Obeetee unites traditional artistry with modern solutions to social and environmental challenges.
Founded in 1920, Obeetee is India's leading producer of hand-knotted, hand-tufted and flat-woven rugs. As one of the country's largest and most reputable exporters, Obeetee works with roughly 20,000 independent Indian artisans and other employees. Based on the large numbers of people they employ, Obeetee claims responsibility for the well-being of more than 100,000 men, women and children. Socially and environmentally, Obeetee's practices are the gold standard in the industry. "We have two customers—Room & Board and the villages in which we work. By helping them, we help the company," says Rudra Chatterjee, chairman.
Although rug-making is a traditionally male-dominated occupation, Obeetee believes women should have equal access to opportunities. That's why they created a program that trains women in weaving techniques, helps them balance training with their responsibilities at home and pays a daily stipend for the entire three-month session. More than 500 weavers have completed the program, which brings in new, skilled workers while also allowing women to gain skills for the future.
Obeetee is committed to enhancing educational opportunities for the children of their employees. Through Pratham learning camps, children in more than 40 villages receive education beyond their local schools. Obeetee pays for the children of weavers to attend Pratham, saying, "We know where the kids are and they're not at the looms," says Rudra, recognizing that education is key to a bright future.
The company also champions smart environmental practices. Obeetee was the first in its industry to set up water treatment plants and air pollution control systems in India. In fact, the rice paddy behind the factory is irrigated with treated water from the rug washing process. And the factory runs on fuel from locally farmed rice husks, rather than oil or gas. The company also invented a special washing machine that produced a 90% reduction in water usage from traditional ways. "Washing carpets by a machine has been very production friendly. This is an industry first by Obeetee. The water discharged is free from chemicals and hence is re-used in washing rugs manually," explains Rudra.
“These innovations didn’t happen in a day. They are the result of decades of process improvements. We’re always looking to do better.”
We're proud to work with Obeetee to bring you beautiful rugs made in traditional ways coupled with the company's responsible practices.