“Women who support other women are confident, generous, visionaries.” –Mariela Dabbah
If you are searching for a story of empowerment, of a dream realized, we’ve got one for you. Designer Ashley Huffman has been shaking up the world of custom rugs and forging her own path on her own terms.
When we participated in the charity fundraiser, Design on a Dime, we reached out to Ashley asking if she would be willing to donate a custom rug for our living room vignette. She immediately accepted. And she didn’t donate just to Britto Charette. She donated to EIGHT design firms. That translates to tens of thousands of dollars-worth of product. Her generosity is borne from an inner belief that helping those in our community is important. “My favorite quote,” she says, “is by Helen Keller. ‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.’ I want to be a woman who makes a positive impact, who is an inspiration to others. Giving back to people in my community is a value of mine.”
Handknotted, handspun bamboo silk rug donated by CCR
Ashley’s generosity belies a kick-ass tenacity and some shrewd business skills—honed during years working on Wall Street. We sat down with Ashley to ask about her business and how she has managed its exponential growth.
BC: Tells us a little about your background and what led you to launch CCR.
ASHLEY: While working on Wall Street, I came across the wholesale luxury interior design industry and discovered there was a growing demand amongst designers and high-end furniture showrooms for wholesale custom rugs. It was a great niche market and perfect for me because I have a creative mind, so I founded Custom Couture Rugs in 2015. We import one-of-a-kind handmade area rugs from around the globe.
“Fall” by CCR
“Branches” by CCR
BC: What has been the most challenging aspect of owning your own business?
ASHLEY: Managing exponential growth in sales has been a blessing. Because we treat each client as if they are our only client, it has required patience in selecting team members who align both with the culture of Custom Couture Rugs and with our values and mission for providing excellence to each of our special and unique clients.
BC: Unique challenges as a woman-owned company?
ASHLEY: Breaking in a new pair of stilettos! If you can conquer that, you can conquer anything! (laughs) Although I once served as a Wall Street professional, I have found a great deal of respect working with interior designers and leaders of luxury furniture showrooms. They are very respectful and professional and they’re comfortable creating, designing, and building partnerships and brands with us.
“Coral” by CCR
“Connections” by CCR
BC: What can clients expect from CCR?
ASHLEY: We provide a hands-on approach to our clients by working alongside them to create unique, handmade rugs. By working hand-in-hand with top designers, we remain cutting-edge and set trends in modern and contemporary styles and coloration. No matter how big the vision or how complex the creative conquest.
We also offer rug cleaning, restoration, repair, pet odor and stain removal by highly specialized technicians and master weavers. They complete all services by hand to ensure quality for each precious rug.
I am really proud of our distinctive rugs—all of which include materials sourced to provide the highest quality products. Our manufacturing is competitive with more rapid production and delivery timeframes than industry average so that means we’re able to deliver extraordinary customer service.
BC: How/Where do you source materials and manufacture the rugs?
ASHLEY: Our custom rugs are manufactured by hand on looms in Nepal, India, and Italy. We employ over 700 artisans in seven factories.
I can’t emphasize enough how important sourcing is. We are committed to finding the best materials on offer so we really do travel the world to find them. We source wild silk; wool from New Zealand and Mongolia; nettle from elevated regions of the Himalayan Mountains because it possesses the perfect balance of luster and natural plant-like feel; and handspun silk from India because of its sustainability, softness, and durability. Our lurex is a soft metal that is hand woven to add luxury and sparkle to any of our custom rugs. This is imported from India and the REAL gold strands are mined in Uzbekistan.
Plus, we source cactus, hemp, jute, sisal, and linen. We also source synthetic materials for durability in high traffic areas, making our rugs excellent for commercial applications. And ALL materials are completely customizable in color and quality. We have over 10,000 vegetable-dye colors and growing! And we also have a fun and soft collection of faux furs.
BC: What innovations in floor covering are you most enamored with?
ASHLEY: Just last weekend at the corporate headquarters of Velcro ™, I met with an executive engineer to discuss our latest innovation which is scheduled to launch in the second quarter of 2018…STAY TUNED!
BC: What trend in couture rugs do you predict for 2018-2019?
ASHLEY: Machine-made rugs can appear similar in design to custom handmade rugs, but there is no comparison in quality. I think the trend for purchasing quality handmade rugs will continue to increase.
BC: Any advice for up-and-coming designers and entrepreneurs like yourself?
ASHLEY: Find a mentor. You’ll need someone to assist you in scaling for growth—especially if growth is sudden and exponential as it was for us. Be a student of the specialty. Keep learning. Although I obtained my MBA, I am currently continuing my education at Harvard University in Harvard Business School Executive Leadership Programs. Grasp how many hours will be necessary in order for your business to succeed.
And remember that you need to give back and to acknowledge the people who help you. I want to recognize my very first client, Krista Watterworth, for believing in me and launching my business. I also want to acknowledge my team: Adam Sinai, art director; Gary Farina, manager of white glove deliveries and installations; Aaron Faulken, installer; Nicholas Farina, installer; and Lexi Tatum, our lead business development account representative.
You’ll find Ashley’s work in LUXE magazine, Elle Décor, HOUZZ, Wayfair.com, and Entrepreneurship.
CUSTOM COUTURE RUGS is located at
1300 Stirling Road Suite 9A
Dania Beach, FL 33004