Monday, December 31, 2007
I worked very hard, seven days a week, and probably around 12 hours a day. I provided excellent services to my customers who wanted to buy or sell rugs, do Oriental carpet cleaning, repair, restoration, and appraisal. I delivered lectures and tried to educate my customers. And I did all this with joy and love. More than anybody else, I loved what I did myself. Although it was financially very difficult for me, it was gratifying to see that my sales doubled in 2007 compared with the year before. The secret was extremely hard work and first class customer service. Many of my customers in this year were repeat customers. They understand and prreciate customized and flexible services.
And my plan for the next year is to double my sales compared with 2007! Impossible? Not. I will make it happen by another round of hard work, good planning and first grade customer services. I learned a lot from my customers and others and by reading, attending professional shows, participating in different meeting and professional events. I will continue to do so, and even more.
I wish everybody a happy and prosperous year, full of love and passion. I year without bas and sad news. A year, without war and killing. Let us pray for that. I celebrate this new year with my family and friends. It is always good to celebrate other cultures and religions' celebrations. this will foster love and mutual understanding. This is my last post on my weblog for the year 2007.
HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL.
I was looking for a way to attract more traffic to my rug blog. I found this article which I enjoyed reading. An Oriental carpet blog may not have that many readers, but this article may help to find more visitors and readers to such Persian, Oriental and area rug blogs. It is simple but useful. I like to share it with my readers.
If content is the king of a site, traffic is the queen. Traffic is the key to success for a publishers. It is not difficult to attract visitors to your site for the first time. You may place your URL in the forum, Yahoo answer, email or in bulletin board. It is basic instinct of people to visit a new site. So at the first phage you may get good number of traffic. But after a certain period of time your traffic may decrease day by day. The reason is that people are not willing to visit a site which is boring. If you are able to convert your visitors as constant traffic, your success is not far ahead. It is natural that traffic may overflowed into your site for a short period of time. It is due to search engine ranking or by getting to dig homepage or by any means. Grasp the opportunity. Do something so that your visitors turn into your regular traffic. How can you increase the number of regular visitors?
1.Be Unique, informative and creative: Be creative and write unique content. Your article must contain useful information. Elaborate your writing but don't deceive your visitors. Try to fulfill the expectation of your traffic for which they are exploring your site.
2. Regular posting: Post regularly with new and interesting contents so that your visitors feel interest to come back to your blog. Most of the popular bogs are updated regularly with new contents. If you write on part basis such as Part-I then Part-II your visitors certainly wait for the next part.
3. Simple Designing: Have you visited this blog earlier? You may remember that this blog was incorporated with images. But I have removed images. Because I have experienced that image affected my traffic. Actually people do not prefer the site which takes much time to upload. If you upload your site with many images, it may take more time to open, consequently visitors will skip to other sites for information and you will loose your traffic. So don't upload your site with unnecessary images.
4. Limited words: Your content should not too big or too small. Content with 400 to 500 words limit is ideal for a site. Don't be repetitive. Write your content with simple sentences and appropriate density of key words. Make your content interesting and keep it away from boring. If visitors feel interest in your blog they certainly will return and subscribe your feed to keep touch with your blog.
5. Relevant links to other sites: Provide link to other relevant and good quality sites so that your visitors may be benefited. If you are able to provide links to sites for updated and relevant information, people will use your site for updating their knowledge.
6.Promote your RSS Feed : You should keep an active link after every post with few words such as subscribe this blog or like that. Good number of people may subscribe your blog.
In a separate post, I will do a wrap of my rug blog for the year 2007 as it is the last day of the year.Khosrow Sobhe
Saturday, December 29, 2007
KABUL: Various varieties of carpets, recognised around the world as a symbol of Afghan culture, tradition and civilisation, will go on display at three major international trade shows this winter.
