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For-Profit • Social Enterprise • B2B2C

Jaipur Rugs

STARTED IN 1978

By Nand Kishore Chaudhary

PRODUCTS

Hand-Knotted Rugs

LOCATION

Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh

YOY GROWTH

10%

REVENUE

$25M

ARTISANS

40K

LIVES IMPACTED

2.7L+

 

Reviving the 2,500-year-old craft form of hand-knotted carpets to bring prosperity to 40,000 rural artisans of whom, 85% are women and 7,000 are tribals.

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MEET SHANTI DEVI

Shanti Devi was married off at 14, and like many women in a similar plight, she and her family were stuck in a vicious cycle of high interest loans from local moneylenders when agriculture failed. She started working with Jaipur Rugs 14 years ago when her daughter was 2 months old. She had 2 looms installed in her house and recruited 8 other weavers who could help.

Today, she oversees 2 centres and 24 weavers, is financially independent; all of her expenses come out of her salary and her work makes her happy. 

“I work for the love of the craft, not just the money.”
 SHANTI DEVI, ARTISAN & MANAGER
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“There is a need to transfer greater ownership to the grassroots level. The business is scaling up every year. We want to develop more good leaders and empower them to take the right decisions. They can take care of profits and take care of society. Profits mean more efficiency, and better systems.”

 N K CHAUDHARY, FOUNDER, JAIPUR RUGS
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CHALLENGES

1

Weavers belonged to the ‘untouchable’ caste; denied dignified livelihood opportunities

2

Middlemen routinely deprived artisans of fair wages

3

Lack of opportunities for women to become socially and financially empowered

5

Lack of access to upskilling and relevant growth opportunities for creative communities

4

Lack of understanding of quality, design, processes and technology affected standardisation and perception of handmade products

6

Lack of informed feedback loops led to resistance from the communities to new approaches
 
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THE MODEL

A unique, flexible business model

Chaudhary adopted an audaciously different approach that challenged the status quo -  weaving together doorstep entrepreneurship with social-economic development. 
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“I was and continue to be convinced that weavers who work from home — with access to their children and families — are happier and more productive.

 N K CHAUDHARY, FOUNDER, JAIPUR RUGS
 
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SOLUTIONS

Competitive & Timely Wages

Pay weavers on time (monthly), fairly (without deductions as the middlemen were famous for doing), and 2x what they were making previously.

Investment in overall well-being

Recognise and encourage an artisan’s creative potential and support them with necessary materials, education, and healthcare.

Building a decentralised workforce

Enable marginalised creative communities to work from home to encourage their participation in labour markets.

Focus on the B2C global market

Focus on partnerships, design-led innovation and robust storytelling.

Bottom-up approaches

The company directly employs only 700+ people, yet influences 40,000+ artisans who act as entrepreneurs and contractors.

Reducing capital intensity

By using contractors for its manufacturing operations, they convert fixed costs into variable costs.

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“Our entrepreneurial model ensures that our artisans can grow to their maximum potential, from unskilled labourers to future designers."

 YASH RANGA, HEAD, JAIPUR RUGS FOUNDATION 
 

Being differently formal in the informal sector

By adopting an integrated approach addressing systemic challenges at each level, Jaipur Rugs is able to embed scalability even within the informal artisan sector.

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“A key reason for this sector to not reach an industry standard is due to informality, information barriers, exploitative middlemen, and limited market access for rural communities in remote corners of India.”

 YASH RANGA, HEAD, JAIPUR RUGS FOUNDATION 
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THE APPROACH

Driven by creative innovation, purpose, and social values.

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“We engage with communities in the most remote corners of India, where agriculture is not predominant, where societal structures are broken, the role of women is not very predominant, and migration is a big challenge. We translate skill training into sustainable livelihoods they can pursue from their own homes, eliminating the need for them to migrate.”

Opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs

Chaudhary supports contractors with loans when he recognises their potential, enabling them to become key links in the overall production process.

Innovative leadership approaches towards capacity building

Jaipur Rugs’ collaborative approach through employee interaction facilitates nurturing and building next-gen leadership among artisans, transforming them into entrepreneurs.

