By Birte Staerk, DOBAG Carpets, Denmark, 15 April 2008
Jozan Magazine has asked Birte Staerk, the authorized Danish DOBAG dealer to tell about her venture importing and selling DOBAG rugs in Denmark
The topic of fair-trade is very much in the public mind, and the Dobag carpet project is, in my opinion, the essence of fair-trade. The Turkish women involved in the project are paid adequately and fairly for their craftsmanship and quality handwork – and we can buy the carpets with an easy conscience.
Reading an article about the women of the Dobag-project was a turning point in my life. After many years working as a manager of the industrial design centre, ID-Forum, I had a desire to make a change, but I did not know in which direction. When I had read that article I knew that I had found my project.
My husband and I became the authorized Danish dealer of the carpets, and we are proud to represent the Dobag-project and to inspire Danish people to become part of the history. I make speeches about Dobag for groups all over Denmark and very often in our showroom.
I am fascinated by the women who, using their ability to make carpets, are able to ensure improved social and economic life for themselves and their families. The project has existed for more than 25 years and is self-financing.
The women are the owners of the cooperative and they sell the carpets directly – without middlemen – to authorized dealers in many countries all over the world.
All the carpets carry a certificate with a guarantee issued by the faculty of Fine Art at the Marmara University.
The Dobag-project gives not only work for the women. The men in the villages – proud of their wives – also get benefit from the project. They work as shepherds, they cut the sheep, and some of them are dyers.
Many of the families have been able to buy olive groves or farmland.
I believe that these carpets are something special. They are all made of wool spun by hand by the elder women in the villages, dyed with the same plants as were used hundreds of years ago and display patterns that have existed for generations. The colours are very harmonic, bright and full of life. We call them the antiques for the future. The more you use them, the more beautiful they get. They give warmth to both your feet and to your soul.