Now more than ever, we are so grateful for the local businesses, artists, and vendors that bring constant inspiration to our work and build a strong sense of community in our neighborhood. District Loom is one of our long-time favorites. Run by husband and wife team, Heather and Brett, District Loom sources beautiful, high-quality vintage and antique rugs from around the world. We love to incorporate vintage pieces into our designs, and vintage rugs are a great way to introduce a unique and sustainable design element into your space. We recently had a chance to chat with Heather and Brett about how it all started and what it is like to run a small business in DC. They are kindly offering 15% off with code SANABRIAXDL15 to our readers, so be sure to check out their beautiful new collection here. For a bit more about them and their incredible business, scroll down for our full conversation. And a huge thank you to Heather and Brett for taking the time out of their crazy schedules to talk with us - thanks, guys!
How did District Loom come about?
Since a very young age, I’ve had an obsessive eye for detail—specifically in home interiors. I noticed that well-designed spaces transformed my mood and experience within a room.
Attending interior design school was my plan, but my loving parents encouraged me to pursue my other strength, science, for what seemed to be a more practical career choice. I now work full time as an otolaryngology (ear, nose, and throat) nurse practitioner.
My interest in design never left me though, and my passion re-surfaced years later when Brett and I were decorating our first home. We found ourselves with two new puppies to house-train, and we quickly realized we were unable to effectively clean any of the machine-made rugs in our home. (Resulting in us throwing out four rugs in just two years!) We were so disappointed in the lack of durability and poor quality of the vintage replicas that are widely available to the U.S. consumer. We were also saddened to know the plastic backing and fibers in these rugs ended up in a landfill, contributing to the global waste crisis our world is facing.
Our disappointment in the quality of machine-made rugs and our new-found awareness of the amount of waste in the industry was the catalyst to apply our research skills (honed through years of nursing and grad school!) and to dive down the rabbit hole of vintage rug hunting. Once we started searching for vintage rugs for our home, we found out the rug shopping experience was antiquated, scarce, and expensive. After a few not so pleasant trips to local rug shops with high pressure sales and cost-prohibitive pricing, we realized the in-store consumer experience and inventory was sub-par to say the least. This motivated us to provide a more approachable, affordable, and edited inventory of on-trend pieces to design-minded homeowners and interior designers!
What is it about vintage rugs? What power do they have to transform a space?
Vintage rug’s quality and craftsmanship allow them to add texture and character that their manufactured machine made replica counterparts are unable to deliver! The fact that each piece is one-of-a-kind also allows each owner to make their home uniquely their own! Lastly, I love the sustainability vintage rugs offer as each piece will last a lifetime thereby limiting waste.
What is the best part about running a small business in DC?
The creative and small business community here in DC is the most supportive and inspiring network! Since we are an e-commerce based business, many local brick and mortar shops with similar missions and values like Three Littles, Park Story and Kaleidos have opened their doors to us for Pop up shops. These women run businesses have turned into wonderful resources and forever friends! You can even shop exclusive dL collections of tiny turkish mats in Park Story and Kaleidos.
What is the most challenging?
The most challenging part of running this business is time management and finding the ever elusive work/life balance—free time is District Loom time! I am a ‘Yes’ person. I never want to miss out on an event or opportunity. Only in the last two months have I learned that sometimes the best answer to prevent burnout is ‘maybe next time’. Too much stress dampens creativity and creativity is a very important tool we use daily as an online business that relies on visual merchandising!
We are so excited about the new Heirloom Collection! We would love to hear a little bit about it and where we can find it.
This meticulously curated collection features only the best. It is comprised of rugs made only of the most resilient material -- 100% wool, ready to withstand any lived-in space. Each piece is hand knotted rather than machine made, allowing for unmatched resiliency. This collection has already proved it's made to last! The natural vegetable dyes used in the 1890's- 1930's boast old world style and instantly deliver a collected curated aesthetic.