The Best Tips To Buy a Moroccan Rug in Marrakech 2020
I’m a little obsessed with Moroccan rugs. By little, I really mean that I have a big problem. I just can’t resist them! Aside from simple household items, I haven’t bought many decorative items for our home in Marrakech – other than these. We were only recently in a rural market and when my mother-in-law saw me looking at carpets, she grabbed my arm and pulled me away. Yes, I am so in love with her!
The good news is that I went through the alarm clock and have more than a decade of carpet experience, so I can share this with you! The first carpet I bought was in a carpet store in Fez almost 15 years ago. I learned later that I had paid far too much for this rug, but what did I know? I was 19 and all I wanted was this rug. For a long time, it was the only “adult” thing I had. While I was content with second-hand furniture and second-hand finds, my carpet always had a special place in my house and was my daily inspiration to return to the street.
A bit of history on Moroccan rugs. Most of the shops are made by one of the forty-five Moroccan Berber tribes in the country. Everyone has a unique style and each Moroccan Berber carpet is handmade on a loom. It is mainly performed by women in their spare time. Depending on the size, complexity, and time, the production of carpets can take between 10 days and 6 months. Rugs are mainly used at home or for celebrations. They are then sold or exchanged as goods.
If you’re coming to Morocco and want to buy a rug (or zerbiya – the Arabic word) to take home, think about these things.
Good deals, good deals, good deals
If you missed this point, you should negotiate with your carpet.
No, I repeat, do NOT accept the price offered to you in the shop.
Even in the best stores, carpets are usually a bargain. Bargaining here is part of the game. The seller knows you won’t accept his first offer (you shouldn’t either). Many people are afraid of becoming too low. Do not be afraid. First of all, reduce this price up to 2/3 and work from there.
At some point, you should expect to reach around 50% of the original price. If you know that you are no longer in your league with a 50% discount on the original price, continue. There are stores where no negotiations take place. They will be in advance and tell you first. You can choose to accept it or not.
If you have agreed on a price, you really should not resign. When you finally agree, it is in very bad shape to change your mind and leave. Wait until you are 100% sure. There is no contract yet, but it is an oral agreement.
Don’t seem too interested
Do you like carpet? Should we just have it?
Do not let the trader join you, otherwise, you will lose one of your biggest trading strengths. Rather, act casually. Take a look at some more rugs so you can eventually get back to what you really want. Don’t be afraid to leave. Moroccan rugs are unique, but when you leave, the seller often returns and reduces the price or accepts the last price given.
However, if you seem very interested and need only have a specific carpet, the seller will not be as flexible in their prices. You will find that you are probably willing to pay more because you really want it.
Choose your carpet
Sometimes it can get a little overwhelming (ok, a lot) when you start looking at carpets. There are so many choices from which after a while they can all merge. We can also show you styles of rugs that don’t interest you. However, these still accumulate on the ground and cause more confusion. Here are some tips to help you find the right carpet without losing your mind!
• Get an idea of the colors you like or don’t like. For example, if you have seen and hate orange rugs, tell the supplier that you no longer want to see orange rugs. If you know you need a blue carpet, let them know immediately that you want it.
• First, limit the rugs you like. The seller takes out carpet by carpet and places them on the floor. When you have reached a point where you are no longer sure, stop it. Ask them to remove the rugs you don’t like and set aside the ones you might like. Once the rugs you don’t like have been removed, just let them arrange the rugs you like. This makes it easier to decide which adjustment might be suitable.
• Remember that the rooms where you look at the rug are likely to be much larger than the room where the rug will go home. Although it looks “small” on the large floor, it can be perfect for your home.
• Once you may have scanned the pile and sorted out the rugs that you still want to consider, or those that don’t suit you, it’s time to decide if you want to see more or make a decision.
• If you want to see more, let the supplier know if there is a style of rug you really like or if you want to see something completely different.
Open conversation and open dialogue not only help you find the carpet you want but also helps the seller find the one that is best for it. Some places have thousands of carpets and a good place to start is really useful for everyone.
It is also useful if you are considering your budget to buy a carpet or at least a roundabout.
Antiquity and age
If you go to a store and learn that a carpet is an old Moroccan carpet, do not automatically trust it, especially if you do not know the difference. There is a whole branch of “aging” rugs sold as antiques. If you really want to buy an antique, you need to do your research to find out what you get. There is also a good chance that you will not find rugs here that go back to the 1920s or 30s.
Even under the best conditions, they discolor naturally and the fabric is frayed. Remember that rugs are used for practical, not decorative, purposes. So an “antique” carpet that has faded but is otherwise in perfect condition – probably not.
If you do not know what you are buying and you do not have much experience with old carpets, I encourage you to be very careful. As with everything, if you don’t know what you’re buying, you can’t really judge the value of this item. For your purchase, you might want to consider something you simply like instead of buying an investment.
The fire test
The authentic Moroccan rugs are made of wool. One way to determine if you are getting a real wool or synthetic rug is to hold a lighter against one of the loose edges. If it doesn’t shine or go out, it’s wool. It catches fire, it is synthetic. You take out a lighter and it is fake, it will likely get quite nervous if the dealer tells you it was genuine.
