Business with Positive Impacts
Sustainability is not just about the environment but rather it is meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. It is about making a proactive, positive impact that empowers.
This concept is the core tenant of our business.
In short, it means we focus on how we can tread softly on our planet while producing our gorgeous rugs that are designed to last for generations.
We obsess over:
1. CONSIDERATE PRODUCTION: We use sustainable and natural materials and energy efficient modes of production, constantly and enthusiastically searching for ways we can improve this.
2. ENERGY EFFICIENCY: We design rugs built to stand the test of time to combat to our throw-away culture. We primarily make rugs-to-order versus masses of stock, saving waste, preserving materials and energy.
3. ETHICAL TRADING: We truly consider and support the craftspeople on our team so they have the ability to improve their own lives by safe and fair working conditions. Our rugs require the highest level of skill and we pay wages accordingly. We support the families of our weavers and the community to help improve lives today and of future generations.
Ethical Trading: The Heart of What We Do
We make each rug to order by hand using ancient, traditional methods and hold a very limited stock. This means we can create with the greatest energy efficiency, ensuring we don't use one stitch more than is absolutely necessary. d
We ship using durable packaging made from recycled plastics.
We recycle water used in both the dyeing and washing phases, treating it so that it can be re-used or filtered so it can be used as drinking water.
We operate with transparency and require our craftspeople to do the same. We are constantly exploring ways of improving our processes, leaving beautifully crafted pieces that will be enjoyed for many generations to come
Fibres with Integrity
The processes and the materials that go into the construction of a quality, handmade rug have been largely unchanged over hundreds of years. While many cultures across the globe have developed their own particular style of knotting or weaving (think flatwoven, hand-knotted and handloom to name a few), it’s the experience and talent of the individual weaver that makes the biggest difference to the overall quality of a rug.
We use recycled and recyclable materials wherever possible; looms are broken down and rebuilt to the size needed ensuring they are used for many years.
Commitment to our Weavers
Our rugs are traditionally and ethically crafted in two main locations: Kathmandu, Nepal and Bhadohi, India. Working with artisans across the globe from London means that frequent visits are essential - and very much enjoyed. We get the chance to really get to know the individuals who make our rugs possible. It is a privilege to continually learn from these artisans.
As well as championing the time-honoured craft of rug weaving, it is a founding principle of our business to engage, inspire and — most importantly — empower the artisans who work for us.
Weaving in Bhadohi, India
Bhadohi is considered the capital of rug weaving within India and 95% of its villagers work in or are supported by the rug crafting industry. The heritage of rug making is centuries old in India, a country that has a tradition for handcraft and art that is world renown.
Many of our weavers still live and work in the area surrounding Bhadohi in which they were raised. There, we are working to implement change from the heart of the community outwards. Along with local residents, we significantly contribute to a fund set-up in collaboration with the head of our weaving centre that supports those who would not otherwise have proper access to schooling and medical care.
Access to education and quality healthcare is often difficult and complicated outside the privatised system (especially for young women and girls) and thus the community fund is vital. We also run several additional projects throughout the year. Currently, we are working closely with a local computer education centre, sponsoring young women to complete vocational courses designed to equip them with invaluable skills and broaden their horizons in the digital age.
In an effort to provide more regulation and security for our employees, every step in creating a Jennifer Manners rug takes place under one roof where possible. As well as helping to maintain impeccable quality and consistency, it crucially provides secure and stable employment for our weavers and dye-masters.
Weaving in Nepal
Improving Working Standards
In Nepal, rug production is one of the country's primary exports. It is not only a significant contributor to the economic but also to the social progress and prosperity of the people, especially in rural areas.
We partner with over 600 craftspeople who work on the hand-dyeing, weaving and finishing of our rugs. Each skill is its own unique art that is most often learned from a parent or family elder. However, absolutely no child labour is used in the production of any of our rugs and this is monitored closely both internally and externally by organisations such as GoodWeave.
There is still work to be done in this area, especially in remote regions of Nepal that regulatory bodies cannot access and monitor as easily. Therefore, the head of our weaving centre in Nepal, who was invited to join GoodWeave as a board member, worked with us to form an association to highlight and report improper practice within the industry.
Supporting Tomorrow's Generations
We work closely with our weavers to ensure their children are automatically enrolled in our dedicated schools scheme, which ensures that every child has access to the high standard of education they deserve. We believe education is the most impactful way of making a difference in developing communities.
Nepal’s education system is of poor quality, especially in public schools with studies revealing that very little teaching is occurring in rural public schools. There is very little testing and no help for students who are struggling, leading to children dropping out.
Beyond paying for tuition at private schools, our support also covers the costs of textbooks, transportation and uniforms. Many schools were destroyed or partly ruined in the 2015 earthquake and additional funding has been crucial in the rebuilding process.