TurkoTek Discussion Boards

Subject  :  $$$$$$
Author  :  Vincent Keers mailto:%20vkeers@worldonline.nl
Date  :  12-09-2001 on 08:20 p.m.
Dear Mr. Bischof,

First: The consumer doesn't drink kilims.

Quote:"The second brutal truth is this:....above a certain level"
Think you're giving the consumer to much credit. The consumer decides what will sell and what will not sell. Most dealers prefer to make a profit on an "expensive" item per client, instead of less profit on cheap items.

Chemical substances belong to nature to. They did not come from outer space.
Some "natural" dyes can be toxic to.
Nature is toxic, because nature depends on evolution. In order to survive, nature is toxic.
So "natural" can be tricky.

Your marketing idea is out of date. The consumer doesn't need a rug to become more beautiful in time...it has to be beautiful the moment they spends the money again end again end again etc. because they live that long. This is a simple fact. Like it or not.

You're talking about criminals in the wine trade. Think this a different subject. Think you're talking about criminals.
How come, you're making us believe that all who are involved in the rugtrade are criminals? That doesn't look like a good marketing strategy.

Provocative indeed,
best regards,

Subject  :  Re:$$$$$$
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  12-09-2001 on 08:52 p.m.
Hi Vincent,

I don't think Michael believes or is suggesting that everyone in the rug trade is a criminal (or that everyone in the wine trade was a criminal). It is no secret, though, that the rug trade has some pretty unethical characters in it along with the straight shooters. To this extent, at least, there seems to be a parallel between the wine and rug trades (probably with others as well).

Consumers select a rug for many reasons, and most of them are not very well informed on the subject. Many believe that they can buy what is often a mass produced item at retail and will be able to sell it at a profit within a few years. Some dealers play on this, and represent rugs as investments.

The typical consumer depends on the seller for information about the quality of the materials and workmanship, his/her own role in the decision being mostly seeing that the colors go with the other colors in the decor. Some dealers give accurate information, some don't. The web is full of discussion boards with postings from people who paid thousands for trash rugs that they were told were terrific buys. And, in fact, misrepresentation appears to be a market strategy used by a number of sellers, apparently with success.


Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:$$$$$$
Author  :  ludwina akbulut mailto:%20akbulut@ispro.net.tr
Date  :  12-10-2001 on 07:52 a.m.
Hi Vincent,
You said 'most dealers prefer to make a profit on an 'expensive' item per client instead of less profit on cheap items'
I see here that most dealers like to make as much profit as possible on cheap things.
I am happy with the words 'carpetoid 'and ' kilimoid'. I used to call them souvenirs, something you buy on a holiday and is thrown away after some years...
I was trying to find better pieces but businesslike it is not working, I did sell 3 good kilims this year nobody can survive on that! Also the producers of such products do not survive easy. I have seen more 'new' productions of better quality starting with a lot of good hopes and proud of what they produce. Usual 2 or 3 years and than they vanish because somebody else brings on the market a similar 'looking' product with cheaper material or workmanship. Today it is not enough to make a good product there has to be a good 'marketing' to . Most dealers here choose for 'lots of profit on a cheap item....' so if you are making a good product you have to export or you do not survive......

I agree with Steve's replay that most typical costumer depends on the seller information about the quality of the materials and the workmanship but we again depend on the information we get from producers...with experience you have to try to see if it is a 'better' product or not because there also we get 'sellerinformation'.How can we 'control' ?

It is a problem to try to survive as more conscientious dealer, but I do not only throw the stone to the dealer. The customer is sometimes or very naive or stingy.
Some customers are talking about the poor woman, badly paid for all the work but the moment the money needs to come out of their pocket they did forget already the 'poor woman'...

Than about use of 'chemicals' in the production of the wool.
To make a vegetable dye on wool you have to use a mordant, my English is not good enough in this technical terms, but the 'metal' mordant has an influence on the wool (and on the environment if used in big quantities).
See for example the brown and black colors, use of iron (I do not know the technical correct name)as mordant. The mordant can be bad for the wool but without them...no color.