The US Agency and International Development (USAID) said Afghan traders would attend for the first time the South Asian Commodity Fair in Beijing, China, from December 28 to 30 and at the Domotex trade show in Hanover, Germany, from January 12 to 15, 2008.
For the second time, they will visit the United States. This year, they will attend a show in Las Vegas from January 28 - February 1, 2008. A number of high ranking Afghan government officials will also be present at the events, the agency added..
The annual trade shows host carpet producers from all over the world. Afghanistan will be an active participant, presenting its elegant handmade carpets and building relationships with international exporters from all over the world.
On the importance of the fairs for the economic growth of the carpet sector, Suleiman Fatimi, CEO of Export Promotion Agency, said: Participation in these trade shows will support and encourage the promotion of the Afghan carpet industry, and will boost Afghan traders. The shows will help establish linkages to new markets and customers around the world.
Twenty-eight industry representatives will first visit Beijing. China is increasingly becoming an important business destination for Afghanistan, both for exporters and importers, remarked Bryan Rhodes, the Chief of Party for USAIDs Afghanistan Small and Medium Enterprise Development project.
We are pleased to support emerging Afghan entrepreneurs in strengthening trade ties with one of the worlds most important economies, added Rhodes.
The Export Promotion Agency of Afghanistan (EPAA) is coordinating the projects in conjunction with the Afghan Carpet Exporters Association, the Association of Afghan Carpet Weavers, and the Federation of the Afghan Women Entrepreneurs. Germanys GTZ is also providing technical support.
I do my homework and try to write about my every day life which is very much related to textiles, rugs, art, and culture.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
This maybe the last sale of the year, but who knows, we may sell other rugs in the 2-3 days left before we are in 2008!!
As usual, we have been busy with rug repair, appraisal, cleaning, and stain removal.
I have been invited by the Oriental Rug Retailers of America to talk about an antique Persian rug in the Atlanta Rug Show which will be held in Atlanta, Georgia (01-17-2008 to 01-20-2008). They have also invited me to have a lecture in the July Atlanta Rug Show (07-13-2008 t0 07-16-2008). This organization has around 300 members all of whom are rug retailers from different cities around the U.S.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Iran is to introduce Persian carpet to the world.
Iran will make an appraisal of hand-woven carpets in a bid to restore the reputation of its carpet industry in domestic and foreign markets.
“Iran's hand-woven carpets have long enjoyed a very high reputation in the world. We must take steps toward introducing the Persian carpet more effectively to attract customers to its artistic value,” said Houshang Fakher, vice-chairman of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines.
“The hand-woven Persian carpet needs more and better advertising to ensure its successful introduction to its international customers, as well as recapturing the first place it had long held in the world market”, he added.
To this end, national and international exhibits to introduce the country's age-old art of weaving exquisite carpets must be held on a regular basis and with adequate preparations, he noted.The hand-woven Persian carpet has always been viewed as an essential part of Persian art and culture, dating back many centuries and represting one of the most outstanding symbols of the country's cultural and artistic traditions.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Pantone 18-3943 Blue Iris
CARLSTADT, NJ – Blue Iris, a balanced blue-purple, has been projected as the color for the year for 2008 by Pantone, Inc., the global authority on color and provider of color standards for the design industries. The Pantone number is 18-3943 .
"From a color forecasting perspective, we have chosen Pantone 18-3943 Blue Iris as the color of the year, as it best represents color direction in 2008 for fashion, cosmetics and home products," said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute.
"As a reflection of the times, Blue Iris brings together the dependable aspect of blue, underscored by a strong, soul-searching purple cast. Emotionally, it is anchoring and meditative with a touch of magic. Look for it artfully combined with deeper plums, red-browns, yellow-greens, grapes and grays." Blue Iris is one of the 3,000 colors available in Pantone’s line of eco-friendly paint.
Pantone Inc. has been providing design professionals with paint products and services for more than 45 years. Pantone paints, created in partnership with Fine Paints of Europe, contain no fillers. They are formulated using high quality pigments, oils and resins.
