Stories. Rug making has always been about stories- of culture, tradition, families and an ancient craft. Emma Sadler and Georgie Rush, two friends with years of experience working with rugs established Lālla London, the go-to rug emporium for the very finest hand crafted rugs in 2017. Their love of rugs and their passion for quality, creativity, affordability and sustainability means you’ll often find them with their mule in the Atlas Mountains, visiting small cooperatives to hand pick their carefully chosen statement pieces. Whether Beni Ourain, Boucherouite or Nomad is your thing, Lālla can find you the finest and most beautiful rugs available in Morocco today. We caught up with the co-founders for a quick chat earlier this week:
Where did your passion for rugs come from?
Emma: From a very early age I have adored travel, stories and colour; and rugs bought all of that to life. It always fascinated me that not one piece was exactly like any other- each had its own unique design and story to tell. My first love of rugs was born on my various travels to the far flung corners of the world, spending hours deep in the souks and bazaars, drinking tea and learning about the wondrous craft. My true passion and eye for rugs was then brought to life when I was lucky enough to work for one of the best rug companies in the world- that was where I really discovered the incredible beauty of handmade rugs and contemporary design
Tell us about the Lālla business ethos
Georgie: Lālla is all about quality, sustainability and creativity. Our main aim is to celebrate the craftsmanship and the individuality of handmade design, whilst supporting female weavers and promoting fair pay in Berber communities. All of our rugs are made from 100% natural materials and are ethically sourced from the Women’s cooperatives of the Atlas Mountains. Each piece is uniquely named after the ladies we met along the way.
Colour or Neutrals?
Emma: We’re all about colour and boldness at Lālla because life’s too short not to be!
What advice do you have for someone buying a rug for the first time?
Georgie: Buy something you love. A rug, if looked after with care, will last you many years, possibly even generations- and will most definitely outlive all your other soft furnishings! We choose our rugs how we choose our art: (this is probably why we’ve ended up with too many rugs to fit in our house)- if we like it, we’ll find a place for it one day!
What are your favourite pieces from your current collection?
Our favourite pieces are always the rugs with the best story- either how we found it or the tale behind it. Our current collection is brimming with stories but our favourite has to be the small beautiful colourful Saeeda. She actually found us! We were walking by the river in the Atlas Mountains one day and we caught sight of her in the distance, drying in the sun over the bushes. The local women had been washing their rugs and they were all proudly laid out. Her bright colours were very unique and she instantly stood out from the crowd. So taken with her, we walked back in to the village and spent the rest of the afternoon finding the very weaver, Saeeda herself .
And your most treasured memory from your Lālla travels?
Emma: finding Fatima! On our very first trip to Morocco, with just a backpack and our mule, we headed for the Berber villages of the Atlas Mountains. On our third day we stumbled across a tiny house on a hill, with ‘Tapis Berbers’ scrawled on the wall. Inside was Fatima- the head of the women’s cooperative in the village. We spent hours sitting with her and her sisters, drinking tea, hearing stories and looking at each handmade piece. Fatima is no longer just one of our most treasured memories- she is now an integral part of Lālla, with her rugs at the heart of our collection.
What’s your top room makeover tip?
Georgie: ask yourself what you want from your room: to unify one area by claiming and grounding the space- or to create independent areas by breaking it up into defining parts? Whatever the aim, our main tip is to be as generous as you can afford with rug size: this gives a luxurious feel to your room, drawing your eye out to encompass the whole space.
Have there been any disasters so far?
Emma: we wouldn’t necessarily say disasters- but there’s definitely been a few things we’ve added to our ‘lessons learnt’ book! One of our first buying trips was to to Uzbekistan . We’ll hold our hands up and say it was a bit of a throw of the dice! we’d never been, knew no-one and quite frankly we had no idea what we were going to find (if anything!). Still- something had always fascinated us about the Silk Road and the role it had played in the rug trade for many years, so off we went. London Heathrow to Moscow to Tashkent. Unfortunately Tashkent airport was as far as we got- a small visa issue meant we were sent straight back to where we came from, with nothing but our deportation notice in hand (now framed in the loo of course). We haven’t yet made it back!
ibbi is delighted to be collaborating with Lālla London to bring you a wonderful collection of hand crafted one off statement rugs. Prices: from £500.00 inc free underlay and free shipping. To see: visit www.ibbidirect.co.uk or visit www.lallalondon.co.uk for more info
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