As Cocoon Fine Rugs marks a decade in the Indian luxury market, creating handmade designs for clients across the globe, LuxeBook traces Founder Ayush Choudhary’s entrepreneurial journey and discusses the drastically changed home décor industry with him.
Known for beautiful designs — a combination of ornamental elements from classical carpets and contemporary abstraction — impressive finesse and impeccable craftsmanship, Cocoon Fine Rugs, the luxury label that creates and sells Indian handmade carpets, is celebrating its decade-long run this year.
In March, the brand that has collaborated with the likes of designers JJ Valaya and Ashiesh Shah opened its fourth outlet in Jaipur. The three other stores are in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata, which have serviced clients such as Hrithik Roshan, Karan Johar, Aditya Roy Kapur and Reliance Industries and many others from the US, Canada and Peru, with fine carpets ranging from Rs50,000 to Rs4,10,000.
The beginning of this success story, is, in parts predictable and in parts surprising. Cocoon Fine Rugs’ 34-year-old Founder Ayush Choudhary’s father Vimal Choudhary was also into the export driven carpet business. As a child, the junior Choudhary would accompany his father to meet traditional artisans in Rajasthan and Gujarat, and, by default, developed an eye for fine, handmade rugs. It was expected that Choudhary would join his father’s business, but he went to the US, in 2008 to pursue a degree in electrical engineering. He soon realized that it wasn’t his calling.
The same year, while Ayush was in his hometown, Jaipur, he saw a promising business opportunity in the carpet space. Back then, most Indian hand-made products were exported and reimported to the country. They were rarely available in India, says Choudhary. So, Indian clients bought made-inIndia rugs from abroad at double the price. Choudhary decided to change this. While pursuing finance and marketing from UK’s London School of Economics, in 2009 he launched Cocoon Fine Rugs, for those who seek a piece of art for their homes and offices.
Over the next ten years, he didn’t just open four art-gallery like stores but also the won Elle Deco International Design award in 2018 for the JJ Valaya collaboration, the German Design award for Outstanding Design Quality in Home Textiles and Home Accessories for the Chand LC line in association with Ashiesh Shah in early 2019. “We want people to view carpets as pieces of art,” says Ayush, adding that sometimes the process of making the rug, from a sketch to the final product, takes almost a year. Every weaver family creates a unique story, and Choudhary likes it that way. At Cocoon, you will seldom find the same design in two houses.
Their creations are inspired by abstract paintings, architecture, photography and even textiles like Ikat and Batik. Additionally, they also make limited-edition collections with leading designers. Ashiesh Shah’s Chand LC collection portrays a blend of mid century patterns and motifs from the iconic buildings of Chandigarh, JJ Valaya’s Isfahan collection takes inspiration from the oldest city in Persia, the Baroque Garden collection by Varun Bahl and the Tessellations graphic collection by Rooshad Shroff, inspired by the beautiful flooring patterns of heritage Indian bungalows, are some of the exclusive projects that Cocoon has launched over the years.
Cocoon Fine Rugs’ artistic endeavours and the willingness to customise their work for clients have won hearts across the world. A Peruvian client had bought and shipped multiple carpets from the brand all the way to her house in South America. A Brazilian client had ordered a customised rug that looked like the popular, beach-side Copacabana Promenade from his native place Rio de Janeiro, for his home in Miami. And clients from the US and Canada frequently buy from Cocoon Fine Rugs, sometimes even wait for a year to avail the rug of their choice.
The label believes that its rugs must connect with their respective buyers, and lets clients spend some time with the rug, before finalising the sale. “I think that a rug is like an extension of one’s style and personality. It is important to feel right about it as one usually lives with it for years.”
Along with an offline expansion, the brand is also strengthening its online presence to reach out to a younger clientele. “It’s of great importance to have a social media strategy, tailored specifically for your brand,” says Choudhary. “Social media platforms have helped us connect with the younger, new generation audience, which we couldn’t do earlier.” Choudhary believes that the online world gives the brand the freedom to
create customized content, and it is one of the quickest ways to showcase new products.
Social media has also opened people’s worlds and influenced their tastes and aesthetics. In the past ten years, the home décor and carpet industry have experienced phenomenal growth. It’s a complete revolution, says Choudhary. Homes, over the years, have become modern and extensions of people’s personalities. People today want rugs that are modern and edgy with subtle, pastel colour palettes. “Keeping up with these trends has been one of our key strengths and we have enjoyed the transition process.”
Moreover, online shopping is becoming big, making home décor one of the most popular and growing segments. “We receive a lot of enquiries these days on our website, which wasn’t the case earlier.” Customisation has become an important valueadd service. “Customers want to be a part of the design process.”