Saturday, September 13, 2008
Why I becam an Oriental Rug Dealer
The first time I noticed my interest in rugs was many years ago when I was working at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles. As you might not know, this is a gorgeous old hotel that is frequently used in movies, one of which was Beverly Hills Cop. The lobby is quite regal with soaring ceilings, strategically placed palms and Oriental rugs! I remember when I got the job. I was a waitress at the time, serving cocktails in the lobby and all I could talk about were the rugs in the room! The beginning of the beginning!
Fast forward 15 years and I am now working at a sales job in Seattle, Washington. Selling inexpensive machine woven rugs (which is almost a crime, if you're an Oriental rug dealer, which I am now!) but anyway I had a client that was interested in a hand woven rug. I had one contact at the time, a dealer which I am still friends with today. I asked him to bring me a few pieces for my potential buyer. I remember this as if it were this morning. He opened the few rugs he brought and one of them knocked my socks off! Literally. It was a gorgeous old rug from Afghanistan. From the knowledge I now have, it was an unusual Turkoman piece.
The rug haunted me and stayed in my mind for almost six months! I never did sell that couple a rug but ended up, buying this rug for myself. I would go to my friends store and stay for the longest time, just looking at the rugs. It was very difficult for me to leave...dreamed of working there and even asked him for a job but it was naught.
I had the worlds smallest rug collection after a couple years and decided I would ultimately get my own store and expand my rug collection. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether I enjoy selling rugs more or buying them. If you sell a person the right rug, they are so happy, it is actually great fun. I know I'm doing OK when I go to the post office and a past client sees me and exclaims, "I love my rug!" Not, hello, how are you? Which is fine with me! I've never been one for social banter anyway...just get to the point.
This is not the easiest business to be in and for the first 3 or 4 years, I was never able to keep anything I purchased for my business. I had to leave all the special pieces in my inventory for sale. Then I decided I had worked hard enough and there was a particular rug that was generating so much interest but no buyers. I let my assistant know that if the rug was still there by the end of the week it was mine. Well, it is mine and still one of my favorites!