<144 -->Everyone knows that a Moroccan rug is the idiotproof way to enrich a room. The soft texture of a Beni Ourain–style floor covering emits warmth and never looks too “shaggy,” and the colors range from that perfect shade of buttery white to electric hues that you would never expect to work in your home but totally do.
Of course, because Moroccan rugs are so damn stylish and durable, they also come with a hefty price tag. A seller will tell you they last forever (and they do!), but it’s nevertheless hard to swallow the thousands you have to spend in one sitting.
That’s why we were thrilled to hear the phrase “direct-to-consumer Moroccan rugs” to describe the new company Beni Rugs<146 -->. The brainchild of Soludos<148 --> alum Robert Wright and hospitality expert and artist Tiberio Lobo-Navia, this e-comm brand is here to solve a few problems with buying a Moroccan rug: that super high price, size and color limitations, and authenticity.
The Range rug by Beni Rugs; photo by Grant Legan.
<159 -->It all started two years ago when the cofounders met an extremely friendly family in Marrakech<161 --> that has been in the rug business for generations. They spent all day with the family, learning about the local industry’s passion for keeping the ancient process of making Beni Ourain rugs alive. “It really is a craft that is untouched by time,” says Robert. “From shearing the wool, to washing it, to weaving the rugs knot by knot, entirely by hand.”
The pair brought several rugs back to the States, and when many of their friends wanted one for themselves, Robert and Tiberio tried to connect them with the original family in Marrakech to place an order. But, as when working with most old-world craftspeople in faraway places, it wasn’t so easy to arrange from overseas. “They were trying to buy based on really small photos that weren’t the best quality, or the sizes were always a bit wonky, or the colors were off,” recalls Robert.
When they noticed that there wasn’t anyone who had modernized the process of buying authentic rugs directly from Morocco, they decided they would try their hand at it: “We wanted to provide a platform to showcase these artisans making the rugs – which is such a beautiful process – but also allow them to be accessible to a wider group of people.”
The hand-weaving process of traditional Moroccan rug
<182 -->The family helped facilitate a working relationship with the weavers who live and work six hours outside of Marrakech in the Atlas Mountains<184 -->, and Robert and Tiberio worked on signature designs. “We were inspired by the traditional designs and motifs, but we also brought in a little more modernity here and there,” explains Tiberio. Case in point: the Rothko style<186 --> rug inspired by the abstract expressionist painter. The next step in bringing the process up to speed for the Instagram generation is customizability. For each design, there are tons of different color options that you can easily click through, choosing the background color and that of the design.
A selection of color varieties on the Trance rug.
<197 -->Taking it one step further, you also get to choose the size. There are standard rug sizes available, but if you have a really tricky area to cover, they can also make one custom to that space. And heck, if those aren’t enough options, Robert and Tiberio will also design something just for you based on an inspiration photo or specific tweaks to existing styles. Of course, total custom projects will cost 15 to 20 percent more, but if you’re that picky, the world is your oyster.
Finally, the price: By working directly with the weavers and shipping direct-to-consumer without any overhead, Beni Rugs is able to save you a boatload on an authentic handwoven Moroccan rug. We recognize that half the fun in traveling to Morocco is actually doing the rug shopping, but let’s face it: Booking a trip has been on your list for years, and weddings are taking up all of your vacation days. To get exactly what you want to your door in approximately eight weeks, check out Beni Rugs<199 -->. They also made some amazing #content on the handweaving process, so you can feel like you really were there. See more below!