Frequently Asked Questions!
Most people have some questions before signing up for our custom rug training class, let me assure you, we go over these questions in much greater detail during the training, but here is a fairly decent reply to some of the questions. And please feel free to call or email other questions you may have J Tami 253-376-4252 cell
How do you get customers for the custom rug work?
Answer: Short version, Designers, Furniture stores, carpet stores, Houzz. If you think of the business as a pyramid at the base you will have many opportunities in the simple but profitable work of backing and binding through carpet stores. Next level up is ‘border rugs’ which can also be sold through carpet stores but most likely furniture stores and independent designers. We have many strategies on how to reach the design community for you. At the top of the pyramid is the artistic design rugs which you see on my website. These rugs are usually all specified by the high end “project” designers from furniture stores and independents. We have found that the high end customer has a designer that they trust, you need that designer, and a handful of others, to send you several projects in a year.
How do you select a design?
Answer: It is a process! We believe the rug Makes the room! The rug may be simple or the rug may be the art focus. We go over it in class, we have design books, and help you get inspired. Refer to question 1. To realize the designers are the key, and they like to design. They have selected fabrics and paint and art for their customer and want to tie it all together with a rug. They can usually give you a concept or sketch, colors, textures, and budget their customer is trying to hit. This is very helpful!
What is the actual process of fabricating rugs, how is it different from hand tufting or hand knotting?
Answer: I like to describe the fabrication process like stained glass and wood carving for carpet. The piecing and seaming process is like stained glass, selecting carpet , colors and textures from the best manufactures then piecing your project and re-seaming, then adding a new backing to finish off the back side. From the top it is like wood carving. Bevels on the straight lines and sculpting on the flowers, leaves, or other organic designs to enhance with a sculpting technique. Hand fabricated rugs are different from hand tufted and hand knotted which are made out of the country 99% of the time. We will learn all of the differences during the training to enhance your selling points.
How do you price the rugs?
Answer: there are formulas based on sq.ft. pricing, materials plus labor, and hourly. I promise to show you how to determine these variables during class, and help you as needed when you get your first several bids to figure!
What are the standard rug sizes?
Answer: 3x5, 4x6, 6x9, 8x10, 9x12, and 12x15. Although with having a custom option for customers they can give us their desired size down the half inch! Anything over the 9x12 size we charge an “oversize” fee for handling large rugs.
Also, we do wall to wall custom, which we make in 12’ runs and have our installer work with us to line up on the job site.
Will I need to buy my supplies and carpet through Carpets by Design?
Answer: Good heavens no!
I will give you the info on all of the suppliers we use and help you to buy direct for your ongoing carpet and materials needs. We are a distributor on the tools and offer a discount at the time of class for ordering. (see question #7)
What do I need for equipment to get started?
Answer: There are 3 basic tool packages I have put together with BOND products:
Hobbyist/Part time rug maker/Full rug studio -price range $6,000-$11,000
Tools/ set up needed include:
Carver, bevelor, binding machine, cutting tools, pneumatic glue gun, regular high capacity glue gun, projector, cold presses, shop vac, various binding material, backing material, glues, and work table to build. (16x12 or larger) All covered in class, all tool packages ordered through us receive a 5% discount at time of class.
What is the competition like?
Answer: I have decided to offer training classes for a few reasons. One, there are not enough rug makers out there across the country. Two, I do not want my 31 year career as a rug artist to die out without sharing my passion, experience, and techniques with others to continue this functional art form. Competition usually comes from hand knotted and hand tufted rugs made overseas. You have several advantages over these types of rugs such as American made, 4 week turn around not months, and more cost effective as well as choosing specific colors to match and textures. Specific sizes down to the ½ inch, any shape, and the customer can meet the artist! As far as completion within the fabricated rug world, you won’t have much. From my training class I promise to keep your area from being oversold. You can give me zip codes to protect which will create a good 1 million person population for you to have. We are not a franchise, but I want my students to succeed!! The main mills who are great competition are Fabrica and Masland. They have set the gold standard in pricing and value, as well as quality construction on our type of rugs. You have advantages over them as well… more in class! You are Not competing with HomeDepot and Macys rugs…there will always be the client that needs a large rug for $999 or less, these are not your customers. These rugs are machine made, mass produced, let the Home Depots of the world have that market.
Would I be better off to have a retail space/ industrial space / or garage? What about a showroom?
Answer: Start in the 2-3 car garage! Build from there! Use a local furniture store to “showroom” your displays and promote your work. I know that sounds old fashion, but I don’t like unnecessary debt!!
If you don’t have a garage, rent an industrial space that you can have for a great value. I prefer you to build a 16’x24’ table if you have the space, but a 16’ x 12’ can work if that’s all you have. Nice ceiling heights so you can stand on your table. A small showroom is fine if it comes with the space, but the truth of the matter is you will be going to the customer 97% of the time, not them coming to you. Over the years, I have had 4 industrial spaces, one retail space and 2 home based operations. I prefer the garage based/home shop over the rest, but the only real difference is paying rent to yourself instead of a leased space. Depends on what you have access to in your area.
I hope that helps!
Looking forward to having you in class!!