Read as Nima Soltani, the only Persian Master Weaver in the US, talks about his career in the rug business. You can find Nima and his business at www.passionofpersia.com and on his Twitter feed in the sidebar of this interview.
What do you do for a living?
I am a Persian Master Weaver, and the president of Passion of Persia, which sells and services fine rugs. I am the only Persian Master Weaver living and working in the United States.
How would you describe what you do?
At Passion of Persia, we restore and clean fine rugs from around the world to their original, valuable conditions. We have experience in cleaning up to five hundred year old rugs and performing what others consider “impossible” repairs. We also have an extensive fine rug collection, including many rare, hard to find, rugs.
What does your work entail?
My work is equal parts customer service and servicing rugs. Customer satisfaction is the top priority for Passion of Persia; if the customer isn’t satisfied then the job isn’t finished.
What’s a typical work week like?
One of the aspects about my job that I love is how each day, and each week, is different. Generally, I am busy either meeting with customers, or working with the rugs themselves, whether hand dying work or silk, repairing or hand cleaning customers’ rugs. But no two weeks are the same. There are weeks where I’m really busy in an insurance defense case providing expert opinions on the value of damaged rugs, or I may be flying out to provide my expertise to a customer in another state. I’m also always looking for rare, fine rugs to add to our collection.
How did you get started?
When I finished my tour with the U.S. Marines, I decided to pursue the legacy passed down from grandfather to my father to myself. I am a 3rd generation Master Weaver. I studied at prestigious universities in Iran, and also apprenticed with well-known Master Weaver families before working for rug companies in the United States.
What do you like about what you do?
My favorite thing about my job is the people. I love educating my customers about their rugs, and the Persian culture. It’s always wonderful to tell a customer that the rug they bought two decades ago on a whim is actually very valuable now. Also, the look on their face when they see how I’ve restored their fine rugs, even antiques, to their original condition is pretty priceless.
What do you dislike?
Sometimes people don’t understand how complicated, and time and labor intensive the rug repair process is. I hand-dye all of my wool and silk to provide exact color matching, and use the same methods as the original weaver of the rug. Each rug requires unique care, and this can take time.
How do you make money/or how are you compensated?
Each job is individually quoted based upon the materials required, and the time involved. Our customers range widely from well-known museums and wealthy rug collectors to someone who inherited their grandmother’s Turkish and Navajo rug, and own only one. For a price quote visit us online at www.passionofpersia.com and fill out the form that found on the bottom of the page.
How much money do Master Weavers make?
Master weavers make 80k to 50 million. Master Weavers have a very comfortable living.
How much money did/do you make starting out as a Weaver?
As with any sole proprietor, it can take some time to build up a solid customer base. However, once the customer base is established, you can very well.
What education, schooling, or skills are needed to do this?
The qualifications necessary to become a Master Weaver vary with each in country. In Persia, you must study that curriculum at one of the Universities and apprentice with a Master Weaver family. Someone in America will eventually need to apprentice in a country like Turkey or Persia, but, to begin with, in the United States, they could work with a business that provides rug services and start to develop their skills.
What is most challenging about what you do?
Dying textiles for exact color matching; it’s a pain-staking process that involves some trial and error, and requires a great deal of patience.
What is most rewarding?
Restoring an antique rug to its original, beautiful condition, and sharing my love of rugs with others.
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
You should be comfortable working with textiles, and love rugs.
How much time off do you get/take?
3 months out of the year
What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
That we only service rugs. We commonly clean and repair animal rugs, and can also repair old paintings. At Passion of Persia, we can repair anything that is handmade.
What are your goals/dreams for the future?
My plan is to have a location in every state one day.
What else would you like people to know about your job/career?
I can be contacted directly at 602 374 6973, or more information about Passion of Persia can be found at www.passionofpersia.com