Creativity-led rural renaissance

Harnessing and promoting grassroots creativity is central to their philosophy. Jaipur Rugs encourages weavers to become artists and designers, an approach rarely explored by the mainstream design industry.

 YASH RANGA, HEAD, JAIPUR RUGS FOUNDATION 
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2012

‘Manchaha'

Jaipur Rugs' ‘Manchaha’ initiative builds on their hugely successful social impact model. Artisans have the choice to weave their own unique idea, not just follow a pre-mapped design, as is the norm. Using leftover hand-spun yarn, weavers-turned-artists tell stories that matter to them through their creations.

 

Manchaha is a Hindi word popular in Rajasthan’s weaving community.

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मनचाहा

It means ‘my heart’s desire'. Each rug, handmade with more than 200,000 knots is the ‘unfiltered’ story of its creator — complete with emotions, dreams, and personality. 
 YASH RANGA, HEAD, JAIPUR RUGS FOUNDATION 

सोना बगीचा

‘Sona Bagicha’

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An avid weaver of rugs, 40-something Sajna, a resident of Aspura village — about 70 km from Jaipur — spent most of the day at her loom. All this changed when she was diagnosed with cancer.

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“I had to stay away from my loom for over 4 months — longer than I ever had in my weaving career. I was worried about what would happen to my children should anything happen to me. This was when Jaipur Rugs introduced Manchaha. My desire to weave a rug of my own design helped my recovery. My rug became my canvas to talk about my battle with cancer.

I included my interpretation of my scans, the garden in the hospital I was treated at, flowers that were part of my path to recovery. I called it Sona Bagicha (Golden Garden). For me, my Manchaha rug was an essential part of my recovery, physical and emotional.”

 SAJNA DEVI, ARTISAN
 
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MEET SAJNA

सावन का लहरिया 

‘Sawan ka Leheriya’

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“Me and Parvati, my wife, have been weaving for years. I always used to think that I was the better designer. When we started making this rug for Manchaha, I insisted she follow my design. But she started making a ‘leheriya’ pattern on her own. As it turns out, everybody in our neighbourhood loved her designs better than mine! That day, I gave up my ego, and started following her design. This rug is a result of the genius that she is.”

 BHAGCHAND, ARTISAN

BHAGCHAND & PARVATI

‘Saathi’

साथी

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“We are husband and wife. We have been working together for 30 years, and have made 13 zero-defect carpets together. We will weave 7 Manchaha rugs together, just like we took 7 vows to be together in our marriage.

 ROORMAL, ARTISAN

PATASHI & ROORMAL

Celebrating companionship

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“My daughter and I gossip a lot while weaving rugs. Saroj is my daughter but after weaving together, we have become friends. We work together both on the loom and in the house. Now that she is engaged to be married, I am feeling a bit sad and worried, my closest friend will go away.”

 CHAMPA, ARTISAN

CHAMPA & SAROJ

2018

Freedom ‘Manchaha'

Rajasthan is known to adopt unique, corrective measures in its jails rather than punishments to reform its inmates.

In 2018, Jaipur Rugs launched 'Freedom Manchaha' to offer hope through creativity and healing for the incarcerated. In collaboration with the State of Rajasthan Prison Department, they led prison workshops in Jaipur, Bikaner Central, and Dausa Central jails. 150 inmates have been given intensive training in weaving and hand-knotting carpets on looms provided by Jaipur Rugs, using leftover wool and bamboo silk yarn. 

 
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“This innovative initiative is a much-needed one. Ordinarily, inmates are given work that lacks purpose to keep them occupied. It undermines their potential and eventually leads to an inability and unwillingness to work. Through Freedom Manchaha, prison inmates are trained in rug weaving and production and their efforts get appreciated globally, leading the way for reformations and economic empowerment. The earnings from this initiative help the families of the inmates. Additionally, 25% of the earned income goes to the victim's families the inmates have wronged.”

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 RAJASTHAN PRISON DEPARTMENT
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“One of the biggest tragedies to befall a family is the incarceration of the breadwinner. Most of the prisoners come from economically weak backgrounds and are rarely literate. Their lives are marred by poverty and crime; the only way to bring about change is to empower them economically.”

