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NEW DELHI : Luxury carpets exporter Obeetee, owned by Luxmi Tea Company that produces Makaibari tea, is going aggressive on the domestic market with the launch of new stores in the metro cities. Obeetee, which draws 80% of its business from export for hand-knotted carpets, is eyeing 10 stores in the next 3 years.

The company has launched its  second retail store in Delhi, has one outlet in Mumbai and intends to open one more in Hyderabad within the year, its chairman Rudra Chatterjee told Mint. Chatterjee is also managing director of Luxmi Tea. The company will also open retail stores in Bengaluru, Kolkata and Chennai.

Obeetee Private Ltd  is a 100% subsidiary of Luxmi Tea Company and has five subsidiaries of its own in the hand-knotted and hand-tufted carpet industry including Obeetee Retail, Obeetee Textiles. Based in Mirzapur, the company makes hand-knotted, hand-tufted and machine-made carpets primarily for corporate businesses both -- offices and hotels -- and counts hospitality brands such as Oberoi, Leela Palace and Taj Hotels among its clients.

 “The last two or three years were devastating for weavers and we ran a lot of special programmes to keep the weavers engaged. What helped us was that the demand didn’t fall at all. Many people started to spend a lot more time at home and started to take interest in our products. The Indian furniture market is also taking off now," said Chatterjee. One of the company’s subsidiaries also deals in furniture.

Chatterjee said the century-old company started selling its carpets online during the pandemic for retail customers despite being an expensive item to purchase online. The price of the company’s carpets can go up to 10 lakh.

Obeetee’s new store launch in Delhi is accompanied with the launch of a new collection in tie-up with designer JJ Valaya that is inspired by Kashmir and Marseille, France, using jamawar fabric. Although the designer has ‘The Valaya Home’ for home furnishings, it will be his first time designing carpets. “This is a natural fit for us with a legacy brand with right parameters. Creating a good design is one part of the story but to be able to produce it in the same spirit and sell it is an area where both our brands are well married," said Valaya.

To be sure, Obeetee has tied up with designers like Raghavendra Rathore, Abraham & Thakore, Tarun Tahiliani and Shatanu & Nikhil for its carpet collections in the past.

According to an earlier report by ratings agency ICRA, Obeetee’s operating income had increased to Rs. 538.4 crore in FY2021 from Rs. 509.5 crore in FY20 with improved demand from the end consumers. It said exports contribute more than 80% to the turnover of the handmade carpet business.  The company also has tie-ups with wool yarn manufacturers and has artisans in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

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