With a vision to improve the lives of people living in extreme poverty, Mr. Nand Kishore Chaudhary founded Jaipur Rugs in 1978 with 2 looms and 9 weavers. “I borrowed Rs. 5000/- from my father to start my own business. I wanted to help the poor via personal economic, educational and social empowerment instead of giving away charity,” says the founder. After three decades that initial vision has blossomed into a unique vertically integrated global organization that includes an extensive network of artisan weavers, an educational and social foundation, and an end-to-end supply chain including product concept, design, production and delivery. All three of these work together as a single powerful mission-driven entity focused on the empowerment of women and rural communities in India.
Headquarter in India with a distribution office in Atlanta USA, Jaipur Rugs has an Annual Turnover of 122 crore. “My family was part of a traditional society, back in a Churu. My father had a shoe-selling shop and I started my career from that shop. By the age of 25, my parents suggested me to continue and grow the small business as a livelihood source for my own future family,” says NK Chaudhary. He wanted to grow out of it and do something of his own. His love for weaving and weavers was proved when he got a permanent job in a national bank which he declined to join.
We asked Mr Chaudhary about his journey, and he told us a little story. “One of the first challenges I faced was from my own family. In those days rug weavers belonged to the ‘untouchable’ class and were not given the same social standing as others. Given the strong class system in India, interaction was not only discouraged but was looked down upon. I faced a lot of resistance from my own family members and neighbors but I could not understand how they could be different human beings. I fell so much in love with weaving and weavers that I used to take my lunch and eat with weavers and their families besides the looms on which they made their carpets. I used to spend entire day working with them and learn the basics of weaving. I discovered and realized that some of the most beautiful rugs in the world were made by those who did not have the most basic rights in the society. The only encouragement I had was my wife who not only supported me but also sometimes provided the weavers with tea and food,” he says. Within 2 years Mr Chaudhary established 10 looms in and around his village in Rajasthan. After that he moved to Jaipur to start his own exports with his brother.
In 2007, Jaipur Rugs implemented Microsoft’s Dynamics Navision enterprise resource planning (ERP) offering, which includes a customer relationship management (CRM) application. Today, designers in their company’s headquarter (Jaipur) design carpets using CAD Autotex. The designs, known as maps, are then sent to weavers in far-flung villages who follow the maps to weave carpets using traditional looms. Quality supervisors located at 22 branches across India routinely send out reports on the progress of these carpets, as well as monitor quality. Jaipur Rugs Foundation, a voluntary, non-profit organization, trains weavers through its skill up gradation programs to enhance their earnings and improve the quality of their carpets. Through technology, Jaipur Rugs has established links from grassroots to retailers of the product.
Jaipur Rugs is a wide network of 40,000 skilled artisans in 6 states and 600 villages of India, along with 500 head office and branch employees. Headquarter in Jaipur, the company has distribution networks in more than 40 countries worldwide. The company’s vision is to allow the artisans to a greater share of the wealth they produce. “Also, I want Jaipur Rugs to be a platform of connecting the end consumer with the artisan so that they can both emotionally connect with each other. I consider myself privileged to have worked with some of the most talented artisans in this country,” says the founder, humbly.
In 2004, NK Chaudhary initiated Jaipur Rugs Foundation to provide educational and skill training facilities for the children of the weavers, as well as access to health services and literacy programs. To date, more than 1600 women have benefitted from the educational program, and almost 5462 artisans have benefited from health camps organized by the Jaipur Rugs Foundation. The Foundation is funded by Jaipur Rugs Company Pvt. Limited.
As a message for future entrepreneurs, the founder says, “Develop the human capabilities & skills at the grassroots. No matter their economic level, women are naturally more receptive, patience, have a more acute sense of future, emotional intelligence, and know how to put care in all their activities. Again the key to develop others is an empathic approach. Once you understand the poor, you will want to see them grow.”