Growing up in Asia and Europe, Beth Arrowood, president and owner of Miami-based NIBA Designs, had a childhood rich with travel. She says, however, that her very first trip to India at age 13 still ranks as the most powerful. It wasn’t just the “adventurous mix of colors and sounds” that engaged her young sensibility, she says. It was also the people she met and the work they did that fascinated her. “At an early age I was keenly aware of how other people live in the world,” she says.
That early insight explains, in part, why she is so happy to be in the rug industry. “I love helping to keep the tradition of rug making alive, keeping people employed and doing something good in another part of the world. It’s the whole package!” she explains. And part of that “package” is her membership in the GoodWeave® certification program. “There is just no way we would work with a factory that is not inspected by GoodWeave,” she says emphatically.
NIBA produces hand-knotted, hand-tufted rugs from India, Nepal and Thailand, which can be seen in eight showrooms around the country and in the NIBA showroom in Miami’s hip Design District. “Each of NIBA’s seven collections has its own ambience,” Beth points out. There’s the “Ornamental” collection’s glam uptown feel and the deep historical resonance of the “Luxe” collection, which, as Beth explains, offers variations on more traditional designs. An example of one of NIBA’s more challenging and exciting riffs on the traditional is an Oriental-style rug for the residence of an Abu Dhabi sheik. The challenge in that case, according to Beth, was “to create a rug for a ballroom that was so big we needed to do it in about ten pieces.”
Beth prides herself on NIBA’s flexibility. With a staff of sales people who are all trained in interior design, clients have the possibility of creating a rug from a thousand choices of colors, in materials such as wool, silk, hemp, linen, aloo, bamboo, sunpat or viscose. NIBA invites customers to come in any day of the week with their fabrics, floor plans and fantasies to collaborate on a design for a rug.
NIBA rugs, a favorite of celebs such as Matt Damon and LeAnn Rimes, can also be seen in deluxe hotels such as the Singapore Ritz and Trump Taj. But for Beth it isn’t just where the rugs end up that’s important. It is where they begin. Beth insists on visiting each factory where NIBA rugs are made. “I have witnessed many gruesome things in factories,” she says. In addition to not using child labor, each factory has to meet acceptable standards for each aspect of its working conditions. As well as its alliance with GoodWeave, NIBA also supports a small school affiliated with one of its factories. NIBA supplies school uniforms, playground equipment and even a school bus. “It’s in our control to change the conditions in the factories,” Beth says passionately. “If the factories want our business, they will make the changes. We have the power!”
Learn more about NIBA Designs at www.nibarugs.com.