This month, we celebrate the people behind the Karastan brand. Valerie Smith began her career with Karastan in the 1950s, originally as a hand carver in Eden, North Carolina. Fast forward six decades and Valerie still remains an invaluable member of the Karastan team today, her dedication serving as proof that the legacy of the Karastan brand is a product of our people and their shared passion for creating beautiful rugs and carpets.
Valerie started out at the Eden facility as a hand carver, a role where she hand cut the rug’s pile with shears to form a pattern, before she later transitioned to winding, where she worked converting the yarn onto a cone for further processing. Though Valerie enjoyed her work, she was pleased to finally find her niche as a hand seamstress, a position she proudly still holds today.
“I love seaming rugs and turning that rug over and seeing the results,” explained Valerie. “If they didn’t have the money to pay me, I’d still come in and work!” she affirmed.
When asked what makes Karastan a special place to work, Valerie smiled and shared, “It’s all about the people.” She enjoys her coworkers and has made many special memories meeting customers throughout the years.
One memory that brought a laugh was Valerie’s recollection of a 38’ x 58’ hand seamed rug that was custom made for a private club in Florida. The customer called Karastan to see if it was okay to cut holes in the rug for their telephone lines! With hand-finished details and such quality craftsmanship, Valerie wondered why anyone would even dream of cutting holes in a Karastan rug?
With more than sixty five years of service behind her, Valerie has met many new faces, watched the styles change and then cycle back around.
“Not much has changed about the way Karastan makes rugs. They’re still the most beautiful rugs made – quality counts! Our quality has not wavered.” reported Valerie.