The Afghan Rug Shop is a local small business based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, which extends its support for the local community all the way to the local community of its suppliers in Afghanistan.
James Wilthew served in Afghanistan in 2004 where he built a close relationship with the locals and a rug trader in particular. Upon returning to England, James set up the Afghan Rug Shop which is the only shop in England which sells these unique handmade rugs, alongside other high quality handmade items. Having forged a strong relationship with the locals in Afghanistan, James was keen to ensure fairtrade remained at the heart of the business so they could also benefit from their exports. The Afghan Rug Shop is the only UK retailer accredited with a Label-STEP licence for fairtrade rugs. They support the local weaving community through fair wages and working conditions, medical care and business advice to further help the weavers grow their own businesses and support their own families. They were also highly commended at the Soldering on Awards, Business of the Year: Community Impact category.
‘Small businesses in particular are often established with a social purpose at their core. Whether you are supporting the local business in your area or supporting locals internationally, being able to give something back to the local community alongside running a successful business is truly admirable and something more businesses should seek to incorporate into their entrepreneurial efforts’, said Ren Kapur, CEO of X-Forces Enterprise.