RUGGUY GALLERIEZ, INC.
“Unlike many of my colleagues in the industry, I don’t come from a rug family tradition,” says Mark Readel, founder of RUGGUY GALLERIEZ. “We didn’t sell them, own them, or know anything about them. I fell into the rug business and fell in love with rugs.” From his first job cleaning carpets at age 17 to his role today as designer and manufacturer of high-end Tibetan rugs, Mark has been fascinated with the workmanship and the workers involved in the creation of handmade carpets. And from his first visit to a Kathmandu rug factory supported by GoodWeave®, Mark explains, “It just made sense to be part of this organization.”
When Mark speaks about starting from the ground up, he means it. Immediately after high school he got a job cleaning carpets; later he moved into sales; finally, he took on the adventure of designing and manufacturing his own rugs. In fact, he remembers the exact moment and the exact finely knotted tiny silk rug from Kashmir that, as he puts it, opened his world. “I was hooked,” says Mark.
When Mark began his own line, he also took on a huge challenge, a specialty in creating custom engineered rugs for stairs. One of his favorites, “Carole,” is a blend of Himalayan wool and organic silk flowers and vines in rich shades of caramel. Many of the RUGGUY GALLERIEZ’s designs are, like this one, inspired by nature. Some are based on Mark’s photos such as the stark and simple wool and silk “Sprigs,” depicting a scattering of young tree branches. Other designs are riffs on images of nature in antique carpets such as “Tree of Life,” a 200-knot silk rug with a wool border, which he admits he loved so much that it was difficult to let go. Another rug Mark says he still thinks about is “Gold Bird Rug” based on an image from a plate brought in by the client. A silk silhouette of a gold bird perched on a red vine is set against a delicate blue background. “I loved that rug but even more the look on my clients’ faces when they saw how beautiful it looked in the room it was designed for.” And Mark admits he has gone back to “visit” the rug.
In addition to his partnership with GoodWeave, Mark is involved with the World Animal Foundation in a project to protect zebras. His “Green Zebra” rug is a replication of a zebra hide in silk, wool and nettle. In addition to donating part of the proceeds of the rug to World Animal Foundation, he hopes creating the zebra out of renewable resources will be a reminder to protect wildlife. “What could be better? I am helping protect zebras and doing it in a GoodWeave factory. I am so excited to be part of the GoodWeave family!”
For more information, visit www.TheRugGuy.com.