 YOGESH CHAUDHARY, DIRECTOR, JAIPUR RUGS

Prisoners are encouraged to express their lives, emotions, and dreams through the rugs they weave. It enables the inmates to earn a meaningful, fulfilling livelihood and support their family despite the odds.

LOCATION

Dausa Jail

‘Dilkush’
(Happy Heart)

Pappu, Rakesh & Kamlesh, all aged 45 years old, are newly skilled weavers with barely 8 months of experience. This is their first Manchaha, and their first carpet. They all like patterns, so they wove in motifs that connect them to their heritage in diverse ways. While Kamlesh brought in patterns of clouds in the blue sky, Rakesh introduced huts, a reminder of his unique cultural context. They all believe this rug reminds them of their families, and that they are connected with their loved ones in the simplest of joys.

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दिलखुश

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PAPPU, RAMESH & KAMLESH'S ‘DILKUSH' RUG

LOCATION

Central Jail, Jaipur

‘Old is gold’

Amar Chand is an experienced weaver, who started when he was just 15. He took to rug-weaving again in prison. It reminded him of traditions he feels are fading today. In his Manchaha, he wove in an elephant, horse, duck and bees — a carnival embraced by nature.

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“Happiness and sadness come and go, but peace can truly stay. That’s what’s in my carpet.”
 AMAR CHAND, ARTISAN
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AMAR CHAND'S ‘OLD IS GOLD' RUG 

LOCATION

Central Jail, Jaipur

‘Tikona’

(Triangle)

Ghanshyam feels that Manchaha has been his escape from the difficult events that led to his incarceration. He has explored the creative limits of a triangle in his rug, weaving small and large hypnotic patterns. He says the Hindu God, Shiva, guided his work on the loom. According to mythology, Shiva looks after the condemned.

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तिकोना

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“I felt shattered to be in prison, but Shiva took me under his protection and gave me an opportunity to work and find my redemption.”

 GHANSHYAM, ARTISAN
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GHANSHYAM'S ‘TIKONA' RUG

Creativity knows no limits

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“We realised that creative potential is everywhere and started to visualise these jails as future creative workplaces. And we believe that these prisons could be the ‘WeWorks’ of the future, where inmates can be trained in creative work, create economic value for their family, and have an identity.”

 YASH RANGA, HEAD, JAIPUR RUGS FOUNDATION

Jaipur Rugs has successfully demonstrated how empowerment and employment can go hand in hand by creating post-prison employment opportunities.

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 YASH RANGA, HEAD, JAIPUR RUGS FOUNDATION
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IMPACT & REACH

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“Our women artisans are now travelling all over the world collecting awards. Their horizons have broadened, they are more confident. They are now sending their children to private schools and do not want to get them married off early.”
 YASH RANGA, HEAD, JAIPUR RUGS FOUNDATION
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LIVES IMPACTED

2,73,721

JOBS CREATED

50,703

LIVES IMPACTED THROUGH ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE

67,046

VILLAGES REACHED

669

ARTISANS EDUCATED

5,301

ACROSS STATES

5

WOMEN ARTISANS

85%

COUNTRIES RETAILED IN

60+

 
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WAY FORWARD

What does the sector need?

1

Collaborations and partnerships

2

Entrepreneurship development

3

Leadership development

4

Exposure to global markets

5

Practical and artisan-friendly government policies

 YASH RANGA, HEAD, JAIPUR RUGS FOUNDATION
 

Jaipur Rugs offers a unique understanding of how crafts are a fundamental component of a healthy community — strengthening them socially, educationally & economically.

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Their model is an extraordinary example of a creativity-led business that effectively marries profit with purpose. 

 

Villagers often refer to Chaudhary as the Gandhi of the rug industry, an honour he considers the highest form of respect he can receive.

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“Let goodness, fairness and, most importantly, love prevail in business; and profits will inevitably follow.”
 N K CHAUDHARY, FOUNDER, JAIPUR RUGS

SDG'S

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PICTURES & VIDEOS COURTESY JAIPUR RUGS
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