Oriental Rugs of Bath Share Issue Empowers Afghani Trade-not-Aid

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Using the innovative Crowd Cube platform to sell shares to the public, Oriental Rugs of Bath has raised 16% of its target £30,000 in just 10 days, money that will help develop a UK fair-trade market for Afghani rug weavers.

A beautiful hand-made rug in your home means its Afghani weaver has a sustainable future

Oriental Rugs of Bath (ORB) has been trading in Argyle St, Bath – next to the historic Pulteney Bridge - for nearly two decades, selling hand-made rugs from Afghanistan, the Caucasus, China, India, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey; each rug a unique work of art.

William and Joy Pryor, who own the business, are now putting the Oriental Rugs of Bath brand on the national stage with the partnerships they have established with the trade-not-aid charities Arzu and Afghan Action.

Rug weaving and export have been thriving in Afghanistan for more than seven hundred years, but the wars of the last few decades threaten the viability of the one activity of which Afghans can be truly proud. Both Arzu and Afghan Action are demonstrating that the way to lift young Afghanis out of a frightened dependency on aid is to give them the means to make a sustainable living working in and developing the country’s centuries-old rug-weaving tradition.

It costs money to develop the marketing that will take these rugs to a national audience. There’s a huge new website to complete and interior-designer agents to recruit using social networking and digital marketing. So William Pryor was excited when he came across Crowdcube with their innovative method of raising equity finance from ordinary people.

Oriental Rugs of Bath is becoming a social venture by selling rugs that actually help sustain young Afghanis while Crowdcube is as close as you can get to a social venture in the way it empowers ordinary people to invest anything from £100 to £5,000. So the fit is a hugely positive one.

Investors not only get to own shares in a profitable business that sells the all-natural, sustainable works of art that are hand-made rugs but the more someone invests the higher the discount they get off goods purchased from ORB.

“The fit between our development agenda and ORB’s can-do commercial spirit could not be closer,” said Chris Beales, founder of Afghan Action, “in buying our beautiful rugs for their homes ORB’s customers make a significant contribution to a positive future for Afghanistan.”

“Why not invest for a good return,” asks MD William Pryor, “whilst also helping Afghanistan to emerge from the dark?”

“We’re really excited that Oriental Rugs of Bath should choose Crowdcube to raise money for such an important social venture,” said Luke Lang of CrowdCube.

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William Pryor

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