ABC Carpet renames Afghani rug collections
December 17, 2001,
The U.S.-backed fighting in Afghanistan has created ripple effects across the country. This is no less true at metro institution ABC Carpet & Home, whose three collections of area rugs made by Afghan refugees carried names originally meant to evoke ancient trade routes but now call to mind military targets.
"The new names make our customers feel more comfortable about buying rugs made by Afghan refugees living in Pakistan," Alex Kimia, ABC senior executive vp, told HTT. "The people who make these rugs are actually people who are escaping the Taliban. They make some of the most well-made rugs in the market."
ABC already has experience in naming many of the imported products sold at its stores because so many of the goods from India, China, Nepal, Pakistan and elsewhere overseas arrive nameless, Kimia said. Re-christening the three collections of 100 percent hand-knotted wool rugs was not a trying task.
"We just switched the names to something other than their original names, which in many cases are names of cities in Afghanistan and Pakistan," Kimia said.
For example, ABC renamed its Kaybar collection, named after the city in Afghanistan, to Khalid, which is similar to the name of a former Saudi Arabian king and an otherwise popular name in that geographic area.
"These are some of the best rugs we carry, and they are beautiful and very popular among our customers," Kimia said.
ABC's rugs made by Afghan refugees in Pakistan comprise about 10 percent of the store's total area rug selection and fall into the store's median price range — $5,000 for a 9' x 12' rug. ABC's prices for other rugs, such as a 100 percent wool rug hand-made in Iran, reach as high as $450,000.
"We just sold one [$450,000 Iranian rug] last week to a single customer," Kimia said, "which means business has picked up for all of our rugs, including the ones made by Afghan refugees."
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