In the year 1983, entrepreneurs JK Gupta & Meenakshi Gupta started a small carpet making operation in Meerut, a small town 60 km north of Delhi. Little did they knew that the unit, which they had set up in their garage with 6 weavers, will one day turn into an industry leader, directly or indirectly supportind around 5000 families and supplying rugs to more than 80 countries. Today, Sharda Exports is well-known globally as a premier manufacturer & exporter of home fashion.
Conscious Carma magazine gets into a candid chat with Aditya Gupta
MD, Sharda Exports & The Rug Republic
Q1. Can you please share your journey in Sharda Exports and The Rug Republic. When did you join your parents in business and what has been your contribution to the business thereafter.
The company was started in the mid 1980s by our parents. It started out as a couple weavers and some equipment in our home compound. My mother supervised the weavers while my father looked at the other aspects. My brother and I started to join the business towards the end of our college time. In 1992 we exhibited abroad (Germany, Domotex) and that began a wonderful journey that now extends over 90 countries. In 2013, The Rug Republic was created with the aim of enabling smaller retailers by removing MOQs per article and providing faster delivery times.
Q2. Both Sharda Exports & The Rug Republic are responsible and sustainable brands. Can you please comment on it
Sustainability & responsibility have been foundational blocks of our brands. We believe in not growing as a brand, but as an eco system which aims to uplift all around us. Sustainability is equally important to us, caring for the environment goes hand in hand in caring for the people who reside within it. And with the great design possibilities brought about by recycled materials, it’s almost a crime not to use them!
Q3. Sharda Exports won an award “Trend towards Veracity” at AIT-Trendscouting Heimtextile 2012 for innovative re-use of materials like flip-flops, jeans labels, carpet remains, old zip fasteners, etc. How did this idea came. And are you working on any more innovations?
We’ve always been fascinated with alternate materials. Of course in soft furnishings, it is not all that easy to introduce new materials. The jean label thing was just an idea we were playing around with, we did not expect that rug to win so many accolades, but I’m thankful it did. Infact we were the first in the world to develop and manufacture carpets using waste leather. These days we are focusing a lot on PET yarn made from recycled plastic bottles. (trying to find pictures of that rug. will share asap)
Q4.What is the rank of Sharda Exports in the World’s leading Carpet Exporters.
It is tough to give a definitive rank but I would like to think we are towards the top.
Q5. What are the USPs of Sharda Exports & The Rug Republic. How does it stand out among the competition
The design philosophy of both Sharda and TRR has been different from the very start. We use traditional techniques combined with design inspirations from all over the world (from the Taj Mahal to Ecuadorian villages) to create a truly global and avant garde collection that stands out among the crowd.
Q6. Future plans of Sharda Exports and The Rug republic
We are focusing on e-commerce a lot, both domestically and across the borders. We plan to keep stock in multiple locations across the globe to provide lightning fast delivery times for both our B2B and B2C clients.
Q7. How did the company take care of its employees during the pandemic
The pandemic was a tough time for all of us. We bought covid insurance for all our employees, implemented all sanitization and prevention protocols and have even reimbursed all pay cuts that took place due to office closure.
Sharda Exports is proud of its’ serious and ever growing focus on sustainable growth. Some of the green initiatives taken by them are listed below:
- • Environmental Management System that starts with optimum usage of resources, particularly raw materials, water and energy; and includes effective management & control of wastes generated during the production process.
- • Continuous development of innovative products using re-cycled materials like waste leather, fabric, rubber, ties, denims, jeans labels and even used sweaters.
- • Development of products using different shades of natural yarn, avoiding dyeing altogether.
- • Use of Sunlight for drying of carpets, thus saving on fossil fuels/ electricity.
- • Installed two energy efficient Air Handling/ heating units with insulated chamber for carpet drying in foggy/ humid weather.
- • Installed APFC’s (Automatic Power Factor Correction Panels) to maintain the power factor above 0.95 thus reducing power consumption.
- • Daily monitoring and control of section-wise power consumption through sub-meters.
- • Automatic Level Control System for prevention of overflow from overhead water tanks at all locations
- • Installed a Carpet Wash Water Recycle System.
- • Septic Tanks for treatment of domestic sewage water before disposal.
- • Segregation of different types of waste at source for better recycle ability.
- • Proper handling, storage, preservation and timely disposal of the waste materials/ empty containers to parties that re-use them in an environment friendly manner.