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Nargis Habib is founder and owner of The Rug Mine, based in San Marcos. Courtesy photo
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The Rug Mine: Transforming homes and breaking barriers

Nargis Habib is the only woman in the world to run a rug business of this sort. As the founder and owner of The Rug Mine, based in San Marcos, she is breaking barriers in business as well as lifestyle for Afghan women.

Nargis, born in Afghanistan, was 12 years old when her school experience shifted vastly. As a female in her country, she was no longer able to attend school. Instead of continuing her standard elementary education in school, she studied in secret, on Afghan carpets. In those years, the rugs brought her a sense of warmth and safety. She may not have known then what role these rugs would play in her future, but the story has unfolded and she’s here to share it.

After moving to the United States, Nargis jumped into her career as an artist. Having always been interested in art, she worked as a makeup artist for MAC Cosmetics. She learned, studied, and excelled in the study of color and color pairing. With her Afghan roots and her experience matching colors—and likely her time learning on the rugs as a young girl—the beauty of her nation’s rugs drew her into the industry. The variety of art she had studied and practiced shaped The Rug Mine business.

“I could have opened an eyelash business or owned a makeup brand, which would have been great,” Nargis says, “but this meant a lot more to me.”

Historically, the rug business was dominated by men. Culturally, it was looked down upon for women to enter into the space. With her understanding of color theory as a makeup artist, Nargis founded an amazing business with an exceptional feminine touch nurtured by her experience. She sought to empower women through sustainability and fair-trade production. As opportunities were taken from Afghan women, The Rug Mine set out to give these opportunities back.

The Rug Mine is founded upon authenticity, quality, sustainability and family. Female-owned to support female artisans in Afghanistan, every rug is hand-knotted from locally-sourced wool in Afghanistan. They ensure that there is no child labor or animal cruelty among their production. The wool is hand-spun, giving it superior texture and quality. Wool is colored with all-natural fruit and vegetable dyes, using no chemical dyes. All these facets of commitment to quality contribute to the beauty and longevity of rugs created by The Rug Mine.

“Fabulous: Not only is the rug itself a thing of beauty, but the whole process of selecting the right item was great…Wonderful inventory, great seller. Super pleased!” Says customer Nayeli S.

As longevity and the value of family go, these rugs are intended to house and nurture family relationships.

They create spaces within a home that bring about an entirely new experience and ambience. With the high quality of their supplies, these rugs are family heirlooms that can be passed down from generation to generation. Their value transcends the present moments created while around them to offer family memories over the span of time.

In keeping with their values of empowering women, The Rug Mine highly values prioritizing the wellbeing of their female artisans.

The Rug Mine pays their artisans on time and fairly. Nargis works directly with them to ensure they earn what they deserve for their masterful work—removing the middleman. This also plays a role in the price point of their rugs—which are extremely reasonably priced. They are able to sell at a far more desirable price because they surpass going through the various vendors along the way. Hand-knotted in Afghanistan and shipped directly from her home in San Diego, Nargis is personally involved in every sale from The Rug Mine.

“I wish that you create amazing memories on these rugs,” Nargis seals every purchase with a hand-written note on handmade recycled paper.

To see the beautiful work of The Rug Mine, see