Spotlight On: ALT for Living
New York, New York
Analisse Taft-Gersten, the founder of ALT for Living, isn’t the sort to mince words about child labor in the rug industry. “Frankly, if people saw some of the factories where rugs are made,” she says, “they would walk out with disgust!” Her mission, in addition to marketing a diverse collection of stylish rugs from her Manhattan showroom, is to make sure interior designers and architects are educated about exactly who makes the rugs and how they are made. “Good ethics go hand-in-hand with financial success,” she says unequivocally. She emphasizes that she is no Birkenstock-wearing granola warrior. “This is about business! With GoodWeave® working on this with me, I’m creating more awareness everyday!”
In her hyper-organized office located in the historic Flatiron District, there’s not a paper out of place. (She jokes that she is just a tiny bit OCD.) In the showroom, sample carpets from her own fabulous private-label collection share the spotlight with samples from other cutting edge textile designers like Tania Johnson, Robin Gray, Van Ghent, Malene B and the iconic Rosemary Hallgarten. Analisse’s rugs and theirs are on display with military precision. The order in the showroom, she insists, serves a purpose. “Interior designers feel frustrated if they have to shuffle through piles of samples.” Analisse knows this from her own experience managing furniture and rug showrooms and from a stint in her own interior design business.
Her years in fashion, furniture, and carpets, she says, taught her about style and taste “and what NOT to do in business.” When she launched her rug business in the financially inauspicious year 2008, she was undaunted by hard times and sure she could be successful. Having worked as an interior designer herself, she says she knew exactly how to do things simply and efficiently for her clients. “They want to see everything, feel everything, have a cappuccino and leave.”
An admitted perfectionist, Analisse does all her own seam plans. Such attention to detail is much appreciated by her discerning clients—people who want elegance and brilliant design in their sumptuously appointed luxury hotels and high-end residences. It projects to fruition. Take the ombré rug she recently created for a home in Aspen. The hand knotted flat weave in a palette from light peach to dark rust was installed in a hallway, on some floating stairs, and down into a basement. “Try joining those seams,” she says, “and matching the colors! But it turned out phenomenally!”
An unrepentant “ruggie” as she calls herself, Analisse now says it is hard to remember when rugs weren’t a part of her life. While she is most certainly a business woman, she also sees herself as a curator of beautiful and beautifully crafted works of art. “Rugs are my passion and I am inspired by them.” Analisse Taft-Gersten brings her passion to her business and, importantly, to her commitment to the weavers and their families. “I want rugs to be made right in a mill that pays its employees fairly, that doesn’t hire children, but does help feed and educate them.” It’s a tall order, but with her GoodWeave collaborators Analisse is sure she cannot just sell rugs, but sell this beautiful idea about justice.
For more information visit www.altforliving.com.
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