RugMark is working to end illegal child labor in the carpet industry and to offer educational opportunities to children in South Asia.

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Importer FAQs

If your question is not answered below, please feel free to submit a question to the RugMark staff.

Is the demand for RugMark certified rugs expanding?

More than 4 million carpets carrying the RugMark label have been sold in Europe and North America since 1995. The market of consumers interested in buying socially responsible products in the United States is 68 million and growing. Imports of RugMark certified rugs increased by nearly 30% in 2004 and 2005 while the market for handmade rugs remained flat. Additionally, RugMark has launched The Most Beautiful Rug campaign to educate consumers about the social and economic value of buying a rug that carries the independent RugMark certification label. This campaign will help generate sales for those companies committed to child-labor-free production.

What will RugMark do to support my sales?

RugMark believes in building bridges between importers who are committed to ending child labor in the handloom carpet industry and socially conscious consumers. We energetically promote RugMark importers to interior designers, retailers, and customers. As a licensed importer, you will benefit from advertising and public relations efforts, receive point-of-sale materials, and are listed on our web site, so that showrooms and end consumers can contact you directly.

How do I become a RugMark licensed importer?

Importers are the backbone of the RugMark USA program. Out of the small royalty fee on carpets paid by licensed importers, 60 percent is returned to South Asia to educate and train former child weavers. The balance of the fees helps to build consumer awareness about the importance of purchasing certified rugs. In the United States, only licensed importers are legally permitted to sell carpets carrying the RugMark label. To view a sample agreement, click here. To receive a complete copy of the agreement, contact RugMark toll-free ator

What is the importer’s financial relationship with RugMark?

By signing the RugMark Foundation License Agreement, importers agree to pay RugMarkK USA a 1.75 percent royalty on the net import value (FOB price) of carpet shipments on a quarterly basis. RugMark USA is contractually bound to return more than half of this amount to its overseas offices to be spent on the education and rehabilitation of former child laborers. The additional amount covers the marketing expenses of RugMark USA.

How does the RugMark certification process work?

RugMark recruits carpet producers and importers to make and sell carpets that are free of illegal child labor. By agreeing to adhere to RugMark's strict no child labor guidelines, permitting random inspections of carpet looms, and paying associated license fees, manufacturers receive the right to put the RugMark label on their carpets. The label provides the best possible assurance that children were not employed in the making of a rug. It also verifies that a portion of the carpet price is contributed to the rehabilitation and education of former child weavers. In the North America, only licensed RugMark importers are legally permitted to sell carpets carrying the RugMark label.

How does RugMark ensure the rugs with its label are child-labor free?

To be certified by RugMark, carpet manufacturers sign a legally binding contract to produce carpets without illegal child labor; register all looms with the RugMark Foundation; and allow access to looms for unannounced inspections.  Carpet looms are monitored regularly. Inspectors are trained and supervised by RugMark. Each labeled carpet is individually numbered enabling its origin to be traced back to the loom on which it was produced. This also protects against counterfeit labels. In addition, nonprofit child welfare organizations not affiliated with RugMark have access to RugMark certified looms and factories as a double assurance that no children are employed. 

Who carries RugMark certified rugs?

RugMark rugs are available at approximately 800 showroom and retail locations nationwide and through several online stores. These locations are searchable by zip code

How much more expensive is a RugMark certified rug?

Less than you might think. The cost to the consumer of purchasing rugs or carpets manufactured only by adults is negligible­–– typically only one-half percent of the total retail price. On a $2,000 rug, that amounts to only $10. And since a portion of the price of the rug or carpet will be used to fund rehabilitation and education programs for rescued children, customers are making a positive difference in the life of a child. The fact is that many consumers are willing to spend much more on a product if they know that it is made with social responsibility in mind.

What’s the difference between RugMark and other labeling initiatives?

RugMark is the only independent monitoring and inspection organization working in India, Nepal and Pakistan. The other labels might represent organizations running social programs but these programs are philanthropic in scope, do not include random inspections and are administered by the industry itself rather than an independent nonprofit. Rug exporters simply pay a fee to these organizations to receive “no child labor” labels without actual inspections executed in their factories/loom sheds. These labels are do not indicate certification like the RugMark label does.

In addition, RugMark represents everyone involved in the South Asian carpet industry including ­ manufacturers, importers, exporters, retailers and consumers. RugMark is funded by a variety of sources and is free from influence by any particular industry segment or individual government. Other labeling initiatives tend to represent single interest groups that see things from their own perspective and have their own agenda. RugMark has many voices, but only one agenda: moving all South Asian child carpet weavers from looms to schools.

Join the RugMark Marketing Partnership program to increase your sales, enhance your brand awareness, and do the right thing. The program provides tangible business benefits and critical financial support to RugMark’s work. Marketing Partners receive higher profile recognition on the RugMark website, special marketing tools, and press exposure through focused editorial efforts and advertising.

To join RugMark’s Marketing Partnership program, contact Scott Welker at or .  Or download the complete Marketing Partnership brochure in PDF format and return the application form.