Weaving an heirloom with the thread of a human network

Nand Kishore Chaudhary founded Jaipur Rugs in 1978 giving employment opportunities in the remote parts of India. He had grown up witnessing the struggle of underpaid carpet weavers, many of whom hailed from low-income families, and he began the firm as a social initiative to help them. He started with only two looms weaving 9 carpets and within three years, he had established eleven more looms in parts of Rajasthan. Headquartered in Jaipur, the firm’s operations span six states and 600 villages in India, with distribution to over 40 countries through its independent base of over 40,000 artisans. The corporation also operates a huge distribution centre in Atlanta & Georgia.

His love for weaving has led to what Jaipur Rugs is today. He is continuing the weaving journey with his children founded on the principles of dignity, compassion, empathy & love. With the occasion of Father’s Day coming up, we are bringing you on our blog, the special bond Kavita Chaudhary and her father Nand Kishore Chaudhary share over business or personal life.

Rinda Angom | 2 mins read
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“My father has been a big influence, while growing up I have taken lots of his philosophy and lifestyle. Both of us love being with nature, love exploring, the countryside, making relationships with the common villagers, and having a great time with them. For me, I am not such a people person but what I’ve learnt is that he always believes in people with so much potential. As a designer, I like to work more as an individual scene, he’s more like a person who can put larger things and influence people, how to get the best out of more and more people.”
“Leading with heart is the one quality that I have learnt from my daughter Kavita. She taught me what to do when all the facts & figures fail — lead with intuition. Her brainchild, the 'Manchaha' collection is a global phenomenon and a true example of the magic that happens when we bring all our emotions to work.”
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“Working with my father over the years has helped me a lot and as a designer, as a visual artist I was able to connect with the character of the people, the core strength of Jaipur Rugs is the human network. We would do the rug-making process through a map and try to cooperate and it became a labour-intensive process, the industry became commercial because of this process. The weavers became labourers simply because of somebody’s concept and it wasn’t right to continue for a long time.”
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Kavita introduced a project called ‘Manchaha’ where weavers become artists, rugs became their own canvas and their own personal expression. She brought their power and art back to them. Customers fell in love with the Manchahas that they wanted to visit the artisans and learn their stories. A whole new bond developed between the clients and the weavers which was lost for a very long time because it was just the carpet and the price earlier, like a commodity in the market. So that relationship turned into a new relationship of empathy and compassion between the clients and the artists.

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When asked about disagreements or disputes between Kavita and her father over the business, she denies having disputes but confirms commenting on each other’s work. She would point out things that are necessary and he is open to suggestions. Kavita gushes over his father being more progressive than anyone in the family despite being brought up in a more constrained world.

“At his age, it’s quite unbelievable he has evolved himself a lot. There’s so much to learn from him. Having said that, there’s humaneness in him that he connects with people at a very deep level, how he connects with them is very magical. The value of compassion, empathy and being grounded is what I have seen in him and is very very rare in today’s world.”
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“I think for our generation with regards to business, there are so many terms in the world like channel marketing, expanding dollar sign etc. We realised that it’s very easy to disconnect from our roots, the root that my father has built which has made Jaipur Rugs what it is today. It’s actually a human network and not a carpet network. What we realise in the long term is it’s not about the expansion and the business, it’s more about protecting the human network and protecting the core value of love and care.”
“Kavita is a gem. The one piece of advice that I want to part with her is that being a rare gem she should keep carving her thoughts to identify more about her hidden traits. I advise her to know more about herself, to know who she is? What is she capable of? What is the great purpose of her life?”
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“When she was a kid, Kavita used to paint for hours during her school days. She would make paper crafts and wait for me to come back so that she can show her creations to me. Seeing our child happy and enjoying what she is doing brought sheer joy to me and Sulochana, making it one of my favourite memories from her childhood.” - NKC
“I love you a lot papa but you love us far more. I hope I can do as much as you’ve done for us.” - Kavita