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Rugs on a Mission

Rugs on a Mission
Growing from small beginnings in Adelaide to now having global outlets in Australia, New Zealand and America, Armadillo co-founders Jodie Fried and Sally Pottharst have made sure that their thriving business has stayed faithful to the commitment of producing low carbon footprint rugs whilst supporting the artisans who make them. They are a leading example of a fair-trade business - with 9am – 5pm working hours and fair wages for the artisans. In 2017 they founded The Armadillo & Co Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation with the sole mission of enhancing and improving the lives of underprivileged communities through the provision of educational, health and community structures.

A&Co’s rugs feature in style publications all over the world as the movement for considered, humane and eco-friendly design grows. We sat down with the A&Co state manager for Victoria and Tasmania, Kim Sun-Ho, to chat about rugs, styling and the joys of following your instinct.

  1. We hear the word “handmade” a lot in the rug world. Can you clarify the difference of a tufted rug and a knotted rug?

Although technically both are made by hand, that is where the similarity ends. Both the time and skill level required to make a Hand Knotted Rug is vastly different from that of a Hand Tufted Rug.

Hand Tufting is done by punching strands of wool with the help of a hand-held tool into a canvas that is stretched onto a frame. Once completed, the rug is removed from the frame and a scrim fabric is glued to the back. To finish, a fringe can be glued or sewn on.

A hand Knotted Rug will out perform and out last a Hand Tufted rug thanks to the skill and time taken to produce it. For this reason, on average a Hand Knotted Rug will be more expensive. A weaver could tie 10,000 knots a day with an average size rug having as many 1,000,000 knots.

  1. When buying a rug, a lot of people are concerned with having colours and textures that sit harmoniously in a space. There is a common conception that a rug needs to either match or compliment the colours and patterns in a room. What do you look for when matching a rug to a space…and what do you think are the “exceptions to the rule”?

A rug will finish a room so it is important to make the right decision. Ultimately you want the rug to compliment other furnishings within the room be that by colour or a texture! Our colour palette is generally neutral with colours that are taken from nature (be that a landscape or hues from natural stones).

For me I like to see a contrast between the rug and furniture (light sofa – darker rug or vice versa) this way each piece will be a stand out. There are no real rules to what is right or wrong, rather just what looks right for you!

  1. When styling a room in your home, is there something you usually start with? A rug? A piece of furniture you love? The light and architecture?

At home we are pretty unconventional in the way we have done things. The priority for us is comfort, having been with my partner for 20 years, we have collected pieces we love over the years without really thinking “is this going to work with what we already have” it all just seems to work. At least in my head it does! Personally I don’t like a look that is all of the same style – it’s great to mix pieces and styles that suit your personality.

  1. The new rug launch incorporates some really unique textures whilst keeping a peaceful and natural colour pallet. Can you tell us what excites you the most about this new range?

I love that we had such a large collection to release this year. There is the new hand knotted Jute which has such a beautiful texture and will become softer and more supple with use. Then there were the new colour additions to the Savannah ‘Dust’ & ‘Carbon’ which has always been a favourite with its texture of high and low piles giving a sense of movement. I love that our Team continue to come up with new styles using new techniques and the beautiful natural fibres that we are known for.  

  1. What is the most satisfying part of your job?

For me it would be working for a company where what you do directly benefits so many families and their lives.

I had the opportunity to travel to India last year to see first hand how we support those who give so much to us. To say that it was inspiring doesn’t seem enough, seeing the opportunities that are provided for the children of our weavers is something that will stay with me for a very long time.

To read more about Armadillo&Co please visit

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