Samad: A Family Affair
It’s been almost 30 years since brothers David and Malcolm started Samad – a family owned and operated rug business. Based in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Samad produces and imports handmade carpets and rugs that are distributed throughout the United States, Canada and Europe via trade showrooms, boutique rug stores and fine furniture stores.
Born and raised in London, David and Malcolm also have two siblings – Jack and Margaret – who run Samad’s London office and handle the European side of the company. Although the four siblings are fourth generation rug merchants, Samad is not a continuation of their father’s business. David and Malcolm started Samad in the United States completely on their own.
“Growing up I always went to work with my father during the summers and everything he did was fascinating to me, said David. “He was a broker of Persian rugs in the City of London. The rugs were warehoused in the Port of London Authority, a bonded facility that used to be a Prison back in the days of Clive of India. It was said that the walls were ten feet thick and buyers would come from all over the world to purchase rugs. At the age of ten years old, I must confess, I fell in love with rugs and have been held captive, (forgive the pun) to their beauty ever since.”
From the U.K. to the U.S.
Before Samad was established in the States, David worked for a reputable British rug company for eight years and often visited the United States on business, which allowed him to gain knowledge about the American market.“My father would tell me not to come into the small family business but to join a large firm where I would have an opportunity to learn by my mistakes” David said. America was the place to be, so in 1983 David left his UK position and moved to New York City becoming an independent rug agent. This meant traveling extensively to China and India to buy carpets for other importers who were reluctant to travel. In 1985 David convinced Malcolm to move to the United States as well and in 1987 the brothers relocated their headquarters to New Jersey.
“We started with very little and came to America like many immigrants before us, for the opportunity to build a business and in our case to manufacture the best carpets in the world – it was true then and it’s still true now,” David noted. “We will always be grateful to America for allowing us to dream big.”
Samad’s New Jersey headquarters in East Rutherford, NJ houses it’s 34,000 square-foot showroom/warehouse and is approximately 10 miles west of New York City. While Malcolm primarily handles the financial side of the business and orders the rugs, David spends most of his time traveling and interacting with the customers. He has traveled to 66 countries and has flown over five million miles.
“For the last 25 years Malcolm and I have shared the buying experience in India and I think we are most productive when we are together,” David explained. “We have worked hard to get here and as a result our business has continued to grow.”
Importance of Relationships
When designing and creating rugs, David attributes Samad’s success to “having great relationships with great manufacturers.”
He added, “Firstly you have to design beautiful rugs before the weavers can weave their magic. Design has become so sophisticated in the last 10 years because you’re dealing with textures, interplay of wool and silk, assorted types of yarns and color pallets. The creativity comes together by using very talented people and we have aligned ourselves with very talented people.”
According to David Samad, “Thousands of hands are involved in each rug produced and our goal is to create beautiful carpets that will last the test of time,” he said. “It takes nine months to create these rugs so, in a sense, they are our babies. They get passed down through generations – they are masterpieces to be enjoyed by future generations.”
Although David spends a lot of time traveling, he always finds time to interact with his employees – some of whom have been working with Samad for over 20 years. “The biggest compliment is when our customer’s tell us what a pleasure it is to deal with Samad. We are what we are only because of our team of dedicated employees.” He said.
David credits his and Malcolm’s success to having passion, working hard and always looking to improve. He concluded, “The sky’s the limit when it comes making works of art for the floor.”