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Aara Rugs

Aara Rugs, Inc.: The Ultimate Family Business


Since 2010, Aara Rugs, Inc. owner Nabi Rahmati has been running his successful company in Chatsworth, California. Although Aara Rugs officially became a family business in 2016 when Nabi’s children, Mehdi and Murssal, joined him, rugs have always been the mainstay of the Rahmati family. While Mehdi helps transport inventory and works trade shows, Murssal manages the business and handles most of the inventory logging and processing.  

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Aara features five main collections including Antiques, Navajos, Ikats, Oushaks, and Kilims, and the company’s style combines Navajo designs with modern color palettes. Everything is hand-knotted and all the rugs are reproductions of antiques with a modern twist. Aara uses all natural colors in their rugs, with the exception of special orders, and they always notify the client if there is an exception. Their services include hand-knotted rugs, custom-made rugs, rent-a-rugs, rug restoration, and rug cleaning.

Dating back to the 1960s, Nabi’s father Haji was one of pioneers of the Afghan rug business. When the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Afghanistan recognized his talent with rugs, they asked him to impart his knowledge on several hundred students. While working closely with Haji, these students learned innovative rug production methods resulting in a booming industry in Afghanistan.

After successfully spreading his knowledge, he opened an independent factory in the early 1970s which focused on creating silk rugs colored with natural dyes. While Haji was introducing a new style of Afghan rugs to the world, he was also teaching his immediate family everything he knew. One of the most significant influences Haji had on the Afghan rug business was the change in design and colors which Nabi says attracted customers from other countries and continents. At the time, it was easy to travel to Afghanistan so many people from the United States, Europe, and Australia traveled to Afghanistan to buy rugs. Haji passed away in 1997, but his legacy lives on as the family continues to succeed in the rug industry. Nabi says that he enjoys “looking at new shipments of rugs, and being able to judge its quality and construction with the knowledge passed down to me by my father.”

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Although Aara started in 2010, Nabi has been immersed in the rug business since the 1980s under the direction of his father. Now a father himself, Nabi is thrilled that his family shows so much interest in the business and continues to help him with everything. He adds, “Design, colors, and especially talking with my clients and bringing in new business ideas. I’m very happy that I’m working with my family.”

Aara Rugs headquarters is located in California, but their rug production facility is in Afghanistan – a place Nabi visits in person three times a year. Additionally, thanks to modern technology, he is able to Facetime the factory to make sure everything is running properly. The factory is child-labor free (they are validated by Good Weave, a rug company designed to work against child-labor), and they hire women who need to provide for their families.

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When asked why investing in a quality rug so important, Nabi says that a quality rug made of wool will last decades, even after multiple washes. He explains that the weave is also very important because a handmade rug shows the beauty and hard work put into the art. He adds, “The history of the design is also important.” Nabi’s design choices focus on antique 16th century rugs and he genuinely takes an interest in the artistic story behind each one. “I try to reproduce the rug with modern colors, to match both modern and antique furniture,” he explains. “That’s what sets us apart from other dealers; a lot of other companies only work for business. For me, it’s not only business. I love quality rugs.”

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In 2011 Nabi met someone else who genuinely loves quality rugs – Larry Stone. They initially met in New Jersey and then in 2014 Nabi visited The Scarab and gave the store a few Aara rugs.   

“I love their gallery,” Nabi says about The Scarab. “As soon as you walk in, you feel the beauty of the rugs everywhere. Plus, all the people working with Larry are always positive and happy to help with a smile on their faces.” The Scarab currently carries creations from Aara’s newest collection which is made up of Navajo area rugs.

 

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