A breath of Fresh Air! The Creative Matters’ press release arrived sandwiched between news about desperate refugees, burned out towns, out-of-control politicians.

Creative Matters has recently been involved in many hotel projects that have called for handmade rugs. This has been fueled by the desire among boutique hotels to create the ambiance of being a personal guest in a private home. Whereas in the past guest rooms may have had wall-to-wall broadloom, now area rugs harmonize with hardwood floors to create an intimate atmosphere

Creative Matters employed hundreds of Afghan Women over five months to fill an order for 97 hand knotted rugs for a boutique hotel.  Until this year, Creative Matters used Fair Traders from Nepal and India.  But because of this order, they had the good fortune to work with a slightly different style of hand knotting and create an incredible opportunity for Afghan women.

Anyone familiar with Creative Matters knows that, as a certified Label STEP Fair Trade Partner, they are committed to fair trade throughout the handmade carpet supply chain. STEP operates in all major handmade rug producing countries including Nepal, India and Afghanistan. It works to ensure suppliers comply with STEP fair trade standards which aim to improve the wellbeing of weavers and workers, eliminate child labor and assure eco-friendly production


Our project required 97 rugs to be woven in the traditional Persian knot style with small batch spinning and hand dyeing. We were told that it would impact the lives of hundreds of female Afghan weavers by giving them fair trade work over five months. At Creative Matters we were very excited to participate in this opportunity. Our project lead was Vice President Ali McMurter who was assisted by designers Kayla Bartolotto and Kat Pezzano.

In Afghanistan, STEP cooperates closely with an organization called Turquoise Mountain which – among other priorities – aims to revive traditional crafts and create jobs. STEP, Turquoise Mountain and The World Bank work together looking for international partners committed to ethical production and fair wages who will join them in improving the lives of female weavers in one of the world’s toughest countries. We hold all of these organizations in high regard.