Three generations. Five continents. One family. This is how NOA Living explains the history of their company. Owner Sam Nehme’s biggest influence was his grandfather, a merchant in textiles and handmade objects who was born in Lebanon but traveled the world–not an easy task in the early 20th century.
“People trusted him,” says Sam, and that trust is a basis for how NOA Living does business today.
NOA Living describes the carpets and objets d’art they sell as “ethno-modern,” a style that references distinct cultures while at the same time appealing to modern Western tastes. Carpets are hand woven in Nepal of 100 percent wool by experienced, adult artisan weavers, in very limited quantities per each design. The patterns are inspired by organic forms that are further transformed into the abstract by the hand-knotting and weaving process. NOA Living’s designs have a playful, “primitive” quality that is a deliberate departure from the traditional. Sam credits his wife, Fida (pictured at right), an architect and a designer for NOA Living, for the company’s aesthetic, for which she’s earned the nickname, “The Queen of Color.”
Sam speaks nostalgically of the beautiful oriental rugs of his boyhood, which his father sourced in Iran and sold to wealthy European buyers, including royalty, from the family’s home-base in western Africa. The Nehme family and NOA Living are now settled in Raleigh, NC. And one day not too far in the future, the company website may read, “four generations”; Sam and Fida’s daughter, now 13-years-old, has been interested in selling carpets since she was seven.
“I would definitely say being a father is related to my choice to work with GoodWeave,” Sam says, as well as to his ethical business practices. He wants to do his part to make sure that the “ugly practice” of child forced labor has no relationship to beautiful carpets. Says Sam, “We are more committed to that than I can put together in words.”
To learn more about NOA Living, visit www.NOALiving.com.