I could get lost in carpet stores for hours and if you are not sure what you want, you should. Spend time looking around and seeing what you like.
However, only ask for prices when you find something you do like.
If you’re in a store and have a hard time making a decision, set aside a variety of items you like and ask for prices. If you are unsure of the price of carpets, first go to a fixed price store. There are usually craft centers in major cities. For example, the Ensemble Artisanal de Marrakech will offer all types of crafts at a fixed price. Take a walk, check the prices, then go to the souks (or pay the package if you prefer!). This gives you an idea of what things cost without pressure or sales hacks.
Avoid the cooperative trick of women
If I had a quarter for each generous tourist who chose it, I would have my own carpet shop. I understand that you want to help. They want to support the people who make these rugs, which are mainly women. But here’s a dirty little secret, most “women’s cooperatives” are just in the name.
Women get a small portion of sales. You could say, “Oh, it’s okay, I’m paying more because it makes a difference.” No, I’m sorry, but probably not. Women get a fixed price (believe me, it’s not much) for their carpets and whether they are sold for that price (unlikely) or 100 times more, they earn the same amount. There is a free trade cooperative in Morocco that I trust. It’s called The Anou. You can order online and have it shipped or if you are in Morocco, they can probably arrange delivery for you.
How much should a carpet cost?
People ask me all the time and I can’t answer this question. There are dozens of variables that affect the price of a carpet.
Age, style, design, condition, etc., etc. are all variables. Where you buy the carpet, where the carpet was made, how much the store paid for, how much this style is currently being taken into account.
A small carpet can cost only 750-1000 dirhams. However, the average price is between 3,500 and 6,000 dirhams. An old vintage Berber carpet or larger carpets can vary from 10,000 to 25,000 dirhams and more. Buying a carpet is not “cheap”, but MUCH cheaper than buying it outside of Morocco.
What should I take with me when shopping?
If you are considering buying a rug, don’t leave empty-handed. You want to get an idea of the size of the rug you need or need. It’s very important. Note that sizes are given in metric sizes and most rugs are not made to the same dimensions as Western rugs. They are generally much more rectangular to fit Moroccan houses.
You should also have ideas for colors and designs that you like. A Pinterest search shows hundreds of different Moroccan rugs. Familiarize yourself with certain style names that you like. Each tribe in Morocco has a different style. So when you say “Moroccan” rug, it includes many different styles and designs.
Also, have an idea of your budget and what you want to spend. It is easier to pay in cash than with a card, as there is often an additional charge for using a credit card. If so, be sure to charge the fees at your final price. If you need shipping, this should also be included.
Shipping a Moroccan rug is possible, and while you can do it yourself by visiting the post office, it can be a frustrating and time-consuming process. If you can work with your carpet, it will be much easier for you.
How to take care of my carpet?
Good question! I wrote an article on how to clean your carpet when you bring it home! You should always be careful and if you are unsure or afraid to do so, do not do it. Take it to someone who can clean it professionally.
How to clean Moroccan rugs at home
What’s the best carpet store in Marrakech?
I haven’t been to EVERY carpet store in Marrakech yet, but I did find a fantastic store that I think will significantly reduce the pressure and guesswork involved in buying a rug. Not only do you feel like you don’t have to buy, and I promise you will get great deals. I met one of the owners of vintage Moroccan rugs during one of my shopping adventures and I am so glad I did. The images of this article all come from his shop.
Why should you visit this store?
If you want to deal with someone who is honest and direct, you will know it. They have all types of rugs at all prices. You can find beautiful little rugs that start at around $ 350, or you can find beautiful vintage rugs that are real and not only never look vintage (even if you have to pay more for older and larger rugs). You are not in Marrakech, make online orders with guaranteed delivery (they will also send your carpet to your home if you wish). If you want to see more of what they have, you can find them on Instagram
If you want a larger selection or are looking for something more specific, visit Les Nomades de Marrakech next door. It’s one of the biggest stores in Marrakech and frankly, they really believe their customers are doing it right. Stores are connected and have access to carpets.
It should be noted that not all rugs are “cheap” and this is only a general rule. It takes months to make many rugs and materials. This must be taken into account when purchasing.
AN ADVICE: The Best Tips To Buy a Moroccan Rug in Marrakech 2020
Do not listen to anyone on the street tell you that it is closed (this applies to almost all shops or attractions in Marrakech), or is not open, or something like that. It is likely that the person tells you and then “offers” to take you to another company with which he works and asks (or forces you) to tip him, and to whom
Visit one or both of these stores alone or with a guide. They have staff who speak English and will be happy to assist you.
How to find them;
Vintage Carpets’ business address is 29 Zaouiat Lahdar Kaat, Benahid 40030 Marrakech – very close to the Ben Youssef mosque. The store door is fire red, so you can’t miss it! The opening hours are from 10 to 18 days. You can simply present yourself or make an appointment (by phone at +05 24 38 18 45 in Morocco).
It may seem that it is closed (the door is closed), just knock or ring.
Renovation work is currently underway in this area and the store may be closed from time to time to make this possible. If so, you can visit Les Nomades, their sister boutique, which also has an inventory.
Les Nomades is just around the corner and has great signage not to be missed.
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