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Article: A Q&A With NuStory Design Director Tamara El-Aasser

A Q&A With NuStory Design Director Tamara El-Aasser - NuStory

A Q&A With NuStory Design Director Tamara El-Aasser

Tamara El-Aasser is NuStory’s Design Director. After graduating from Rhode Island School of Design, she worked at some of the biggest home brands like Anthropologie and West Elm - finetuning her craft over the past two decades.

We sat down with Tamara to learn more about her experience designing handcrafted rugs and why she sees consumers gravitating to NuStory as a new brand focused on good value, quality design and sustainability. 

You’ve been in the home design industry for nearly 20 years. What makes you excited about this new rug brand? Where’s the opportunity?

I’m thrilled to be a part of the NuStory team and have the opportunity to bring incredible handcrafted techniques to modern rug designs. We design the rugs out of New York City and work with artisan communities in India to manufacture them by hand. Our designs represent this blend of old and new world, and we develop the product by integrating traditional and new-age ways of working. It’s rare to work for a company whose design philosophy is so closely connected to its business model. Our products and our brand are inextricably linked, bringing a level of authenticity that customers surely see and feel.

What makes a NuStory rug ‘high quality’?

Well, the high-quality nature of our rugs really comes down to the premium materials and expert craftsmanship. The celebration of natural materials is at the core of our commitment to quality. We made a deliberate effort to choose materials that are known for their durability and luxurious feel.

In terms of craftsmanship, we use rug making techniques that reinforce the materials’ quality. Our hand-knotting process involves the expertise of highly skilled and highly trained craftsmen who embody a level of artistry.

NuStory Home: Handknotted Rugs

For our customers, true quality is evident in the years of wear that NuStory rugs can withstand. The rugs are exceptionally soft underfoot and the natural textures bring an organic warmth to all different types of spaces.

NuStory prides itself on highly curated assortment collections. In the age of consumerism, why take this “less is more” approach?

When we talk about high quality, we not only mean sourcing the best materials and hiring skilled craftspeople; we also mean that each product has gone through countless design reviews, rigorous testing and sampling, exhaustive color matching, etc. The rugs that don’t work, we don’t sell.

In terms of curating the designs, we're striving for balance and versatility. One way we do this is to emphasize the breadth of neutrals and natural tones. We also explore the combination of organic textures, curved and softer shapes, as well as some pieces with a graphic look. This deliberate choice allows us to cater to a broad audience with varying tastes and preferences.

NuStory Rugs: Carpets for Living Rooms
Horizon Rug: Hand Tufted Rug; Contemporary Rug | NuStory

NuStory, as the manufacturer and retailer, prides itself on having a craftsman to customer story. What does that mean to both parties in the value chain?

Together, as the manufacturer and retailer, we get to keep traditional craftmanship alive in an era dominated by machine-made products. Our collaboration with artisans preserves the craft while supporting and sustaining communities.

By operating under one business model, we also get direct oversight over the manufacturing process, which allows for meticulous control over how products are made and what materials are used. This also aligns with the growing consumer demand for sustainable and environmentally friendly products. Customers are increasingly conscious of their ecological footprint, and NuStory's commitment to sustainability resonates well. For instance, we love to use undyed natural yarns for collections to reduce our environmental footprint.

Handmade Rugs; Sustainable Materials | NuStory Home

When it comes to an end consumer, it really is all about value. There is no intermediary increasing the cost, so they can feel confident they are getting the most high-quality rugs at the most affordable in the market.

How would you describe NuStory’s customers? What are they like and what do they look for when choosing a rug?

Our customers have an appreciation for good design and a keen sense of how their living spaces contribute to their overall well-being. They are conscious consumers who prioritize the quality and origin of materials used in the products they bring into their homes.

That said, I hope that the NuStory customer is for everybody. With accessible prices and diverse designs, there truly is something for everyone to fall in love with.

What’s your favorite rug from one of the new collections and why?

My personal favorite from the new collections is the "Drift" rug. I really love the intentional use of undyed natural yarns and the incorporation of the hand spun wool. The ivory cut pile adds such a nice, raised texture reminiscent of a sand dune. It’s also exceptionally soft, which is always a huge selling point for me. I am also really proud of how the Sguiggle, Dune and Sana rugs came out. The color palette and textural details make the styles intriguing yet versatile. 

NuStory Drift Rug: Textured Contemporary Rug

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