Marketplace Report 142
Samad has been in the rug business for more than 30 years. Here the people behind the company tell COVER the story of their brand so far and take us on a journey through their most successful designs
Samad Brothers Inc. was established by David and Malcolm Samad in New York City in January 1985. Born, raised and educated in the United Kingdom, the two brothers moved to New York City and started their wholesale rug business. As a fledgling company, the brothers worked hard and quickly outgrew their small space. ‘It was by no means easy as we would drive together into New York City over the Manhattan Bridge every day, avoiding the midtown tunnel tolls, parking on the street blocks away from our office. Frugality was a way of life back then which helped us to grow our business,’ says David Samad. In 1987 the brothers left New York City for the new ORICA Building in Secaucus, NJ and expanded several times over the coming decade, moving into larger showroom spaces as they increased the variety and scope of the rugs they imported. In 1999 they built their own stand-alone building in East Rutherford, NJ which headquarters its offices, showrooms and warehouse.
During the mid-to-late 1980s, David Samad travelled extensively to China. Initially the company purchased containers of Super Washed Chinese 5/8”, 90 lines, for other importers, working on a commission basis. On one of the many buying trips to China, he noticed a new trend in fine Persian designs called 160 lines. These rugs were woven in traditional designs and colours. In 1987, Samad launched what would become an overnight sensation: the English Garden Collection. The William Morris-inspired designs were beautifully rendered in all-over patterns. The most successful was the Kensington design in a teal/cinnamon colour combination. ‘We simply could not keep enough of this particular carpet in stock,’ Malcolm reminisces. Until this time, the rug business in China had really been focused on the 5/8”, 90 line quality in heavy French Aubusson designs, which were beginning to lose their appeal. ‘It’s as if the entire rug industry was on the verge of a disruptive change,’ says David. ‘It felt like overnight, our customers were ready for something different. Different designs, different colours and different textures.’
‘China was excellent at producing perfection but after several years of robust sales, we turned our attention to India and especially refocused our efforts in the city of Jaipur,’ says Malcolm. ‘We quickly realised that with the use of a variety of yarns, colours, weaves and finishes, India had the ability of adding special ingredients to carpet making that we couldn’t seem to find in China. The family-owned cottage industry in India stood in contrast to China’s state-run businesses.’
Samad created two collections in the mid 1990s that were game-changers and were enthusiastically received by the market that was hungry for change in a strong economy. The Noble House and Dream Collections were concurrently launched at the Atlanta Rug Show in January 1996 with resounding success. The Noble House Collection was one of the most successful to have ever been launched. ‘It was an exciting time and each carpet was a one-of-a-kind masterpiece made in vegetable dyes, many of which had hand-carved scalloped edges. These rugs were rich in colour, intriguing