Have you ever noticed that wherever you go there are carpet stores? This is because good tapestries are a valuable commodity.

Living here in Cotacachi we are surrounded by carpet weavers and I have noticed something happening.

Here is one of the really wonderful carpets woven nearby.

Here is what I have seen. Dollarization in Ecuador means that Ecuador can no longer compete at the low end of the market. Now their carpets are getting better and rising in value. They are introducing tighter weaves, much richer and greater varieties of patterns.

Otavalo is one of the most important and spectacular textile markets in all of Latin America.

Otavalo Indians have been textile makers for nearly a millennium even before the Incan invasion. Under Incan rule the town grew in importance and after the Spanish conquest, Rodrigo de Salazar set up a large weaving workshop. By the mid-1500’s it employed hundreds of workers and was the largest colonial carpet maker in South America.

The textile boom grew in the 1960’s, when Otavalo was introduced to weaving techniques introduced from Scotland. New materials were added such as cashmere and alpaca.

Another nearby weaving village is Peguche. This village is far less prominent and less known but the better carpets now seem to be made there. All the photos at this site are from Peguche.

Here is a weaver in Peguche

This upgrading of quality creates a new business opportunity.

Carpet weaving has a long history that goes to the roots of ancient civilization. Good tapestries have always been considered a luxury item and, in earlier times, were commissioned by the Church, royalty and the very wealthy.

Why Carpets?

* Carpets are art
* Carpets are interior decorations
* Carpets tell a story

Tapestry as art has an inherent value from the uniqueness of its design, the hand-made quality of its workmanship and its permanence in time. They have been valued as investments because they can go anywhere. Unlike other forms of art, where weight, size or fragility preclude transport, tapestry is easily moved.

Rugs exporting can be solid business because unsold inventory can increase in value. Barron’s noted the recent trend in increase in the value of Persian Rugs of fine quality. In the last two years, the Wall Street Journal confirmed that there were fewer fine examples of Persian rugs on the market than earlier and Business Week stated that the Oriental rugs’ price has increased 1000% over the previous ten years.

This suggests that alternative supplies (such as good Ecuadorian carpets) will develop.

The article in Barron’s went on to observe that several investment syndicates were reported to have started buying rugs in the 1960s. One syndicate, operating in Europe, evaluated its holdings in Oriental rugs at $9 Million in 1986. The net worth of these holdings is estimated to be worth over $200 Million in 1998.

There many stories about fortunes being made with rugs. that have been. One is of a carpet that languished with a $300 price tag in a New Orleans antique shop for many years, before someone recognized its value and sold it for $23,000.

However this is a rare event and carpets should be bought as collectibles only by experienced collectors.

The most common sources of rugs is dealers and most buyers buy retail and sell wholesale. A fair retail price is typically around twice the wholesale price.

This means that the best way to make money in rugs is as a wholesaler. To do this buy from the weavers at source.

As Ecuadorian rugs evolve new markets can be developed. Weavers can become better known and famous. Exporters can become promoters of these higher quality rugs so this may be a good time to become an expert in buying and exporting Ecuador carpets as a business.

Here are some more Peguche carpets.

Learn how to earn anywhere you travel. See beautiful sights and carpets. Learn how to have everlasting wealth. Join Merri and me and our Ecuador Import-Export Expedition.