It’s with a great pleasure that I start sharing interesting stories with artists and entrepreneurs on my blog. While checking my Instagram feed (free hugs if you can show me some love by following my Instagram page), I stumbled upon Oriental rugs shop owner Camilla who is surrounded by rugs like the princess. So how she managed to go from side-hustle to full-time entrepreneur? Let’s read below and take some inspiration from this girlboss!
I wanted to create something of my own. To redress tradition for a new generation. To show the younger generations in particular how cool oriental rugs really are. They’re regal, cultural and often classic in style, but just needed to be put into the context of today’s trends to bring to light how stylish they really are.
“Lilla Rugs”, a contemporary Oriental rugs studio owned by Camilla Ahwazian. She offers a modern perspective of classic Oriental rugs to the new generation.
“I have been surrounded by rugs my entire life. Every year we would go to Iran and travel around the different villages on the hunt for new beautiful rugs, with amazing stories. In 2000, we decided to move to Tehran, Iran for just over a year. This was mine and my siblings’ opportunity to learn Farsi, and generally to learn more about our culture, and where we’re from.”
Her parents, successful Oriental rugs wholesalers, would take her and her siblings wherever they traveled. This is why entrepreneurship fitted so well with her nomad lifestyle. When Camilla, half Scottish, half Iranian felt that she needed more than working for her parents, she decided to break the ice and open her oriental rug Etsy store “Lilla Rugs”. “I have been surrounded by rugs my entire life”, says Camilla. “Every year we would go to Iran and travel around the different villages on the hunt for new beautiful rugs, with amazing stories. In 2000, we decided to move to Tehran, Iran for just over a year. This was mine and my siblings’ opportunity to learn Farsi, and generally to learn more about our culture, and where we’re from”, shares her interesting early life experience Camilla.
Creative soul since childhood
Camilla has always been very creative throughout her entire childhood. She always had a fascination with homes, interiors, and beautiful spaces in general. Despite her creative soul, she graduated in History and American Studies. “I filled my creative needs in other ways, such as attending shoots for my parent’s business is stunning homes, and advising on their website development. I never wanted to work for my parents, but hadn’t really thought that I could create something of my own at this time”.
Uncertain about tomorrow and striving for creativity
After her graduation, Camilla spent 4 years working at an Advertising Agency because at the moment it felt right. People were young and laid-back. As Camilla says, “Though it is a creative industry, the work itself just wasn’t the right kind of creativity for me”. So to fill the void, she started and Instagram page posting interior inspiration and love for rugs. “Rugs have been in my life from day one. I remember sitting down with the families that weaved the village pieces as a child and chatting away to the other kids and mothers in particular. I learnt about the incredible stories and the amount of artistry and talent that goes into the weaving of Persian rugs in particular.”
The urge to create something for herself
“It was about a month into posting on my Instagram page that I realised there was something more in this. I had been looking at the family business in the wrong way. I didn’t want to join the fold, I wanted to create something of my own. To redress tradition for a new generation. To show the younger generations in particular how cool oriental rugs really are. They’re regal, cultural and often classic in style, but just needed to be put into the context of today’s trends to bring to light how stylish they really are”, says Camilla.
How the name “Lilla Rugs” was born…
“My little brother could never pronounce ‘Camilla’ when he was a baby, and instead, it came out as ‘Lilla’. I’m not sure why I chose to name the page this, it just felt natural! After some time, people started messaging me and asking where they could find the rugs. So, I decided to open an Etsy shop in February 2017.”
From side-hustle to full-time entrepreneur
Up until November 2017, Lilla Rugs was her side-hustle, the passion project. In November she took the decision that it would never become what she knew it could be unless the time was given to it. So, she decided to commit to selling rugs full-time and quit her job in Advertising. “Of course, this wasn’t an easy decision to make and was incredibly scary! But something about it just felt right.”
Advice for other creative entrepreneurs would be…
“If I could give any advice to those thinking of starting a business, I do highly recommend testing the waters on the side (if possible) at the beginning. It will give you the confidence in your idea that you need, both financially and practically. The other reason this was possible was because of my incredible support network. Yes, this was, of course, my friends and family, but I also became part of an amazing young entrepreneur group through ‘Escape the City’, that helped me make this decision. We still meet at least once a week.”
What’s on your nightstand that our readers could take some inspiration from?
The Working Woman’s Handbook, Phoebe Lovatt
The Girlfriend, Michelle Frances
And lastly, your advice decorating with rugs for our readers?
“The biggest challenge I see come up is when homeowners come to us at the very end of their decoration journey. When making a handmade rug part of a space, it needs to be considered one of the centrepieces of the room. If you are to pick something more traditional or antique, it’s near to impossible to make it work if you’ve already covered the walls in a busy wallpaper, for example.”
Discover Camilla’s website “Lilla Rugs”
Thumbs up on her Facebook page
Text: Aida Sniraite, Authentic Interior
Photography: Camilla Ahwazian
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What a great interview, thanks for sharing this with us! She seems like a really nice person.
Thank you Sean! Hope this article was useful for you!
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