At this time of the year, people are usually busy with last minute shopping and do not buy rugs, with maybe few exception. But we have to work hard, and plan ahead to make 2008 a very busy and prosperous year. We can make it if we want it and go for it.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
During the day, nothing special happened. In the afternoon, I went to an event which was held at James Bridges Cinema in UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) to celebrate the 800th birthday of Rumi, Moulana, the Iranian sofi, poet and the great philosopher. I could not buy the ticket online, since it was sold out. When I got to the box office, I was also told that the event was sold out. The organizer of the event saw me and said why did not you tell me you would like to attend the event and I said I did not think it would be a sold out event. Anyhow, I met several friends in the lobby and chated with them, but had no luck to get in. There was also a presentation of a wonderful documentary made by Farzin Rezaeian, another friend who has made a documentary named, "Iran: Seven Faces of a Civilization". Besides this, the Lian Ensemble also was going to preform a live program. It was a great event, but I missed it. A friend who had come from Washington D.C. offered to give me his ticket, but I did not accept. I returned home.
Today, Sunday Dec. 16th, was also a slow and quiet day. I went to a friend's Italian restaurant in Culver City with my older son and had a wonderful brunch. We had a nice time. Other family members did not want to join us. At work, we met few customers, non of whom looked serious rug buyers. A customer came in and picked up his rug which was left with us for cleaning.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
In the afternoon, I went to an Oriental rug store which wants to close down. The owner has many Persian rugs that he wants to sell. I took a general look at the rugs which were from Tabriz, Bidjar, Nain, qum, and etc. He wants to sell all these pieces at once with a bulk price, without specifically mentioning the price on each piece. The rugs are not the tastes of the average American customers and may take a long time before some one can sell them. I returned to my rug gallery. While I was out, my son sold a runner and a small rug to a walk in customer.
Our repairman was busy today working on stain removal of a pair of Tabriz rugs. The lady who brought these two pieces few days ago, had washed them at home. All the colors had ran and bleed. The rugs were messed up. They will be OK after we work on them and remove the bleedings.
Today, I was mostly busy preparing and mailing many greeting cards to our customers and friends. It is nice to be remembered by receiving a beautiful card. Christmas is the best time of the year, as many people celebrate it around the world. It is good to be happy and make others happy.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
A lady came in today to our rug gallery and said if it would be ok to buy a Turkish rug when somebody is in Turkey as a tourist. I said I do not recommend it specially if you spend more than a couple of hundred dollars. Because you do not know rugs and there is a chance you buy a fake rug. There are for example Chinese silk rugs made in China which maybe sold as Hereke Turkish rugs which are very fine rugs, but how can you tell the difference. Thaen I talked to her and gave her some literature, among which a "Rug Buying Tips". She read part of it and appreciated. I post that tip here in case some one would like to take a look at it:
Rug Buying Tips
Dr. Khosrow Sobhe
1- If you do not know Oriental rug, try to know your Oriental rug dealer.
The dealer should be knowledgeable and should not insist in selling you a rug. You as a customer should not feel you are under pressure. The rug dealer should provide you with the right information, based on which you can make a sound and informative decision. Choosing the right store and the right dealer is the most important job in your rug buying process.
2- When you buy a Persian or Oriental rug, ask the dealer to write down on the invoice whatever he claims the rug to be. For example "Hand knotted Persian rug with vegetable dye and hand-spun wool". Ask him to give you a copy of his printed return policy. This should be simple and clear and not with many preconditions.
3- Never trust "Going Out of Business" rug stores or traveling auctions. In many cases, "Retirement Sales", TV and the Internet auctions by unknown sellers are also not trustable.
4- Do not trust those who claim to give you 80% off. Think for a moment. How is it possible to buy a hand knotted (or handmade) rug and pay only 20% of what it is worth? Why should somebody do this favor to you?