Taste is personal in wine you can taste and know immediately if you like the taste or not (although here also their taste can change when stored for longer time...).
In carpet or kilim you can like the look the moment you buy but you have to wait and see how they will survive.
It is not the first time that I hear compare wine and carpet, but one difference: you can enjoy looking your carpet while it becomes better as for wine you only can look at the bottle and dream of its taste...

Subject  :  Re:$$$$$$
Author  :  michael mailto:%20koek@dv-kombinat.de
Date  :  12-10-2001 on 12:48 p.m.
Hi everybody,

pesticides are harmful for the environment and for humans on the middle and long run. There is no interest in our civilization in this aspect and so no research money available, as far as I can see. This would be very sophisticated research. As its results most likely would force us to modify, if necessary by enforcement, the use of established products without leading to the development and production of new products such things are not enhanced. But they are impor-tant.
Mr. Keers, customers do not drink kilims but may sit on it, or, even worse, let their kids play on them. - I did not call any body a criminal, not even the convicted wine people. My intention is different: we are at a historical all-time low in weaving carpets and kilims concerning quality. I asked for the reasons and whether it must be like this. The wine market in Europe served as a model, an analogy, because I think both problems have the same structure.
A second reason why I avoided the term „criminal" is the fact that this market, same as fakes of antique weaves, is possible without the cooperation of customers who run for „occassions", which do not exist in real life except as in the form of rare exceptions. If one insists of this term I would propose the picture of the thief that has been cheated.

I did not think much of marketing strategies. The mainstream business is like You describe it. The look is important, not the substance. But must each corner of the market be like that ? And I propose to question the price-quality balance of this mainstream market.

A real rug gets more beautiful in time if properly used simply because this is a property of it, just as a splendid red wine
gets better in the cellarwhen the slow decay of tannic substances and the build up of new aroma components starts. This is like a natural law. - Indeed nature produced powerful poisons. Natural dyeing can, but must not be poisonous.

Yours sincerely


Subject  :  Re:$$$$$$
Author  :  Michael Wendorf mailto:%20wendorfm@mediaone.net
Date  :  12-10-2001 on 03:37 p.m.
Dear Vincent and Readers:

I have heard what Michael discribes as a "race to the bottom." I think it is a fact that most dealers are in business to make money and as much of it as possible. I think they will always go to products that are easiest to sell and with the largest profit margin. There ia alays a pressure to reduce costs and produce a cheaper and cheaper item. This gives a dealer with the cheapest source a competitive advantage.

Among the reasons dealers sell cheaper and cheaper goods is that this is what their customers want. Yet another is because it is what their clients can afford to pay. Most of these customers assume that carpets have some inherent and intrinsic value when, in fact, many of them do not beyond the apparent function of covering a floor.

Few prospective clients have the interest or patience to find out the difference, so the dealers have a distorted market position. It is not typically a situation where the buyer and seller are on roughly equal terms. Mostly it is the dealer who has the only knowledge, including his cost. This fact also encourages the race to the bottom. The market for well made pieces as Michael describes will always in my opinion be small, much like the market for quality wine.

Best, michael

Subject  :  Re:$$$$$$
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  12-10-2001 on 04:19 p.m.
Hi Michael Wendorf,

I agree that the mass market for rugs is not for expensive, high quality products. In fact, the mass market for floor coverings is not for hand made rugs at all, but for machine made, wall-to-wall carpets made of nylon.

I think what Michael Bischof would like to see happen, though, is for some regulations to be put into place that would make it possible for the consumer to know whether the hand made rug he/she is considering buying is a real rug, or a carpetoid. This way, at least, the buyer would not pay for a real rug when he buys a carpetoid, and this would be of benefit to those who make real rugs.

This goal seems reasonable to me, although I am not confident that it can be achieved without a number of undesirable side effects, particularly in the USA.


Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:$$$$$$
Author  :  Patrick Weiler mailto:%20theweilers@attbi.com
Date  :  12-10-2001 on 10:09 p.m.

I think that the most our laws require is a label showing the country of origin. This was circumvented a number of years ago when many weavings were coming from the former Soviet Republics. I own a Shahsavan mafrash with a label that says "Made In Turkey". I believe many weavings were coming from Soviet areas with "Made In Pakistan" labels.
China requires a red wax seal showing that the government allowed the exportation of a non-historic antique piece of furniture or work of art. One dealer I spoke with said that bribes were sufficient to get the proper seals, even if the goods were not allowed out of the country by their law.
I suspect that, even if all of the suggestions Mr. Bischof were implemented, there would be more people trying to get around them than abide by them.
As for thieves being cheated, there are cases of robbers successfully suing their victims for having been injured by the victim while attempting to rob them.
Many years ago (computer years) someone said that rugs were the only "art" that collectors prided themselves on paying less for an item rather than more. In things like impressionist paintings (some of which have no inherent value) the higher the market value, the more "important" it is. Your average $3 million Van Gogh is not as good as my $7 million Monet. (wishful thinking on my part)

Impressionistically yours,

Patrick Weiler

Subject  :  Re:$$$$$$
Author  :  C. K.
Date  :  12-10-2001 on 11:58 p.m.
Hello All,

Labels are a good idea, I think, however I see no hope to ever get them on carpets. Here is my philosophy.

Paracelsus, the father of toxicology, wrote that any substance is toxic in high enough quantities and no substance is a poison in a sufficiently small dose.

I remember that a few years ago, several people died in the Burgerland province of Austria because greedy pheasant put antifreeze in wine to enhance some of its qualities. However, I have never heard of anybody dying or even get any disease from sitting on a carpet.

I consider putting antifreeze in wine cause an acute health risk because this event caused death right away. In contrast, sitting on a carpet and waiting to see whether our “all vegetal dye” colors fade or not in 75 years, can be considered a chronic risk, where the risk results from long term exposure to the toxic agent (the synthetic dye component in our case) and there is little or no immediate indication of harm. Yet, I have never seen the number of carpet dealers – who I assume suffer the longest exposure to carpets – decrease over time. Or, we should not consider carpet dealers at all, because they know very well whether a carpet is vegetal dyed or not and quickly pass the non-vegetal carpets to customers. So we should rather look at ourselves, customers. (Assuming that collectors could recognize vegetal dyed carpets with a far greater possibility than regular folks (naïve customers) we do not really need to look at ourselves). However, this brings up a problem. How can we ask the US government to protect us, collectors, from synthetic dyes if no harm occurred?

The US government works differently from the German gvt (or EU gvts in general) and I have to emphasize this difference first. E.g. just take a look at the E.U.'s antitrust process and compare it to the US system. The EU believes in “abuse of dominance” and looks things from the customer's perspective. In contrast, the US gvt thinks about “substantial lessening of competition” that is, the US gvt looks things from the perspective and protection of “Corporate America”. This philosophy, in my opinion, could be adopted for the dye problem, which is “reduce the risks or optimize it” as follows. The German gvt might be ready do everything to lessen the harm, whereas the US gvt would try to optimize it. Thus, there are, let us put it this way, "cultural differences".

President Regan promulgated Executive order 12291 that requires regulatory agencies to estimate the cost and benefits of proposed major regulation. Well, our dye problem might not be a major problem for the US gvt, but then why would it help in regulating the dye issue at all. But, let us assume for a moment that toxic risks of synthetic dyes in oriental carpets are such a major problem that the US gvt starts considering a regulation. For all regulations involving risks, the order requires quantification of the risk increase or decrease, along with the benefits and costs. As I have already "analyzed", we cannot show harm and thus, (health) benefits. With regard the cost, although labeling would have relatively low cost, this is why the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) favors labels on food (here is the link to wines) this cost is not comparable to the harm that has not happened. Also, let us not look at all the cost increases in other segments of the dye market where cost increase would likely occur from banning synthetic dyes overall (e.g. cost of a pair of jeans would skyrocket.) (BTW, have anybody suffered any harm from wearing jeans?). Since the cost would outplace benefits (from the point of view of the gvt, esthetic merits would not count), there is no hope to get labels on carpets. Unless the toxic substance would go up so much that we would see a reduction in the number of carpet dealers around.

