We had the good fortune of connecting with Lauren Harb and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lauren, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
For me the business came before the plan, and before any real thought process. I had a really positive and exciting experience traveling to Morocco, and in all the excitement of negotiating in the souks, bought more rugs than I had the space for at home. I began casually selling them on my Instagram to friends and friends of friends and quickly realized there was an opportunity for creative fulfillment and a real “business.”
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I sell a unique selection of Moroccan rugs and home decor, made by hand in women’s cooperatives in Morocco. I also design my own in-house line of rugs made by a family of hand-weavers in India that have been in business for generations. When it comes to buying Moroccan rugs, I think of myself and my business as a bridge between two cultures. It can be intimidating and overwhelming when first considering a Moroccan rug, and I love being a part of the process for my customers. I think part of what sets me apart is that in addition to selling rugs, I’m super accessible via dm or email to help with design decisions, tips and any other information someone might need to make a good decision for the space. I love the consultation and design aspect as much as I love selling these one of a kind pieces. I think my customers appreciate the connection and the old school customer service, which is about building a long term relationship rather than a one-time sale. For me, it’s ultra rewarding to have relationships with my customers and to help them fill their homes with works of art. My customers also know when they’re supporting my business, they’re supporting a first generation Palestinian woman as well as helping native Amazigh women make a living and preserve a long-held tradition.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am born and raised in LA so it would be hard to fit it all in, but I’d do my best! Most people would go straight from the airport to In-N-Out—no shade but I’d take them to Falafel Arax in Little Armenia for the best shawarma in town. We’d do a little thrifting in the valley, grab an early drink at my favorite bar in town—Lolo (maybe we’d make this a regular resting point throughout the week), and we’d be sure to eat at Anajak Thai in Sherman Oaks which has the best wine program and also the most delicious fried chicken. I’d take them salsa dancing at El Floridita and we’d have to spend a day in Malibu swimming and reading on the beach. For super fresh house made bread, hummus, tabbouleh and more we’d grab takeout from Al Cazar before doing a little vintage shopping on Ventura Blvd. If we had a few days to spare we’d take a drive to either Palm Springs or Valle de Guadalupe for a break from the city.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This business wouldn’t exist without the incredibly talented and hardworking Amazigh women who make the rugs by hand, using decades of tradition and so much creativity to make each piece. I cannot take for granted that without the women’s cooperatives set up by the Moroccan government, the long-standing tradition of hand making rugs rich with Amazigh symbolism would be in danger of extinction. For those unfamiliar, Amazigh are indigenous people native to North Africa, including but not limited to Morocco.
Jasmine Safaeian Lauren Harb Amber Ajluni