It’s true. Searching for that perfect rug can be overwhelming. That’s why Green Front has just launched a brand new, comprehensive rug guide. Created as a resource for customers before, during, and even after their purchase of a rug, the guide contains years of knowledge by the most rug-savvy folks in the industry. Think of it as SparkNotes for rugs!
So how exactly can the rug guide help you? And, most importantly, how can you choose a rug that’s right for you? Join us as Green Front President Den Cralle explains what he hopes people will gain from the rug guide as well as what he’s learned about rugs over his years at Green Front. He will even share some of his more memorable, rug-related experiences! Hopefully, this conversation with Den — along with our new guide — will give you the confidence you need to find your perfect rug.
GFF: Green Front and rugs are pretty much synonymous. Why is that? Why rugs?
Den Cralle: I think a lot of that started when my dad began bringing over containers of rugs in the ’80s and ’90s with the incredible red, black, blue, and Heriz designs. People had never seen those types of rugs at those prices. My dad really changed the market. We were getting these gorgeous Persian rugs all of the sudden — these heirloom rugs with timeless designs — but now they were attainable for everyone. They are definitely investments, but affordable ones. I think people realized the rugs’ durability and beauty. They have the potential to be heirloom pieces. Green Front used to do wall-to-wall carpet in the ’90s, but there’s a reason that market isn’t there anymore. People have hardwood floors now that they want to be exposed. People want style and durability. That is definitely one of the huge reasons why Green Front rugs have taken off so well in the last 20 years.
GFF: That makes a lot of sense. How has Green Front doubled down on what your dad started?
DC: I don’t think that there are a lot of rug sources out there with a good selection and fair prices. The combination of selection and price that we offer is unmatched by anyone in the country. Are there places with more rugs? Maybe. But in terms of the artisan-crafted, hand-knotted rugs — that’s all us. At Green Front, we see them as an art form and an industry that we are glad to be a part of. There is something about a hand-knotted rug that just takes your home to that next level. Whether it’s comfort on your feet or a story to tell your friends, the wearability and livability factors are exponentially better than other options. We bring the combination of price and selection, using the best partners in India and Pakistan. Plus we are aware that rugs are a fashion industry. It’s ever-changing. You have to stay on top of it. If not, your inventory will get stagnant. This is something that we grasp here, which is why rugs have remained a flagship product for us.
GFF: Last spring, Green Front made the move to bring the rug inventory online with greenfrontrugs.com. Can you talk about that a little?
DC: So much of the furniture and design industry is going online. We asked ourselves: “How do we stay true to who we are with our in-store experience and signature, old buildings but increase our national and regional exposure with a product that anyone can buy from their phone?” The decision to go online was pretty clear cut after that. We closed down briefly during the first part of the pandemic and designed and created a studio where the rugs could be photographed. Rugs naturally lend themselves to online ordering and shipping because they photograph well and don’t break during transit.
GFF: Let’s talk about the rug guide! What can GFF shoppers expect?
DC: Going online with greenfrontrugs.com was the inspiration for this guide. You can glance at it and get the gist, but if you take a deep dive, you’ll find all kinds of nuggets of valuable information. This guide holds things we’ve learned from selling rugs for 50 years. From images to icons, we have sought to make it appealing and easy to read but also to include the important things — like size, placement, and styles — honed down to simple paragraphs and bullet points. It’s something you could review before you go shopping or at the store itself on your phone. We want it to be a tool in our customer’s toolbelt. The more you know, the better we can help you. We aren’t trying to hide anything from you. It’s not like a car dealership. We want you to know these things.
GFF: You mentioned using this rug guide as a tool. Would you say you hope that this rug guide will be an educational tool for customers?
DC: Absolutely. Rugs are such a big part of what we do. I believe there is an education gap with hand-knotted rugs. We see this rug guide as a way to try to get our customers up to speed with some of the basics as well as the more nuanced aspects of purchasing an investment like a rug. Anybody can go on to Wayfair and buy a 6 x 9 hand-tufted rug for $169 and be done with it, but we know that our customers expect more and are willing to make the investment with their time and money. We want to help them understand how to determine if a rug is the correct size for a certain room, the pros and cons of various materials, the names of specific designs, and so on. They can use it or not use it, skim it — go as far as they want. This rug guide is our effort to put more rug knowledge together in a way that is digestible for our customers.
GFF: Sounds exciting and informative. With so much to learn about rugs, can you talk about some of your most memorable experiences with rugs at Green Front through the years?
DC: There is always something new to learn about rugs! I learned a lot while creating this rug guide. Working with rugs at GFF was my first job. During the summers, I unloaded containers, dropped rugs from racks, and cut rug pads. (I have a few scars on my fingers to prove it!) I started going to India with my dad when I was 16. Even growing up in a rug family, there was still so much I didn’t know and still, so much I don’t know now. One of the craziest things I remember was that one of our rug suppliers made a hand-knotted rug with my face on it. They used this picture of me from when I was 11, holding my cat Scuba and wearing an Old Navy scuba t-shirt. So random! I’m pretty sure that rug is in storage now.
GFF: What we would give to see that rug! What would you say is the most common question that comes up when people are trying to decide on a rug?
DC: People always want to know, “How do I pick out the right rug?” I think the rug is where you start. A lot of people build their rooms around rugs. It’s the base. It’s a huge anchor. Colors, wallpapers, a favorite sofa, etc. — all of these can play on the colors, patterns, and even the size of a rug. The whole story you’re trying to tell with a specific room or an entire house is outlined by the rug. Honestly, it’s almost odd that more places don’t specialize in rugs. Anyone can add brown furniture after the fact, but setting up a room so it will look amazing AND be functional as well as a whole myriad of other things is an accomplishment. To me, rugs are a no-brainer, so it makes sense to start there, but I feel the struggle firsthand. I’m currently picking out rugs for my new house, and it isn’t a cakewalk. If I’m having trouble, I can imagine the average customer might be intimidated by the whole process.
GFF: That’s right! You are currently in the middle of that process with your own home, which you recently purchased. Tell us more about being on the opposite side of the experience.
DC: It can be overwhelming and a lot to take in, but once you find the one, you know. Size is important. Color is important. It’s not easy to bring a whole house together — there is a reason you can bring the rug back within 30 days! There is so much that goes into rugs, especially when you can pick out any rug you want. You’ll know. Don’t rush it. It’s a beautiful thing when you find the right rug. It’s a satisfying experience.
GFF: At the end of the day, what is the main takeaway that you want customers to experience after buying a rug from Green Front?
DC: Every time we get a container of rugs in, people want to come in and SEE it. Feel it. Touch it. Experience it. That’s part of the beauty of hand-knotted, handmade rugs. No two are exactly alike. But I do, ultimately, want people to feel that, although their rug is an investment, it’s an attainable luxury. I believe the rug guide will give people the confidence to make that purchase in an informed way. Hopefully, your rug looks great and makes your house look awesome. We spend a lot of time and money in and on our homes. No one wants to buy a rug and feel like they overpaid. We want to sell hundreds of rugs all the time and make a lot of people happy. At the end of the day, we want a win-win situation for everyone.