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Issue 55

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Heritage is an important part of the Obeetee brand. What elements of the company that started 100 years ago are still important for Obeetee today? Our predecessors have done a tremendous job in paving the way for us and making it possible for us to hold our head high. Transparency, high quality, innovation, responsible work ethics and giving back to society will always be part of what we stand for.

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Social and environmental responsibility are key considerations for Obeetee. Which projects related to these are you most proud of? Yes, it is an integrated part of Obeetee’s culture right from our inception. We have always believed in doing what is required and right for the product and the environment without having our buyers asking us to go in for it. We contribute to many causes from child welfare to adopting villages but the women weaving training programme is closest to my heart.

How much have technical advances in production and design changed Obeetee’s rug output and designs over the years? Today we are all talking the mantra of speed to market and to create ‘newness’ six times a year. We have gone from making five samples a month to one thousand, with customers all over the globe.

What areas of the world are the best buyers of Obeetee rugs? Our biggest markets are in the US, but we have substantial reach in the UK, Europe and Middle East. India is becoming an important market too.

Does the design team follow interior trends? What do you see as important in today’s market? We have a team of designers who continuously travel to fairs and museums to firm up what the internal design direction of the year should be. However, it is also important to work with our buyers and follow fashion trends. The most important part of design today is when you have a story to tell. If this story is supported by a sustainable, social or environmental responsibility it becomes a bigger idea. Trends are a good mix of global as well as local cultures.

How have traditional designs changed over time within your collections? Traditional designs are still sought after by customers but more often than not with a contemporary voice to it. Be it new textures, contemporary colours etc. The authenticity is what makes it appealing and aspirational.

What is the objective behind the ‘Proud to be Indian’ collection? It was conceived to bring the Indian design capabilities to an international platform. Although India was doing so much of carpet weaving, there were no Indian design influences like Persian, Turkish, Spanish or Tibetan. We brought Indian designers together to create collections that speak about modern India with all its heritage and rich culture.

How important is collaborative work for the brand? We work with leading designers from different parts of the world. Collaborations add new handwriting to our existing assortment and brings a different aesthetic to our customers. I think it is an important part of our product development today. We will be announcing a new collaboration this autumn. Stay tuned.

What does the year ahead look like for Obeetee in terms of new collections, events and projects? In my 19 years with Obeetee each year has been more exciting than the previous as we are always ready to embrace new challenges. We launch new collections twice a year but are continuously servicing our customers with ‘newness’ to support their product development. Some critical tie-ups are happening as we speak but we will be able to shed more light later this year. www.obeetee.com

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