In 1979, Abraham Moradzadeh opened his first showroom on La Cienega, called Abraham Oriental Rugs. The L.A. wholesaler mainly sold antique rugs to visiting dealers from around the world. Forty years later, the family-owned business has a new name—Woven—and a newly remodeled 10,000-square-foot showroom in the city’s design district.
The showroom, which officially reopened this fall in its existing Melrose Avenue location, is much more in line with the brand’s ever-evolving ethos. “When I joined the business in 2005, we were still mainly wholesaling antique rugs,” explains Sam Moradzadeh, Woven’s CEO and creative director. “I was just continuing with what my father started, but soon began to notice there was a lot of interest in contemporary rugs.” More than anything, the younger Moradzadeh wanted to create a line of new rugs to complement the brand’s antique selection. It was at that point the company slowly began to rebrand, changing its name to Woven Accents.
So how did a wholesaler transform into a high-end rug company specced by the likes of Robert Stilin, Kelly Wearstler, and Martyn Lawrence Bullard (who put them in Kylie Jenner’s home)? It comes down to a gradual bicoastal expansion, a savvy rebranding, and a few smart partnerships developed by Moradzadeh.
“I didn’t think I’d be as involved in the designing aspect,” Moradzadeh says of his own trajectory. “I’m more business-minded, but this really opened up a creative side in me that I didn’t know I had.” By 2016, the brand had a Manhattan showroom and its own rug line, Studio Woven, with six collections of contemporary styles on offer. “That’s when we decided to do a full rebrand,” Moradzadeh says. In 2017 the company shortened its name to Woven and began focusing more on in-house designs. “It’s about evolving this family business into something forward-thinking, while still being a viable industry leader,” he adds.
One way that Moradzadeh repositioned the brand was by forging a relationship with Design Within Reach in 2015. “I reached out to John Edelman, the CEO at the time, and said, ‘You guys have amazing furniture and pieces, but your rugs aren’t up to par—I think I can help with that,'” he recalls. Since then, Woven has produced five designs with DWR. “We were able to offer them a high-quality product—they’re all hand-knotted rugs of 100 percent natural fibers, and not machine-made,” adds Danielle Barr, Woven’s president. “It’s a product that can stand up to their furniture, and last someone a lifetime.” While Woven-designed rugs offered through DWR are priced, on average, between $40 and $60 per square foot, their Studio Woven–developed rugs—favored by A-list decorators—can cost as much as around $200 per square foot.
The brand has recently figured out how to translate its fine quality to a high-traffic hospitality setting, as evidenced by Woven’s recent and ongoing partnership with Kelly Wearstler on the Proper Hotels chain. “Kelly had a vintage rug she wanted to re-create for Proper,” says Barr. “We were able to source something in a hand-knotted 100% wool with that same vintage feel, and produce it in mass quantities and within price constraints.” Woven has made rugs for about 300 rooms in the Santa Monica and soon-to-open Austin outposts of the brand, and more for the Proper’s downtown L.A. location, opening in the coming months.
Moradzadeh feels the commission is only fitting. “It’s really the experience of working with DWR and the weavers we met that gave us the ability to do the rugs for Proper,” he says. “It opened up a whole new market for us. It’s not as though we’re looking to open up a hospitality section, it’s more about relationships with our clients and creating something together as opposed to having a catalogue of items to choose from.” That emphasis on collaboration means a lot of bespoke orders, which account for some 30 percent of Woven’s business.
As it has changed focus, the brand has held on to its antiques arm, offering a range of styles both online and in its showrooms. And it’s still a family enterprise, with Sam’s brother, Ben, serving as the wholesale director, and their father very much involved. “My father is still buying antique rugs and he’s still here every day,” Moradzadeh says.
But the CEO expects the spirit of change to continue. For starters, the rug company is weaving some of the magic of its L.A. flagship into the existing NYC outpost. “We’re in the middle of plastering the walls in New York to emulate the walls we have in Los Angeles,” explains Barr. “Texture is a big part of the design of rugs, and having texture on the walls really spoke to us.” Woven’s team is also taking its first steps to global expansion. “The next market we’re looking at is London,” says Moradzadeh. “We have a very good client base there.”