Rugs for Good
For Sydney, Australia based Jessica Kulakowski, founder of Rugs for Good, there has never been any question in her mind about allying herself with an organization like GoodWeave. From the beginning she has fashioned Rugs for Good as a non-profit social enterprise. It was only logical, she says, to partner with GoodWeave. “If I was going to do this at all, I wanted it to be ethical and wanted the rugs to be certified,” she says with conviction.
As a social worker who has worked in homeless crisis centres, Jessica brings that same commitment to service with her to the rug business. She insists that every element of the production of her minimalist, hand knotted wool and bamboo silk carpets reflect values of sustainability and social justice. The process of the rug making must have a positive and lasting effect on the lives of the weavers and their families, she says. “I want people who buy the rugs to understand there is a person with amazing skills behind each of our rugs.”
Sustainability is another important factor in the Rugs for Good business model. Jessica eschews the fast fashion culture and says she wants to make products that are “timeless” that will endure. That principle is reflected in Rugs for Good designs. Rather than use complex patterns and bold colors, she chooses simplicity and subtlety. The solid color square, rectangular or round rugs are hand knotted or braided in palettes of earthy tones such as terracotta, mossy or sage greens and the gray and flecked whites of the undyed New Zealand wools. These colors, she says, are most attractive to her Australian customers.
What makes the rugs most compelling, she believes, are the textures created by the interplay of bamboo silk and natural New Zealand wool and highlighted by weaving techniques such as the knotting and braiding. She points to a favorite rug, the charcoal gray, Knoll. “It’s a simple rug, but I like the patterns created by the unevenness, the imperfections of the natural wool and the ‘human-made’ feel of the rug”.
Jessica believes that for a business to succeed today, it must have an ethical underpinning and that is what consumers are looking for. Some businesses have a mission, she says, but Rugs for Good is a mission with a business. All profits go to the Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project, the organization whose work inspired her to launch Rugs for Good. Though she might be accused of being an idealist, she says her personal mission is clear. “I want to create a better world for my child to live in, and that world is where all children have equal opportunities to thrive, play and learn”.