When Tim Barnes went to visit his sister Sally Murali in India, neither of them expected a wrong turn would lead to their next business venture. Travelling through the outskirts of Delhi, a moment of confusion saw them drive by a rug display and both were instantly taken.
“We were totally entranced,” explains Sally. “We decided to visit the village community where artisans were weaving these stunning rugs and floor cushions, all made from off-cuts discarded from clothing production. This craft dated back hundreds of years and has been passed down from generation to generation.”
With a love for handmade and sustainable products, in that moment the siblings decided to go into business together, with a mission to bring ethically created, design-led homewares to Australia. Specialising in rugs and oversized floor cushions, all the wares by Sugarcane Trading Co are made by skilled artisans with nothing more than hand operated looms and simple tools. No electricity, no motors and no machinery. Best yet, the textiles are handwoven from natural jute and cotton waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
Since starting earlier this year, the business has expanded. With the slow homewares movement in mind, they have added a range of handmade metal pendants and table lights, each hand etched with intricate detail. “All our products are made to last,” says Sally. “We want to reduce the impact of wasteful consumption on the environment and celebrate the skills of traditional craftsmanship. Conscious consumption is our driving force, not flooding the world with throwaway products.”
The rugs start from $260. Plus every purchase contributes to The Sugarcane Trust, Sally and Tim’s charity in India, which enhances the welfare and livelihoods of the artisans.