Boundless Rugs, Boundless Options
Jun. 11, 2019
Between boxes and goodbyes, moving is exhausting. Before you know it, your belongings are packed and moved, lease or mortgage papers have been signed and it’s done. You walk around the new place, daydreaming about the memories you’ll make, when something seems off. Your living room is shaped like a Hoff & Pepper bottle. Panic sets in as you realize you’ll never find a rug to fit the space.
You think a custom rug will be out of the question. Traditionally, they’ve been so expensive and maybe you just paid closing costs. There has to be a more affordable option. You start googling. Crossing your fingers and hoping you’ll find something in the first round of online scrolling. Then you see it among the top results: Boundless Rugs.
Boundless is an online rug company offering customizable size and color options for area rugs at affordable prices.
Boundless got its start in the INCubator in the Hamilton County Business Development Center when an unexpected redesign sparked a relocation to Boston.
We sat down with Boundless Founder Maddy Karolian to learn more about Boundless’ premade designs, custom options and how Karolian hopes to return to Chattanooga.
Trend: What has your journey looked like in redesigning your business plan?
Karolian: When we realized we needed to change our production method to meet our customers’ needs, it was stressful because it meant slowing down our growth and redesigning everything. With all that, there was a silver lining that I always kept in mind: we’d be able deliver faster, in more colors, with a better feeling product and run a leaner operation.
Trend: What advice do you have for new entrepreneurs in dealing with major changes to their business plan?
Karolian: Anticipate potential curveballs so they don’t feel like such a blow if they happen. Keep in mind that there’s a solution for every problem.
I channeled my energy away from worrying and into problem solving to keep the business moving.
Trend: Why do you want to open a second location in Chattanooga?
Karolian: There are many advantages to being in the region because so much of the rug industry is located in close vicinity to Chattanooga.
I fell in love with Chattanooga specifically because there is so much support and excitement surrounding entrepreneurship. The food, walkability, gorgeous parks and great housing stock make it a no brainer as we look to scale.
Trend: What inspired you to launch Boundless?
Karolian: I had an impossible time finding an area rug for my dining room that was the right combination of design, color and size. After searching through tens of thousands of rugs and then investigating extremely expensive custom options, I figured there must be a better way. I realized there was a lot of underleveraged carpet technology out there that could be used to make customization affordable by consolidating the supply chain.
Trend: How is Boundless different from other online rug companies?
Karolian: We offer customization at a price point that’s affordable. We have 25 curated designs, 22 colors you can mix and match and almost any size you could need. We also offer samples up front so that you can feel the texture and see the colors in the comfort of your home before buying.
Trend: What was it like being at the INCubator in the Hamilton County Business Development Center?
Karolian: The community was so supportive. I had our first production run of rugs coming off the line. The team moved me in super quickly and even helped me move 60+ rugs that I was totally under prepared for. They went above and beyond to be helpful and make sure that I could be successful in the space.
Trend: What does the manufacturing process look like for Boundless?
Karolian: We work with our manufacturer to create a beautiful base made of nylon. As orders come in, they are dyed, cut and serged at the mill.
Trend: How do you come up with your rug designs?
Karolian: Our Head of Design, Rosa, spends a lot of time analyzing the core aesthetics that are popular in interior design, then identifies the rug themes she sees in each of those aesthetics. We create a rug for each of those themes. Some designs are painted by Rosa, others are acquired from vintage design libraries and some came from open source art galleries.
Trend: Is there a balance between designing things that will be classy and last a long time and pieces that are super on trend?
Karolian: People are buying rugs differently than past generations. Where you used to buy a home that you’d live in forever and an accompanying hand-knotted rug that you’d pass down for generations, now people move and redecorate more frequently.
Even traditional designs come in and out of trend—right now, Heriz inspired rugs are very in. We tried to focus on designs that were either a little ahead of the curve or right on it, rather than a little behind. Home décor trends have a much longer life than clothing trends, so our rugs will look fashionable for years to come.
Trend: Do you sell mostly custom rugs or predesigned rugs?
Karolian: We’re pretty focused on custom rugs right now. We offer a product that’s about a quarter of the price of the next best option for stylish, customizable rugs. There are lots of people out there searching for the perfect rug for their oddly-shaped space and we’re excited to meet their needs.
Trend: What is the custom rug process like?
Karolian: Customers can order a Home Touch Test to feel the rugs and see all the colors in person. All 25 designs can be purchased online, customized with one, two or three colors and created in any size (up to 12 feet wide). While you can see the different color combinations real time, we send you a mockup of your rug in the size you chose and send it to production. Each rug takes two to five weeks to make and ships from the factory.
Trend: Who are your ideal customers?
Karolian: People with floors! Our product makes sense for anyone who has something particular in mind but doesn’t want to spend hours (or days, or months!) searching for it online. We have a design that meets most style needs and lots of colors to choose from. We’re also a great option for anyone who has a non-standard sized room. We sell lots of runners, because most hallways are much longer than the standard seven feet that runners come in.
Trend: What makes your rugs more affordable than traditional rugs?
Karolian: Most custom rugs are hand knotted or hand tufted abroad. We’ve figured out a way to use technology to achieve a similar look that requires significantly less labor.