How has global disruption of the familiar routines in the rug industry affected the 78-year-old rug and flooring trade fair Domotex Hannover? How have two of Europe’s largest rug wholesalers coped? After a huge reduction in production, followed by months of unprecedented and unpredictable circumstances, how have these business leaders adapted to survive and thrive in this volatile era? From staffing challenges and erratic demand, to the disappearance of travel, personal meetings and events, they review remote B2B practices that have become the temporary norm, and look ahead to the important resumption of trade fairs in 2022.
Ben Evans, the chair of this discussion, is Editor of HALI magazine—the only specialist arts magazine dedicated to antique carpets and textiles—published quarterly from London since 1978. Ben has built on this publication’s international acclaim and outstanding reputation for in-depth articles, launching COVER magazine to represent the contemporary market in 2005, and establishing book-publishing projects, cultural tours and events.
Sonia Wedell-Castellano began her professional life in 1993 in the sales department of a manufacturer of classic interior furniture. After four years she switched to the mechanical engineering industry, where her language skills earned her responsibility for the group’s European trade fair participations. She joined Deutsche Messe in Hanover in 2011, becoming a department director in 2014, before moving to DOMOTEX in 2018 as global director. Having a keen interest in different cultures (and being fluent in five languages) she loves travelling and working with people in a variety of nations.
Reza Rejaye of Rezas Oriental & Modern Rugs founded the company in December 1991 in modest circumstances: a boxroom as a warehouse, a rented van, and Reza Rejaye at the wheel. It has since grown into ‘the fairy tale where the Oriental and the European worlds meet in perfect harmony’. Over the past twenty-nine years it has become Northern Europe’s largest importer of oriental rugs, while also offering an exclusive and attractive assortment of high-quality modern rugs. Customers include big chains and wholesalers as well as small specialist shops.
Christoph Ziereis, managing partner of Oritop, started his career as an executive producer connected with various Viennese film studios. When he met his wife, Julia, the doors to the fascinating world of oriental carpets opened for him. In 2008 he joined the traditional trading company Oritop, which had relocated from Zürich to Vienna three years earlier. Oritop markets high-quality, original products produced in Afghanistan and carefully selected samples from all of the traditional rug-producing countries. Its innovative handmade carpets and flatwoven fabrics combine tradition with modernity.