Meet Camilla, founder of Lilla Rugs established in February 2017. With childhood roots from Iran and now based in London, Camilla is the creative genius behind these gorgeous Persian and Moroccan rugs. They're everything your Pinterest boards are dying for, and exactly what your rooms need. Each rug, every shape and size, is carefully curated by Camilla from villages in Morocco and Iran where weavers create vibrant works of art that celebrate the comforts of the home.
Growing up, Camilla formed valuable and lasting relationships with the weavers in the villages. Today, she utilizes those same relationships to support the weavers' unique craftsmanship, as well as grow her business. These skillfully handmade rugs transform every floor with art that bring home the perfect touch of luxury and culture. I sat down with Camilla to discuss her passion and all things rugs and entrepreneurship. Coming from someone who appreciates the design process from start to finish, I admire what Camilla has to share about her love for interiors.
It's Danielle Marie (IDM): You established your business earlier this year and already you're doing so well! (Congratulations). How long have you been dreaming of starting Lilla Rugs?
Camilla Ahwazian (CA): Thank you! I’ve always loved interiors, and rugs in particular. It just took some time to gain the courage to actually bring it all to life. One day late last year I just decided I had to make it happen, and then come February the website was live!
IDM: You grew up between Iran and London. Tell us about a time you recall when you were young that sparked your initial love for interiors.
CA: We used to travel a lot when I was a kid. When we were in Iran, we’d visit lots of different cities and villages. Persian rugs are such a big part of the culture, so coming across weavers wasn’t so difficult. I remember sitting down and asking them to show me what they were doing, watching in fascination. Alongside that, growing up I’d spend endless hours pottering around my room - rearranging it, revamping furniture from around the house, creating cushion covers etc.
These things were always there, but just something I hadn’t paid much attention to. When I did, it quickly became obvious I should channel these passions somewhere.
IDM: So why rugs? And in what ways do rugs inspire you? Since you named your business 'Lilla Rugs' tell us more about the relationship you have with rugs, and the weavers who make them.
CA: A hand-knotted rug is a piece of art. They are created by incredibly talented people with an admirable level of patience. Rugs often take years to complete! I also believe that authentic rugs carry the culture and landscape from which they originate, giving you the opportunity to bring a part of Morocco or Iran to your home.
As for the name, the reason I chose ‘Lilla Rugs’ is because my baby brother could never pronounce ‘Camilla’ and instead called me ‘Lilla’ which sort of stuck for the whole family. It sounds silly, but it just felt right.
IDM: How has your prior career in advertising helped you get your business started and acquire immediate success?
CA: At the moment I’m actually in dual career! I only started Lilla Rugs in February this year, and it’s very much something I do early mornings, late evenings & weekends. A career in advertising has definitely helped give me a solid understanding of the best ways to build a brand and how to communicate with clients. It’s a career that comes with dedication and building strong relationships with people. Something I hope also translates into the way I run Lilla Rugs.
IDM: Social media is everything now-a-days. What is your relationship like with your customers? In other words, as an entrepreneur, how do you manage to stay on top of community engagement?
CA: Honestly, if it wasn’t for social media being everything, I would have not had the chance to start Lilla Rugs. The fact that my customers are ‘always on’ enables me to uphold two careers. The way in which I stay on top of community management is by channelling my focus and energy to one channel only. For me, it’s Instagram. Taking a couple of hours a day to ensure I interact with others, and more importantly respond to comments and messages, is easy enough to do.
IDM: What interior design tips are you willing to share with us that can help make our living spaces feel more special and intimate?
CA: There are three things I believe every main living space must have:
1. A rug - scandi furniture, neutral wall colours & monochrome soft furnishings are the in thing right now. It’s super important to ensure you keep your home warm and make sure it has soul! Whether it’s with a cosy Moroccan Berber rug or a classic antique piece of furniture, keep it homey.
2. Candles - you can never have too many candles around the place. Yes they smell great, but they also are great to fill empty surface spaces, without wanting clutter. Diptyque Baies is my personal fave.
3. Natural elements - more and more, people are looking to reconnect with nature. This shouldn't stop in your home. Lots of plants of course, and wood as a main material, with a smooth finish.
IDM: For those of us who may like to play it safe, what are some fun ways we can play up the Moroccan/ Bohemian style in our homes?
CA: The key to bohemian decor is to play with a variety of materials - leather, plants, wool, different fabrics. Try some Kilim covered cushions, hanging plants from cream rope, and a tanned leather pouf.
A barrier for a lot of my clients is that they're afraid of making the room look ‘too much’ or ‘too busy’ by adding in a Moroccan rug. If anything, the Moroccan rugs are perfect for those that do like to play it safe. Moroccan Berbers are traditionally simple in design and often come in monochrome. They are the perfect amount of fun!
IDM: As a business owner, what are three things you cannot leave the house without?
CA: My iPhone, my headphones & at weekends, my little fold up Kilim rug for photo opportunities!
IDM: Do you see your business expanding to other areas besides rugs and interiors or are you open to future collaborations with other designers?
CA: I absolutely see an expansion into interior products beyond rugs (although the focus will always remain rugs). I have a buying trip to Morocco planned in a couple of weeks that will hopefully help make this happen. At the moment the plan is Moroccan poufs & cushions. I’m also super up for collaborations – we’re all in this together!
IDM: What is a quote that has stuck with you that helps you stay motivated?
CA: “See the things that you want as already yours” ― Rhonda Byrne, The Secret