5- Material of the rug you would like to buy is very important. Wool is the best material for pile. Silk pile is luxurious, but is not good for high traffic areas of your home. The warp (foundation of the rug) can be cotton, wool or silk. Usually, tribal rugs are made of wool warp. Machine made and area rugs may look beautiful, but there maybe some health issues and concerns with them compared with hand knotted rugs which use natural fibers such as cotton, wool and silk.
6- To make sure a silk rug is real, take a little piece of the fringe (warp) and burn it. If it leaves a little stem, it is silk, if it disintegrates, it is not real and is probably rayon or other synthetics. Some dealers refer to rayon in the rug industry as "artificial silk", or worse "art silk". In either case, it is not silk. A lot of Silk rugs from India, China, and Pakistan are not real silk so make sure you know what you are buying. A reputable rug dealer should always tell you clearly what material a rug is made with.
7- Choosing the right size is very important. Make sure to measure your room correctly before referring to any rug store. Try to get standard size rug compared with odd sizes. The usual standard sizes in foot are: 3 x 5, 5 x 8,
6 x 9, 8 x 10, 9 x 12, 10 x 14, and 12 x 15. The standard width for runners of any length is 2' 6", although there are other widths as well
8- Color is another important factor in selecting a rug. Many buyers would like the color of the rug match with the wall, furniture, draperies, and other items surrounding it. Light colors make the room look bigger.
9- Design of a rug is a matter of taste. Some people like busier designs while other may prefer less crowded designs with more open field. In classical and traditional rugs, there is a medallion in the center with a corner medallion (1/4 of a medallion) in each corner. Another design group is overall with no center medallion while there are big flowers and motives. This design is more popular than the classical designs with medallions. Persian rugs have a vast collection of designs which can satisfy many different types of customers.
10- Price is also another important factor which you should consider. There is no one formula based on which you can determine the price of a hand knotted rug. Variables such as size, origin, quality of the wool and dye, density of the knots, material, age and … are important factors. As mentioned earlier, if you find a reputable dealer who is an active member of several professional societies and associations and has knowledge of the rug, you are probably in a much safer hands.
11- We at RugIdea.com will be happy to give you free advice on your rug buying journey. Please give us a call at 310-770-9085 from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm PST, California time!!
Hope you like these tips which have been gathered based on my many years of experience and what I have learned from others in the Oriental carpet world.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
This evening when I was browsing the Internet, I happened to see this note by Emmett Eiland. I liked it and would like to share it with you.
ORIENTAL RUG ZINE
On hands and knees we poured over new Kermans as fine as the best old ones and new Baktiaris with natural dyes - all with wonderful wool.
But the colors were another matter. Naturally dyed they were, but attractive? Maybe not. Certain very bright colors were not commercially acceptable or pleasing to us personally. Worse, when Natasha, a model of good manners, spoke gently about her concerns about the rugs' colors, one of the Persians took her words personally and bristled. That's a bad sign..
And price. Those rugs were expensive! Our impression is that some Iranian rug manufacturers have an exaggerated notion of American wealth. It is true that some Americans will pay "anything" for the right carpet, but it really does have to be right - and those wealthy few for whom money is no problem are likely to bring in a team of designers to confirm the "rightness" of the colors. The rugs we saw were not quite right, and we have reason to believe that they are the very cream of the Persian crop.
In the afternoon, a couple came in and selected two Sarouk rugs and a very fine Mashad rug to take home to see which one they would like. They will keep two of these three Persian carpets. They also picked up an Indian silk rug they had with us for cleaning. They also gave us another Indian hand knotted wool rug for cleaning. When they left, the whole store was a mess. It took us a couple of hours of work to put back every thing in order. Here, I post a photo of one of the fine Sarouks which is in old and traditional Qazvin carpet design.
After this couple left, a customer which had called earlier came in and brought two Tabriz fine rugs, a pair. She had washed these rugs at home and all the colors ran and bleed. We assured her that this problem could be taken care of. She left the rug with us. It was a busy day!
