Nand Kishore Choudhary
Founder, Jaipur Rugs
A staunch believer of the power of love and innocence to heal the society, Nand Kishore Choudhary started Jaipur Rugs, one of India's largest manufacturers of hand-knitted rugs, with an aim to give local artisans the global recognition they deserve.
Jaipur Rugs traces its origin back to 1978, when a young Marwari started a business in rugs from the small town of Churu in Rajasthan. Unwavering in his belief and ideals, Chaudhary transformed the traditional trade of weaving into a profitable conglomerate. When Chaudhary heard about the carpet business, the facts were startling: Rajasthan produced 45% of India’s raw wool but majority of carpets were produced in Uttar Pradesh. To bridge this gap, he set up two carpet looms in the courtyard of his house with a start-up capital of INR 5,000.
"I employed nine people who had been trained by the government but had no work," says Chaudhary. The weavers belonged to the ‘chamar’ Bharat – the so-called untouchables. This move was not just a simple start to a business but an indication of the transformation –of acceptance, dignity and recognition – to be soon heralded by Chaudhary.
Deeply rooted in relationships, Jaipur Rugs is focused on the concept of doorstep entrepreneurship so that an artisan is not forced to leave home in search of a sustainable livelihood. Through a network of specialised logistical support, Jaipur Rugs delivers raw material to artisans’ homes where they work on the product. Using this model, the organisation has impacted the lives of over 28,000 weavers and over 12,000 other workers who manufacture the rugs.
"I didn’t start my journey assuming I would create a social enterprise. Every step I took was to ensure the welfare and wellbeing of my workers. When your workers are happy, they will do good work and that is good for business," states Chaudhary. "I see Jaipur Rugs as a business ashram, a place to unleash the potential of the individuals of the Bharat, especially women," he adds.