The Business Year

Kazem Shafaghi

IRAN - Tourism

A Timeless Passion

Managing Director, Shafaghi Carpets

Bio

Kazem Shafaghi has been weaving carpets by hand since his childhood. He quickly became famous in Tabriz and throughout the country for his skills as a weaver, which he learned from his father. He is currently Managing Director of Shafaghi Carpets.

Shafaghi is one of the oldest and best quality carpet manufacturers in Iran. What strategies have you followed in order to represent the center of carpet making in the country? […]

Shafaghi is one of the oldest and best quality carpet manufacturers in Iran. What strategies have you followed in order to represent the center of carpet making in the country?

We focus on the quality of our products, mass advertising, and very good prices. Every carpet is special for us, and we add value to what we produce. Despite the fact that we are in a challenging economic situation, the company is still growing by employing more Iranians, renewing our factory, and expanding our range of carpets. We are working to form partnerships with other carpet producers in order to augment the selection and variety of our carpets. Iranian and foreign consumer tastes are very different, so that is why we are trying to differentiate the selection of our products. We are studying international trends and fashion to meet the demand and partner with foreign companies. Along with partnerships, we are focusing on marketing. In 2012, we expect to participate in an exhibition in Florence to promote our culture and products to Italy and its people.

Iran is famous for its quality carpets. How would you describe the characteristics of the carpet-manufacturing industry in Iran?

We started in 1961 and are one of the oldest companies that manufacturers carpets in Iran. This country’s carpets have their own special characteristics that mix history, the abilities of whoever makes the carpet, and the materials that we use. This is an old tradition, and it comes from the bottom of our hearts: our carpets are like the food your mother cooks in the kitchen, which cannot be compared to the food you are eating in a restaurant, even the finest one. Your mother cooks with her heart because she wants to feed her baby, but at the restaurant you are just a customer like any other. As I started this job when I was a child, I know the fine quality of the products that we use, and our carpets are different from others because our competitors are focused solely on profits. This is the love I have for my carpets—I live with them when I weave them.

Where do you find the colors for your carpets, and how does the process work?

All my colors are handmade, derived from natural sources. That is why the quality of our carpets is so different from others. We have harnessed a high level of expertise, and I personally select the colors for our carpets, modify them, and create a carpet according to my imagination. My passion for the craft leads to the creation of beautiful carpets.

What steps can be taken to stop the proliferation of imitation rugs?

This is a hard question to answer. Quality carpets are supervised by the National Council of Carpets, which is under the control of the Ministry of Trade. This agency verifies the genuineness of Iranian carpets. They supervise the quality and origin of Iranian carpets. In some parts of the world there are so-called “Iranian” carpets made in China. If asked questions, they argue that they make these carpets under the supervision of Iranian experts, which is absolutely not true and highly unlikely. We expect the authorities to take action against these false products and stop the proliferation of imitations. However, we, as a small company, cannot control the entire market. The origin of each carpet used to be certified until the Chinese began making fake certificates—now it is almost pointless to issues certificates on our carpets saying that they are made in Iran. All things considered, we cannot do much at a business level, but the authorities can. I hope they will take action in order to preserve the heritage of this ancient tradition.

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