Well, selective governmental protection might be possible. Just look at how successful the steel producers are in the US to ban steel import completely. But the US does not have oriental carpet industry to protect.
Since EU gvts work differently, the chances to get a protection via labels are higher in the EU. But, what do you think the result will be? Do you all remember the beef problem in Germany this summer? There are required labels on all food. Yet, when the German gvt collected wurst samples from shelves of supermarkets, it turned out that products that have not listed beef as ingredient still had beef content. Thus, labeling carpets would still require the honesty of carpet dealers. This sounds like a catch 22.

I have ignored, among many other things, the environmental harm during my analysis. Yet, there can be environmental benefits. However, one cannot forget, that the US gvt has just halted the whole Kyoto agreement. Thus, environmental harm caused by synthetic dyes will unlikely to convince the US gvt to do anything.

…though I would love to have those labels…and I know it is always easier to say why something does not work than to say that here is the solution...

Scientifically yours,

C. K.

Subject  :  Re:$$$$$$
Author  :  Steve Price mailto:%20sprice@hsc.vcu.edu
Date  :  12-11-2001 on 08:38 a.m.
Hi Csilla,

We can deal with the international politics of regulation some other time and place, but I would like to take just a moment to clarify what appears to be a misunderstanding of US laws regulating things. You are right, regulation of environmental hazards requires that such hazards be demonstrated to exist. But hazards to health and safety are not the only things subject to regulation, and fraud is illegal here even when it is not dangerous to health or safety.

As for the violations of the German laws about beef; for an American, it's comforting to know that laws get broken in other countries, too.


Steve Price

Subject  :  Re:$$$$$$
Author  :  Michael Bischof mailto:%20koek@dv-kombinat.de
Date  :  12-11-2001 on 03:25 p.m.
Dear Mrs. Klausner,

thanks for having brought in these thoughtful arguments !

Yes, of course any quality control, with or without labels, will start a race between people who want to bypass the rules and people who want to have the net finer woven. I would guess that a good control mechanism is done so that it would be more expensive to overcome it than to work according to it.
What humans have invented other humans may cheat. The art of the job would be to make cheating more expensive than working straight. Technically it is not that difficult. In 1990 we proposed a method that can read down to some nano gramms any amount of synthetic dye in a mixed dye lake. What people in the Orient do not like to hear is that it is also easy to assess synthetic Indigo.
Your detailed discussions of the different characters of governmental impacts amused me, though I feel rather than know that You might be right.
In our case a customer, even if he would get crystal clear contracts in the Near East (natural dyes mean natural dyes, excluding, e.g., synthetic Indigo or madder mixed with synthetic red) who later could present evidence that the supplying firm did not stick to the agreement, never would get the money back. Therefore, if it comes up to this point , have to guarantee technical specifications l ike these with a certificate-like contract issued in Germany, thereby subject to German law. In case I would do the same in Turkey it is a laughing stock. In other countries the cheating firm easily could prevent You even from entering the country to collect Your money.

Whatever label comes up – the best balance would be an increasing number of customers/collectors who like to move as close to the subject that they can start to see the (backyard) details, and this wish is for the dealers in first line.

The main headache that those with good intention would have to fight is the fact that real rugs and real wines can never be „instant products". And that the instant products can never be the real ones. What we need then is honest grading.

