeply about creating unique and beautiful works of art. They are some of the best craftswomen in the world and always receive fair payment. Our goal is to bring you amazing rugs you’ll love at a great price point. It’s that simple!
What has been the most rewarding aspect of setting up and running Sukhi?
We have visited all our artisans and it is amazing to go to their homes and see how much they love their job. When I saw the huge gap between poor and rich, for example in India, it made me very sad. But then when I see with my own eyes that the artisans are happy with their job, can take their children to school, are confident and happy (which means Sukhi) it makes me so proud of them. They deserve to be seen, and that is why we made the video and took pictures of them so that our customers know who really made their rug and we also send images to the artisans to show them how their carpet is placed.
If you had to choose one of your products as your favourite, which would it be?
That is a good question! Now that it is getting colder, I would say the Beni Ourain rugs. I love the softness of the wool, and the timelessness and the pureness of the rug. The finesse of the wool results in an extraordinary softness and a sustainable product. The carpet is handwoven combined with the tribal markings, which makes it a unique piece of art.
For Summer, I love the Patchwork rugs such as the Ela patchwork. There is a pattern which is not too visible but which makes it a clean carpet that can fit in any area, inside or even outside as they are very durable and can resist heavy footwear. Perfect for in the hallway or even in a clothing store or hotel.