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Sylka Carpets stands out from other nominees for the Luxury Lifestyle Awards Middle East & Africa 2016. And not only due to their innovative approach to producing faux-silk carpets or unusual commercial success but also because the company has already won the Golden Crown in 2015. Today we decided to take a short interview with the founder of the company Steve Farrell and find out more about the company and its current goals and plans.

We know that started your career in the age of 13. Is it true? How did it happen? Why carpets?

I started working as a Saturday boy in a local carpet shop at the age of 13. My duties were to keep the sales area and sampling tidy, help with deliveries, and generally help out when needed.

One day I was asked to go out and help the carpet fitter when he was let down by his boy, after spending the day with him I knew that this was what I wanted to do as a career.

Carpets are just something that I did from a young age and I became really passionate about them, I worked every moment I could and I believe starting at such a young age gave me the skill set that has been the foundation of my career.

How did you realize you are ready to build your own brand in 1990 with Borderline and then again when you founded SYLKA Carpets?

It was just the right time in my life. I knew the carpet trade inside out and having worked from such a young age I became very knowledgeable, I have always focus on the highest levels of craftsmanship and quality service which meant that we were ideally suited to the luxury interior design market which is why Borderline Carpet Planning Services Ltd was formed.

Having spent over 20 years servicing interior designers, we built up a reputation that is second to none.

In recent years we found that there was a high demand for pure silk, bamboo viscos, banana viscose, and cotton viscos carpets all of these organic products have issues, silk is extremely expensive and all of the organic products i.e. viscose’s do not wear well and are arguably not fit for purpose due to the lack of cleaning properties and shedding.

After numerous complaints regarding the durability of the above we decided to try and create a fibre that was durable and one that could be easily cleaned which is why SYLKA was created.

We then set out to develop the NuSilk™ fibre system we knew that it had to be unique. NuSilk™ boasts a more compact, high tenacity molecular structure than natural and organic fibre options resulting in a product that will resist fibre loss due to abrasion and will not experience shedding or pilling common in natural fibres all of our products possess high resiliency, allowing increased resistance to pile crush or “walk out” common in floor coverings made of natural and organic fibres.

How much time and efforts did it take you to launch SYLKA carpets? Did you have the team ready to help you back then?

A lot of effort went into the launch of SYLKA and it required a truly global effort to get the brand out there. However, it quickly gained a reputation as a market leader in the faux-silk luxury carpet sector.

Luckily for us we had a great team behind us that knew the product inside out and how best to take it to market, having a PR Company on board was crucial in the early success of SYLKA. Backed up with our network of high-net-worth clientele that we had made through our years at Borderline, we were soon seeing immense growth in the business, both in the UK and overseas.

Tell us the success story of SYLKA carpets. Are you satisfied with it? Were you sure that SYLKA carpets will succeed? Did it happen because of using innovative NuSilk fibres only?

I love our collection at SYLKA, but to say we are completely satisfied would not be realistic we are always looking for new ways to innovate and improve our products there are no guarantees that anything is going to be a success but we were quietly confident, our market research showed there was a definite demand for our products NuSilk is the innovation behind SYLKA and our success would not have been possible without out it.

Our fibre system (NuSilk) makes our range of carpets and rugs easy to maintain, anti-allergenic, hardwearing and resilient to sun damage while still retaining the luxurious look and feel of pure silk.

What are your current plans for SYLKA? Are you going to expand your business somehow? Do you think of launching a new brand again?

This year we are launching our New Cashmere, Stipple, and New Linen ranges, these are very different to our previous offerings and they have been designed to keep up with current trends in the market. Our Cashmere and Stipple collections in particular have a very deep lustre, which very few competitors can match.

In 2015 we continued to expand in the Middle East with the launch of our new production facility in Dubai; we have also invested in fabulous new show room in the Gold and Diamond Park, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai.

Our decision to set up the facilities in Dubai was because we could see that it was an expanding market especially after Dubai winning the Expo 2020, the UAE is perfectly positioned as a hub for India and Africa and what better way to thank the Luxury Lifestyle Awards for the prestigious award we received in 2015 where we were crowned National Brand of the UAE by showing our commitment in the region.

What's about competition in your industry? Do you think it is active enough? Does it affect how you do your business? Are there any other innovations offered except your NuSilk?

When we first started there was no completion and really up until the end of last year there was no company that could even come near to replicating the luxurious feel and durability of our carpets, even now most of our rivals cannot match our quality and they are really struggling to catch up.

This puts us in a leading position in the luxury sector where people are willing to pay a little more for quality items and service; we have even found ourselves overtaking the real silk carpet competition, which is really exciting.

SYLKA carpets has been winning a lot of awards lately. How do they affect your business and sales?

In 2015 we won a number of awards and overall it was a very successful year, we mainly worked with interior designers, specifiers and architects and having awards backing up our products helped us to confirm that it is an investment worth making for their clients.

Quite often people will mention a specific award when they enquire and it is good to have that backing to help push the sales forward.

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