Subject  :  Re:$$$$$$
Author  :  Marvin Amstey mailto:%20mamstey1@rochester.rr.com
Date  :  12-11-2001 on 07:19 p.m.
Another comment about Csilla's essay: the hypothesis that a carpet is not toxic is not always correct. There are known cases of anthrax contracted from bales of carpets. In fact, its original name was "wool sorter's disease" (a problem for them more than the finished carpets, but nonetheless, bales of carpets harbored anthrax spores at the turn of the 20th century).

Subject  :  Re:$$$$$$
Author  :  C.K.
Date  :  12-12-2001 on 02:20 a.m.
Hi Steve,

Yes, international politics is not the concern of TurkoTek. However, I believe, my above points about regulations are relevant if one considers implementing some sort of enforceable (!) control. Otherwise all efforts to control dye quality will lead only to voluntary disclosure instead of compliance and that will not help us more than it helps us now.

I was not discussing fraud at all in my prior post. Fraud is illegal per se. There is nothing much discuss about it. Mr. Bischof's comment about making cheating more expensive than working straight is certainly the ideal state.

My goal was to point out how difficult it is, if not impossible, to get regulatory help in promoting the use of vegetal dyes and limiting/banning synthetic dyes in oriental carpet production.

Therefore, as Mr. Bischof pointed out, educating customers, increasing their awareness and expectation are important steps on the long way to success.

Mr. Bischof's experinece about cheating in those counties is frightening and my idea about business ethics in the Orient requires some adjustment.

Marvin's comment on anthrax is at least as frightening. Marvin, is this problem promts the question "Have you been exposed to wool/worked in such environment?" at every doctor' s office on questioneries that one needs to fill out here before every exam?

Best regards,


Subject  :  Re:$$$$$$
Author  :  Marvin mailto:%20mamstey1@rochester.rr.com
Date  :  12-12-2001 on 09:59 a.m.
Dear Csilla,
There hasn't been a case from a rug source in 100 years. I don't think it is a problem. The last cases in this country - before 9-11 - occurred in New England in the 60's. The source was from wool processed in a plant next door to the place where 6 or 7 people acquired anthrax. A friend of mine, Marc LaForce studied the outbreak, and, I believe, it was reported in the New england J. of Medicine. I guess the moral here is to stay up-wind of wool sorters doing their work.

Subject  :  Re:$$$$$$
Author  :  Michael Bischof mailto:%20koek@dv-kombinat.de
Date  :  12-15-2001 on 01:39 a.m.
Dear all,

the example of wine prices referred, indeed, to local prices here. - The good news: now we have icy cold weather here.
In the last two days they collected a lot of grapes for making ice wine.

Heavy instant damage from carpets nobody must fear. Infectious diseases may happen with any material, not preferably with carpets. This I do not mean in this context.
That long term use does not harm ? I question it. The fact that we do not have such research results does not mean much. Because we do not have such research. Who would be interested in that, who would pay for it ? Keep in mind that we realize an enormous increase in allergenic diseases and do not know why. The sperma quality of Western male humans has reached a historical low. Nobody knows exactly what reason it has. When the methods of raising cattle were „improved" in the 60s and 70s by applying hormones, antibiotics, protein-enriched food everybody was optimistic. Look at it now !

About 30% of the population have a deficiency in the enzyme sulifte oxygenase. These people are sensible against sulfur dioxide in wine (headaches the next morning). Their epithelia react quick against sulfur dioxide and chlorine. I am one of those.
My pleasure to enter rooms where big amounts of new carpets are stored is over, therefore. When I attend domotex or Eurotefa ( in September in Nürnberg, each year) the heavy chlorine stink in the room makes me ill. After one hour I get headaches. Aspirin does not help. What happens if one puts one of those rugs into a living room I do not know. I question that it will have no consequences. Whatever: I do not propose to stop it. The intention of the essay is: give room for those who do not want it !
The thesis is that this can be achieved only by grading and true labeling, leaarning from the way the wine market was rescued.



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