Thursday, December 6, 2007
More than any other carpets, I have seen Kerman rugs in the homes of my customers here in and around Los Angeles. I went to a customer's house last night to pick up two rugs she had for cleaning. One was an old Kerman rug which belonged to her parents. She wanted to sell this beautiful light green or turquise color Kerman rug, 9 x12 (9 m2) and I suggested that she keeps it and use it at her house. She accepted my professional advice. Below, I mention a little information on Kerman and its rugs. The sources are the "Wikipedia", and spongobongo.com
"It is believed, that
Carpet weaving is one of the main industries of the city, and the carpets produced there are renowned internationally. Carpet weaving is a very old tradition in
"Marco Polo praised the carpets of
In the older carpets the all cotton foundations have a depressed foundation with the first and third wefts rigid and the second sinuous. This has caused some to incorrectly attribute the Vase and Sanguszko carpets to
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
In Hot Springs, Arkansas, a woman named Susan discussed two oriental rugs that her grandparents had bought in 1931 for the exact same price: $2,000. One of the rugs, a very large Serapi, was woven in the late 19th century in northwest Persia, present-day Iran. In a little over 100 years this rug has appreciated twentyfold, to a retail value of $40,000. However, the other rug, a small Turkish Hereke prayer rug, has appreciated to only $6,000, which means its worth hasn't even kept pace with inflation.
What happened? Why does one old oriental rug soar in value over the years, while another one, just as old, stagnates in value?
We took these questions to Peter Pap, the ANTIQUES ROADSHOW rug expert who evaluated the two Hot Springs rugs. He says the differential in the appreciation of these two rugs, and of oriental rugs in general, is closely related to each rug's respective quality. He's quick to add, though, that the worth of a rug at any given time is also tied to cycles of the market and trends in people's taste.
Older Hereke rugs — and other Turkish prayer rugs similar to the one Susan showed in Hot Springs — were in great demand during the first few decades of the 1900s, Peter says. This fact inflated their value at the time. The keen market in turn inspired ever more exaggerated sales pitches — a factor Peter says likely played a part in the grandparents' purchase.
The original paperwork from the interior designer who sold the Hereke rug lists it as a "semi-antique," a term used to refer to objects that are more than 50 years old, but not yet 100 years old — the minimum age for a bona fide "antique." But Peter says that this rug was not in fact a late 19th-century specimen; rather, it was a copy made no more than 20 years before Susan's grandparents purchased it.
"They were definitely misled, and they overpaid for the prayer rug," Peter says.
Quality of craftsmanship — or lack of it — has also played a role in the Hereke's lackluster appreciation in value. The red dye used in the pattern was of poor quality and has bled into the rug's lighter colors. Peter also notes that the rug is not actually made of silk, as was claimed, but instead is woven from treated cotton.
On the other hand there is the second rug, a Serapi, which Peter spotted in a photograph that Susan showed him of the St. Louis penthouse that her grandparents lived in. But how can Peter tell from the picture that this rug is a winner? Serapis, he explains, only started being made late in the first decade of the 1900s; in the 1930s, this type of rug hadn't been around long enough, nor become popular enough, for rug makers to begin producing copies for sale. That's why Peter doesn't have misgivings about its authenticity. And Susan reports that the Serapi is still in excellent condition. A wealthy collector, her grandfather even built a special museum-like room in St. Louis to house his rugs. So Peter feels comfortable that his $40,000 estimate is accurate provided the Serapi has continued to be well cared for.
"While large Persian carpets with primitive geometric designs were relatively inexpensive at the time this was bought, they are now one of the most desirable types," Pap says.
So the first — unsurprising — lesson illustrated by Susan's two rugs is that quality matters in oriental rugs. But what may be a more important lesson, even for collectors of fine hand-made oriental carpets, is that the market is fickle.
