An interview with Erika Kurtz

Based in Wilmington, Delaware, the rug company runs alongside high-end furniture showroom The Kurtz Collection, which showcases an impressive range of fine rugs and an eclectic mix of furniture and accessories. Here Erika Kurtz talks about New Moon's signature style and the company's drive for producing unique handmade designs.

Question: Who does the designing and what are the biggest influences on the rug designs?

Erika Kurtz: "I do most of the designing these days, although John still imparts his wisdom on most of what we create and still works on special designs. With my family's long-standing experience and love for antique rugs combined with our passion for modern art, I think we do a good job at offering an eclectic mix of styles and colours to service just about any aesthetic. Our parents have always instilled in us an appreciation of antiques and unique design and I think that is the driving force in our design inspiration. We also gather a lot of inspiration from our global travels and adventures. The world is so full of unique and exciting colours and patterns."

How would you define New Moon's signature style?

"I think our Classic Collection is quintessential New Moon and I would say that it is easily recognisable and distinct. The collection features more transitional motifs, rugs with borders. We have always loved making quirky, one-off pieces as well. Many people don't know that we have also been making very modern and southwest inspired designs since the company's inception. I believe our Mesa Collection is really the first in the industry to make these Southwest-inspired designs in our traditional Tibetan pile weave."

Founded by a painter, is a handmade element in the rug designs important for your brand?

"Yes! The majority of the designs in the rug world today are designed and graphed on a computer. There are not many of us left producing designs and graphs by hand but it is an important distinction. Computer-generated graphs don't always have the artistry that you can get from drawing something by hand. That is not to say that we do not use the computer for anything, this is after all the digital age, but the majority of what we design and graph is still done 100% by hand."

How do original designs develop into a rug at New Moon?

"Most of our new designs start as watercolour paintings or sketches. We draw out unique elements and then figure out how to piece them together into something beautiful. We often start with one important element and then figure out how we can build a rug around it."

What do you believe it is that makes a New Moon rug unique?

"I think the two most important distinctions for our company is that all of our rugs are made under socially responsible working conditions using the best possible construction and materials available on the market - no short cuts or compromises. That, paired with our unique hand-drawn designs, helps us offer the most exclusive and genuinely boutique production. Producing our pieces in small batches allows us to constantly evolve and change to stay fresh."

Do annual interior trends impact your rug designs?

"There are always obvious colour trends that consumers demand so I think that to some extent you need to hit on some of these points in order to stay relevant to a larger audience. But that is only a small portion of what we do, our real passion is to create designs that are truly distinctive and unique, and see who might respond to them - setting a new trend rather than to following one."

What is the aesthetic behind The Kurtz Collection?

"The Kurtz Collection really began back in the 1970's. My father has always travelled the world collecting unique objects to sell and trade. We opened our 16,000 square foot store back in 2010 in order to showcase better what we have always done. This space allows us to highlight all of our vintage and antique offers while pairing them with some of the more unique contemporary furniture and home decor brands. We really are a full service-design shop with Josephine leading the helm and guiding our interior design business. We recently expanded our product offerings with the introduction of our New Moon pillow collection. We took some of our best selling rug designs and re-designed them to fit the pillow format. We are working to expand this offering over the next few years with new fabrics and patterns."

What are the important shows outside of the US for New Moon?

"DOMOTEX has been our go-to trade show in the past few years to reach a more international audience. We find that traveling internationally to meet with potential clients in person often has more impact."

How do you see the brand developing in the next five years?

"I think to stay relevant you have to be constantly pushing the envelope with new designs and t~chniques. We are always thin-king about how we can expand our design offerings or add different products to our mix. Rugs are and always will be the basis of what we do - where we have come from and where we are going."