Boban Mathews, founder and managing director of Brisbane based, Aussbond, started his career as a printing and design engineer, but from childhood carried with him a passion for rugs. Today his handmade, sustainable rugs in combinations of jute, wool and sisal help him fulfill his childhood dream of helping weavers like those in the Indian village where he grew up. Establishing Aussbond and joining GoodWeave®, he says, are two ways he is reaching his objective.
During his travels as an engineer, Boban says, he often made time to visit rug shops in countries such as Brazil, UK and in his adopted home, Australia. He noticed there were no rugs like the ones he imagined selling. That propelled him to take a chance and leave engineering for an entrepreneurial venture. Although he had a sense that the market was ready for a product such as his, Boban says he was still surprised how fast the company took off. When he finally received his first container of rugs and went around to potential outlets with samples, he was excited by the reception. It was as if would-be buyers were waiting for something as natural and sustainable as his rugs that were hand made on traditional wooden looms by artisans just like those he saw growing up in Kerala.
His chunky boucle jute and jute/wool rugs were an immediate hit, he says. The shimmery completely natural gold tones in rugs such as “Kerala Gold” derive their color from jute harvested in the summer season, he explains. For customers who want rugs in silver hues, like Aussbond’s “Amazon Natural Silver”, jute harvested in monsoon season provides the natural silver sheen. Boban says that not only the materials, but also the designs that he, his wife Rani Joseph and the company designer, Jin Raj create, also pay homage to the natural world.
Preservation of handcrafts, in particular weaving on wooden looms, commitment to sustainability and above all a desire to help artisans in India are the reasons he founded Aussbond. “The reason I started something from India is that I just wanted to give something back to that country,” he says with emotion. “We know we have put a beautiful product in the market, but we have to show it is an ethically made product,” he says. “That is the reason we chose GoodWeave.”
Learn more at http://www.aussbond.com.au/