Chatting with Ann Pruce
I got to know Ann and the wonders of Classic Rug Care through the very lovely Jennifer Manners. We were designing a stunning bespoke rug which our clients wanted to install below their lovely dining table. With 2 little girls, it was important to my clients that their beautiful investment retained its beauty and was functional in its purpose. i.e. they didn’t want to have to worry if there was a little food / drink accident.
Hence, Jennifer recommended that we get the bespoke rug treated with a Microseal treatment by Classic Rug Care which would help prevent stains, should there be any accidents. Since then, we now action this rug protection as a matter of standard with any projects.
We invited Ann and Richard to our November Brunch Event and the knowledge that they have accumulated over their years in this unique market, is something to behold. We caught up with Ann later and found out a little more about what makes them tick.
How did Classic Rug Care come about and how long ago?
The very quick answer is, a series of “happy” coincidences. Back in 2003, because of the Iraq war, Abadjian Oriental Carpet Care was renamed Classic Rug Care over a couple of bottles of good red wine and a cheeseboard!
The business has a much longer and far more distinguished history, having been started in 1925 by the Abadjian family. Richard and I became involved and started to work with and learn from Haig Abadjian in the late 1990’s. Then when he suffered a stroke in 2005, we took over the day to day running of the business. However, Haig remained an integral part of the team until he sadly passed away in 2014.
Who forms part of your team?
There are five of us altogether; myself and Richard own the business so we both “do everything”. Although generally I, concentrate on the office and repairs and Richard looks after the cleaning and deliveries and installations. In addition, we have Jacky who is a cleaning technician; Hameed is our second repairer and Tania works in the office and tries to keep us all organised. We also use an answering service which helps us focus on priorities.
Who or what are your biggest inspirations or influences?
My Instagram page is full of people I admire and whose work I love. But as corny as it sounds, my biggest influence are my parents. I do absolutely love my job and the fact that every day is different. I get the opportunity to work with so many different people and travel the world learning my craft.
How has the community of Interior designers influenced you within your own home?
I am a collector and certainly not a minimalist, my taste is very eclectic and sometimes quite random! One of my favourite weekend activities is trawling through antique shops, flea markets or skips. I always try and buy something for our home (and a Christmas tree decoration) when I’m traveling.
Before working with rugs, I was an upholsterer and soft furnisher, so I have worked with Interior Designers for a very long time. This experience has given me the confidence to experiment mixing antiques and upcycled skip treasures with Ikea or John Lewis. Having been exposed to so many different environments and interpretations of styles, it has made me very much bolder with colours and patterns than I used to be.
What challenges did you face at the start of your career, compared to what you face today?
Although our business, Classic Rug Care, and our client base has changed almost beyond recognition over the years, our biggest challenge has remained the same, time or lack of it to be more precise. As demands have grown and deadlines become shorter, it has become difficult to find the time to spend on the business rather than in it. Also, we always try to accommodate clients and on occasion they can take exceptional service as the norm; they forget that we cannot work miracles (yet!).
Who is your main customer type and what do you sell the most of?
Today our clients are generally rug or Interior Designers, Architects and rug galleries. Most new enquires come from recommendations. Regarding our products, we do not seem to have a single bestseller, however, we do sell a LOT of protector and rug underlay. We also offer a unique “White Glove Service”, which is very popular with designers. We do a lot of alterations adaptations and some corrections too.
We recently launched our new Emergency Rug Kits, which are selling well as an add on or thank you for designers to give their clients and consumers love them too.
Since the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, we have started to offer a retro FR treatment and certification for rugs and soft furnishings installed in public areas and commercial buildings. Moth treatments are becoming more popular and necessary since the change in world wide laws mean that moth repellent can’t be easily be used in manufacturing any more.
What are the key benefits for Interior Designers to be working with yourself and Classic Rug Care?
I’m so glad you asked this, so we feel we are market leaders in what we do and we are able to add to a designer’s credibility by the fact that we:
- offer a unique, personal and bespoke service to our clients and if we can’t help we usually know a woman or a man who can!
- have a wealth of knowledge and experience both within the rug and associated industries; which gives us a unique insight into some of the issues faced by interior designers.
- are passionate about what we do and are always willing to go the extra mile.
- have an emergency helpline in the case of accidents or disasters and can respond quickly.
- are willing and able to offer advice about the practicalities of various fibers and their suitability for certain uses and their care.
- are the only company in the UK who are licensed to apply MicroSeal Permanent Fabric Protector and we recently became distributors for Fiber Protector too (their latest product is specifically for delicate fibers such as Tencel and botanical silks.)
What is next for you? ….and Classic Rug Care?
Personally, I would really like to get out of the office more and get back to repairing, dyeing and altering rugs. We are seriously keen to expand and take on more staff this year, so if you know of anyone keen to learn the trade – please get in touch. As for the business, onwards and upwards, I hope!
We look forward to hearing about Ann’s expansion and new adventures over this coming year.
Thanks so much for reading,
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