Katrin ten Eikelder hit on the idea for her label while she was in New York, working as a business development manager for a German fashion company. "In New York, I saw oriental rugs in modern settings – beautiful hand-made originals of the kind that were no longer so popular in Germany". So she put together a plan to rekindle the love of oriental carpets in Germany and headed to Berlin, where she founded The Knots in 2014. "My father is a registered expert in oriental rugs and continues to give me the benefit of his expertise to this very day", ten Eikelder says, noting that he was very receptive to her project right from the outset. "But my family background played no role in developing my business idea".
Oriental vintage rugs with a hint of New York
"My branding and communication differ from those of conventional rug dealers", ten Eikelder explains. "My aim is to give hand-made rugs a new image – to highlight their quality and sustainability aspects while positioning them in a fresh, young context". In Berlin's central Mitte district she operates a showroom that prospective buyers can view by prior arrangement, but for the most part she sells online, in keeping with the shopping habits of her label's young and urban target market. "I value fair trade and working with small producers whom I know personally. I like to know where my products come from". She also attaches great value to the long-term satisfaction of her customers, which is why The Knots is synonymous with long-lasting products made 100 percent from natural materials, such as cotton, alpaca wool and sheep wool. Each of her vintage rugs has a serial number and bears a name that references New York in some way. The Knots stands apart from conventional carpet and rug brands, as evidenced by the advertising claim, "Unique carpets picked with love", which puts a premium on product individuality. If you go to the label's website, the first thing you’ll see is a slideshow of vintage carpets spread out on an urban sidewalk. Katrin ten Eikelder herself actually features in some of the product photos – a reflection of her close personal association with the brand. The website also has a journal containing stories and styling tips on how to get the best out of oriental carpets.