Peter says that in the 1950s, oriental rugs lost their allure when buyers began to develop a preference for the color beige, as well as for wall-to-wall carpeting. Peter knows old-timers in the antiques business who had to dump the oriental rugs they bought as parts of complete estates. "One of my mentors in the business would drive from Washington in his Volkswagen Beetle to New England with $200 and be able to fill the car with antique rugs purchased at antiques shops," Peter says.
Prices for Turkoman tribal rugs and saddlebags, however, which collectors eagerly sought in the 1970s, have moved in the other direction over the last 10 years. "Now collectors are only looking for the masterpieces to round out their collections," Peter says. "And there isn't a second wave of younger collectors to support the entry-level pieces, so the prices have dropped in value."
In addition to changing patterns of demand, changes in the supply of oriental rugs have also affected the prices of mid-century rugs. As part of the renaissance in oriental rugs over the last 20 years, rug makers have begun to use quality natural dyes again and have created vibrant designs that borrow from 19th-century patterns.
"These rugs now make many of the semi-antique rugs look stiff in design and have caused that market to come down in price," Peter explains. "Any rugs whose designs and colors evolved to meet current taste in the West after World War II are bound to experience drops in demand and therefore price."
So perhaps the ultimate lesson in all these up-and-down swings is to buy what you like and treasure what you have. "Investment should not be your number-one requirement with a rug," Peter says. "An oriental rug, if it's cared for, will last a hundred years or more. You don't want to discount the value of something that can be used for a lifetime."
Sunday, December 2, 2007
In the afternoon, a couple came into our rug gallery looking for a 9 x 12 Persian silk rug. This husband and wife after one hour, ended up leaving with a beautiful ca 8 x 10 Sarouk rug made by Iran Carpet Company with a touch of silk. They had brought a burgundy Indian silk rug, a piece of travertine tile and a cushion to match their color with the color of the rug they would like the rug. After seeing many rugs, they liked an Ivory Sarouk rug. The wife had a rug book to use as a guide. I showed her the section on Sarouk rugs. They left their silk Indian rug with us for cleaning. They will comeback in a week to pick this rug up. When these couple were seeing different rugs, I showed them few Indian Jaipur rugs with the size they were looking, but the lady did not want to look at them at all and said I want a piece of art, and these are not the type that I am looking for.
Today, which was Sunday, I was at work and after I received a phone call from a customer, I went to his house to take a closer look at few of his rugs which need cleaning and repair. We talked about the kind of repair these rugs would need. We will probably pick these rugs up tomorrow. These are all old and antique Persian rugs.
In the afternoon, a lady came in and said where are your Mashad Saber rugs about which you have posted some literature on your website. She had come from Orange County, a place some 45 miles south of Los Angeles. I showed her the pair and mentioned that these beautiful museum quality rugs have 9,000,000 knots each and it took four years for each piece to make. Then she examined few other Qum silk and Isfahan rugs we had. She was looking for a Persian rug with hunting design. She could not find what she was looking for. She gave us her contact information in case if we find anything close to what she want, we can call her.
A designer with her client came in with two pillows looking for a 9 x 12 rug. They could not find any thing close to what they were looking for. Before they leave, I showed them few Indian rugs we have. These rugs are hand knotted with wool pile. The customer said, I do not like these rug. They look like area rugs. They left. Few other people also came in looking for area rugs, but none of them looked serious.
I came home around 6:00 pm. After a light dinner and chatting with my family, I browsed different TV channels. There was a wonderful program on channel 8, KOCE. I loved this program. It was showcasing a blind Italian opera male singer, Andrea Bocelli. What a wonderful and glorious voice?!. You can easily meditate with his songs and send your sole to cruise the sky!! This TV channel featured one of his concerts in an open air place called Tuscany in Italy. Thousands of people attended this concert. Andrea Bocelli has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide!
Well I guess I wrote more than what I wanted. Now is the time to say good bye.