It is 5 P.M. I meet the inspired artist family in their workplace. The smell of food is everywhere. They say that they had guests and discussed the carpets. The weavers are working in one of the rooms. Another room is available for the guests. There are carpets and a bench for crocheting.
It is a young family who is inspired and motivated by their work. Lala Shafae talks about the creation of their carpet factory.
"My father was a carpet designer for 40 years. Five years ago, because of his age, he was set aside from this work. So this interest comes from my childhood. When I was engaged with Amir, we wanted to have our own small business.
Amir Gozali joins our conversation:
"Together with Lala we have decided to be engaged in the carpet weaving business. Both of us love this beautiful work. There was nothing new in Ardabil city and we have decided to start."
Lala and Amir started this work 3 years ago. They finally came up with the name of their brand in the end of the 3rd year. Now it is named "Ardabil".
Lala Shafae is talking about the difference and attitudes toward hand-woven carpets and carpets woven by machine.
"In the past, hand woven carpets took a special place in Iran. But the items that make up the carpet and the expensive labor in such a difficult economic situation did not give the opportunity for people to buy and use hand-woven carpets under their feet."
In addition to Lala Shafae's words, Amir Gozali says that for maintaining and keeping the hand-woven carpets, there should be special effort.
"Due to the economic situation, people in the past prefered to buy more machine-woven carpets. But over time, they realized that the "life" of a machine-woven carpets is less than a hand-woven carpet."
They say that the factory is not only busy with the weaving of carpets, but also providing workshops for making woven rugs. The factory prepares the carpet charts too.
"The first stage is the preparation of yarn and thread. When the designer draws the picture (a design for the carpet), we prepare the appropriate ropes and colors for it. We color the rope here. When the design and colored rope is ready, the workers begin to stitch it out. Then the tissue work is completed. In the end, the faces and edges of the carpet are made and then are offered for sale."
According to officials, the majority of carpet weavers are women.
Amir Gozali says, "unfortunately this art has not enough worth and appreciation."
Lala Shafae says that most of the carpet weavers are faced with financial difficulties.
"Most of the carpet weavers are women who are either divorced or single women. They, especially, need this work," she says.
Amir says that the weaving business is very profitable for those who are engaged in it for a long time. Their places on bazar are stable and have regular customers.
"People who are new in this field have a risk to leave the market quickly," he states.
We entered this business with innovation and motivation. We always try to show and sell different and exclusive things. We hope, that we will reach the level we want," Lala Shafae notes.
Amir Gozali says that for the previous work, they took a loan in the bank. However, he complains about the payment.
"I wish they could help young business entrepreneurs,"he says.
Lala Shafae says, mainly they take special orders. They also weave carpets which are popular among the people and sell out in the market.
"For now we do not export our carpets, but for export, we started to weave special carpets," she says.
Amir Gozali says, the best carpet weavers in Iran are living in Azerbaijan ( a region in northwestern Iran) and those who live and work in Ardebil can be better in this area.
"Unfortunately, we are behind it. There are not any unions of the best and old masters that we know," he says.
Lala Shafae states about the importance of this manufacture,
"If the Experienced carpet workers support the youth in this area, then Ardabil probably might be the first in it, and will start to export it. We will work hard on it."
Shafae says, that in recent years the number of carpet weaving schools and the place for workshops has increased. For this reason, the interest among people has also increased. She also states that in the past, this craftsmanship was more revived.
Amir Gozali says that he created proper conditions for his workers, and complains that he needs more workers.
Their advice to the younger generation, who wants to create a business, is not to lose their hope.
"I wish every young person can be successful in his business. I will suggest them to never stop their work," Shafae says.
Amir hopes that their carpet manufacture will be famous not only in Iran; that Ardebil will be famous all around the world.