Rug News andDesign Magazine was founded in New York City in 1978, under the name Rug News.

Leslie Stroh started the magazine as a way to keep in touch with his rug friends, after he left Fritz & LaRue, then the 3rd largest rug importer. At that time, many of the older owners of rug manufacturers were beginning to hand over their businesses to the next generation. Information was being lost. Leslie sought to speak with those men who had been instrumental in establishing the US rug business and write about their collected knowledge to share with others.

His belief was and still is –

  • Be honest
  • Never share a company’s trade secrets
  • Never publish rumors – only write when three or more agree
  • Never publish wholesale prices – more recently, retail prices are not printed

When Leslie started in the rug business in 1972, there were no fax machines and no Internet. Telex was high tech and only the large firms had them. Communication between wholesalers and their sources was a guarded art. A story Leslie likes to tell of the early days is how the letters that were sent back and forth to India were numbered to mitigate against confusion caused by cross mail.

There were few channels of distribution. There were specialty rug stores. And Macy’s had not bought up all of the nation’s department stores. Big Boxes were unknown. Walmart was in Arkansas. Lowe’s was still a North Carolina building supply store. Hand knotted rugs were very expensive and considered by many as investments. Machine made rugs – with notable exceptions – were ugly and cheap.

Color printing was expensive and difficult – making advertising a challenge.

In the late ’80s–’90s, change happened. The price of rugs plummeted. Big Box stores demanded that product be produced to their specifications. Many more rug wholesalers entered the market. Macy’s became THE department store. The Internet arrived on the heels of the fax, making communication with sources less difficult, but bringing its own complexities.