Some people keep cars in their garage. Others use their garage to lock up lawn equipment.
Laura Branson uses her garage to store rugs. Many of them. Persian rugs. Turkish rugs. Period carpet. Old rugs. Big rugs. Small rugs. Cheap rugs. And not so cheap rugs.
On this January day, there are nearly 70 rugs – some stacked, others rolled up – in his garage in the Western Oaks neighborhood. “And it’s low,” she said. “I expect between 30 and 40 over the next two weeks.
Where will they go? Nobody knows.
“I’m starting to get to the point where I get bigger than my garage,” Branson says. “Either my family and I will have to move or the business will have to move. “
That company is The Southern Loom, and in just over a year it has grown from an innocent attempt to unload extra rugs in the house to a full-fledged international rug merchant. Through their website and supported by their eye-catching Instagram account, The Southern Loom sells vintage and antique rugs. Most of them are Persian or Turkish. Prices range from $ 130 for a 3 foot by 1 foot Turkish rug to $ 9,495 for a handmade antique Serapi rug, although most parts cost less than $ 1,000.
All pass the discerning eye of Branson, who studied art as an undergraduate and graduate student at St. Edward’s and taught art at the Ann Richards School.
“I gravitate towards really pretty cool colors: blues, greens, peaches,” she says. “Before I approve it, I try to imagine it in someone’s house.”
The seeds for The Southern Loom were planted in September 2016 when Branson’s husband told her that if she bought one more rug to decorate their home, she would have to sell the unused ones. OK.
She listed two rugs for sale on Craigslist and Facebook, and they quickly sold for $ 265 each. Although she made virtually no profit, “I was delighted,” she recalls. The southern loom was born.
Branson started with an inventory of 10 rugs, launched the website and Instagram account in October 2016, and made his first sale two months later. After that, “it exploded,” she said.
Just one day earlier this year, she says, she sold nine pieces. Carpet buyers from as far away as Australia and Dubai have discovered it. The Instagram account, which features photos of Branson and rugs in scenic Austin locations such as Barr Mansion and the South Congress Hotel, has nearly 35,000 followers.
The business has grown so quickly that Branson plans to open a physical store for The Southern Loom. Perhaps only then will the family get their garage back.
“It’s been a mad rush,” she says. “I am in disbelief.”
The Southern Loom, thesouthernloom.com