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Weaving a better future, one ethically made rug at a time

Hand-woven rugs are beautiful, but rug weaving has often been linked to poor working conditions and exploitation. We wanted to find a way to work with producers to maintain the quality and feel of a handmade rug, while radically improving working conditions. And we did.

The hands of an Indian artisan weaving the fringe of a rug in shade of white, blue, grey and mustard.

IKEA hand-made rugs in India

See how IKEA, together with our suppliers, is improving the way hand-made rugs are produced in India and Bangladesh, ensuring good quality, more care for the environment and decent working conditions.

Better conditions, better products

Producing hand-made rugs with decent working conditions and fair pay has proved to be a win-win situation. For weavers it’s meant that orders, work and income are steady and predictable. We’ve cut out middlemen and replaced them with weaving centres that fulfil the IKEA code of conduct and safety conditions.

Three Indian weavers in traditional dress discussing the design of a rug.

Carpet weaving in the bad old days

In India and Bangladesh, rug weaving has traditionally been regarded as a side income. Working at home or in unregulated factories, weavers have had to face a reality of irregular and unpredictable flow of orders. On top of that, agents controlled the business and earned most of the money.

The wooden slats of a weaving loom threaded with white yarn.

A 50/50 gender balance by FY25

Hand-weaving is an industry that traditionally is male dominated. Education and empowerment of women is essential to the development of society in India, so our suppliers are working to create and maintain a safe work environment for women. Across our supply base women currently make up 45% of the workforce.

Four Indian weavers in brightly coloured traditional dress and jewellery, enjoying a laugh outside.
A group of Indian women in brightly coloured clothes sitting outside on a rug. In the background are some huts and a cow.

Improved wages and benefits

Firstly, we provided weavers with regular work in a safe environment, with regulated wages plus benefits such as holidays and transport. We also set up two schools, where trainees are paid while they’re learning.

Creating jobs close to home

Our ambition is to place weaving centres close to where weavers and other workers live, so they don’t have to move away from their home and family to find a job.

A process tailored to women

We’ve also made changes to the weaving process, developing a new loom that requires less physical strength to operate. This means that weaving can now be a profession for women, providing them with work and economic stability. We also decided not to patent the new loom so it can be available to everyone.

The hands of a weaver wearing a traditionally patterned top in the process of weaving a white rug on a loom.

Collaboration to keep the craft alive

By improving conditions for weavers IKEA is hoping to make the unique craftsmanship of a hand-made rug available for people everywhere. We’re collaborating with weavers in the factories to promote weaver design collections that reflect the colourful heritage of the region and the skill of the artisans.

See all handmade rugs
A wicker chair standing on TANNISBY rug in shades of grey, black and white.
The edge of one HALVED rug laid on top of another HALVED rug on a rough concrete floor.
See all handmade rugs
The hands of an Indian weaver adorned with several copper bracelets, weaving a rug on a loom.
I was a teacher, then I applied for a weaving job. Now I’m learning a new craft, earning much better and can spend more time with my children.

Shashi DeviWeaver