Nepal-based rug makers Sarawagi Rugs
have over 27 years of experience in manufacturing hand-knotted designer carpets. The family-owned company honors the age-old tradition of Tibetan hand-weaving, while also adapting to the needs of an ever-changing world.
The Sarawagi Rugs family is made up of skilled designers, dyers, washers, and hundreds of artisans, over 75% of whom are women. In order to maintain top-level design confidentiality and to ensure quality with timely delivery, the entire process from customer engagement to product delivery remains fully owned and operated by Sarawagi. With the brand’s commitment towards customer satisfaction, their devoted team of designers, dyers, weavers, and washers bring every beautiful Sarawagi rug to life, knot by knot.
While hand-knotted Nepalese rugs continue to be the company’s forte, the company has also mastered the art of hand tufting, flatweave carpets, and handloom rugs, while working with a host of materials. These materials include Tibetan wool, Chinese Silk, Tencel, Bamboo, Himalayan Nettle (Allo), Hemp, Soya, Linen, Jute, Recycled PET yarn, Econyl, and so on.
Founder and CEO Dev Anand Sarawagi based the business model on the idea that business should do more good than damage. The idea of Inclusive Community Development is engrained in every aspect of the business, and resonates through the company’s work.
The company proudly sends all their weavers’ children to school through the Sarawagi Scholarship program and continues to mentor them through their careers. Additionally, female weavers are offered seminars on health and hygiene, self-defense, and other topics from time to time.
The production processes of Sarawagi Rugs
In the first phase, the designers draw inspiration from Nepal's rich cultural heritage and beautiful landscapes, bringing contemporary carpet art to life. They spend a lot of time choosing colors from the yarn library or ARS and Pantone color sets. The drawing is then converted into a full-size graphic, or naksha, either manually or using computer software. Subsequently, the raw Tibetan wool is carded by hand and transformed into the fiber. The carded fibers are spun using a traditional spinning machine, or Charkha, to make yarns ready to be dyed.
The light, medium, or heavy brush is done for designs that require a lot of texture; after the yarn is dyed, each color is approved by Dev Sarawagi himself. Each strand of yarn used for weaving is made up of three strands and often different materials are joined into a single strand to achieve a certain texture or sheen.
The factory is the nerve center of Sarawagi Rugs' business. Skilled weavers work tirelessly to weave each knot to perfection, and after months of work, the hand-knotted Nepalese carpet is born.
Washing determines the texture and luster of the final product. The rugs are washed twice to open the fibers, eliminate stray filaments and achieve a beautiful sheen. Then a sticker is applied behind the carpet and placed on a stretcher frame in the sun. The carpet absorbs the adhesive and dries in the sun, straightening the edges and achieving a perfect shape. Finishing specialists use eight different types of tools to give carpets a perfect cut, finish and finish. Finally, the finished carpet is packed and shipped to customers all over the world, in Europe, the Americas, Australia, and Asia.
For the production of its rugs Sarawagi Rugs uses the following materials: Tibetan wool, natural fibers, Chinese silk, ECONYL ®, and bamboo silk, and TENCEL ™. The predominant ingredient in rugs is wool from the Tibetan mountain sheep. This wool's naturally oily property gives a lustrous sheen and texture to the rug. What's magical about this wool is that the more you use the rug, the shinier it gets. Unlike other wool, the strands of this wool remain upright once woven, so when you walk on rugs or comb your fingers through the surface, the strands will not bend- they're good as new, every day!
The company loves to use natural fibers like Hemp, Nettle, Jute, Soya, Linen, and Allo in rugs. Allo, or Himalayan Nettle, is a natural fiber extracted from the Cannabis plant. It grows naturally in high altitudes, and is light, strong, and has a silk-like sheen. Allo is said to have the longest fiber in the plant kingdom, making it ideal for carpets. Allo harvest and processing serve as a source of livelihood to numerous local mountain communities. The lustrous Chinese Silk adds a touch of sophistication to any room. When the silk is blended with Tibetan wool, it gives the rug a beautiful texture and shine.
Nylon waste from landfills and oceans around the world is transformed into ECONYL® regenerated nylon.
The nylon comes in a dull and shiny version, and dyes beautifully, making an ideal combination for hand-knotted rugs. Bamboo silk is a natural fiber extracted from the Bamboo plant and is imported from China. It is an economical alternative to Chinese Silk and gives a gorgeous sheen to the rug when blended with wool. Similarly, TENCEL ™ Lyocell fibers with REFIBRA ™ technology are manufactured in a closed-loop process by the company Lenzing. TENCEL ™ makes for an economical replacement to Silk.
At Sarawagi, they believe that education is the most effective tool to drive social and economic progress in the community. With this belief, itìs been launched the Sarawagi Scholars program- a scholarship that funds the Primary and Secondary school of all of the weavers’ children at an English medium school in Kathmandu.
Since its inception in 2002, over 150 children have graduated from the program and 95 are currently enrolled. The relationship with the scholars does not end when they graduate from school. The company works closely with their older scholars (Class 8-12) and conducts mentoring, leadership, and career counseling workshops for them. Sarawagi helps educates them about available scholarship opportunities for college and helps them apply and practice for interviews.
The DreamWeavers Program
The DreamWeavers Program aims to empower marginalized women by training them in the art of carpet weaving. Sarawagi runs this program in association with local organizations working to rescue and rehabilitate women who have been victims of bonded labor, domestic violence, and other forms of abuse.
The trainees are brought to Kathmandu for an orientation program followed by six weeks of rigorous training in hand-knotted carpet weaving.
They live and work together in DreamWeavers centre- an inspiring space that encourages creativity.
Sarawagi has conducted workshops for the trainees in Self Defense, Health and Hygiene, and Breast Cancer Awareness.
At the end of the program they conduct a Commencement Ceremony; the women receive certificates that they can use to find work at any carpet factory in Nepal. Should they choose to work with Sarawagi, they hired them for a minimum of one year.
By the end of the program, the women become confident individuals and are empowered with the resolve to better their lives and the lives of their families.