Photos courtesy Cyrus Artisan Rugs
For five generations, beginning in Iran, Alex Farahan’s family has worked in the luxury hand-woven and hand-tied rug business. His father had showrooms in New York City and London, so after college Farahan and his brother decided they’d continue the family business as well—except they wanted to set up shop elsewhere. Their father had helped a cousin open a showroom in Indianapolis, which was successful, so the Farahans also turned their sights toward the Midwest.
“We did our research,” Alex Farahan recalls. They studied Fortune 500 companies in the area and the demographics for luxury-home-goods-buyers. “There was nothing like our product in the Twin Cities. The Galleria was a mall with the demographics we were looking for; high-end stores with high-profile brands and names.” In 1987, they secured a space in the Galleria “and got our feet wet,” he says. “People were very receptive and we were successful.”
Today, Alex Farahan is president of Cyrus Artisan Rugs in Bloomington, “just a short distance away from the Galleria,” he says. Cyrus is open to the public, and the website provides plentiful educational information on purchasing and caring for a hand-woven rug, decorating with hand-woven rugs, creating a custom rug, and the craft behind hand-tied rugs. “Educating our clients is so important,” he says. “We want to give them an understanding of what goes into the making of our rugs, so they can appreciate the aesthetics even more. For us, it’s also about building relationships with clients.”
In the 1990s, he also opened Woven Arts at International Market Square. The showroom collaborates with designers to find the perfect hand-woven, contemporary, modern, and traditional area rugs, as well as Woven Arts’ private label and high-end brand name rugs, for their clients.
“It’s such a different industry than when I started,” he says. “Back in the old days, the markets for hand-woven rugs wasn’t as strong. There wasn’t the range there is today.” Farahan says he started by getting to know his father’s sources, then went directly to suppliers and industry shows around the world, and now the industry comes to him. “As far as trends, we closely follow the furniture and fabric industry, as well as the Pantone colors. There are so many colorways and designs now.”
Styles range from contemporary and modern to traditional, transitional, and “tribal,” with some rugs resembling abstract paintings, others with bold or subtle patterns, and many with fascinating textures or intriguing artistry. “To evolve with the fast pace of change, we make sure we’re good at knowing what clients want,” he says. “Our inventory is vast. Our strength comes from having the best, updated, and vast inventory—and we’re extremely service-oriented. We always want to make sure our clients have complete trust in us and the rug they’re investing in.”