Story by Anna Bentley
Photos courtesy Homespice Decor
“Some people leave their work at the office,” says Junior Gupta, founder of Tucker-based Homespice Decor. “My work is part of my home, in the living room, the kitchen, the bathroom and even outside.”
Gupta’s work is an extensive line of handcrafted braided rugs and coordinating home accessories. Founding the family-owned company nearly 20 years ago was almost instinctual — “Everyone in my family has a business; it’s in our genes,” he says — but it also reflects a family trade that spans generations.
“Homespice’s legacy with textiles began four generations ago, when my great-great grandfather filled a bullock cart with textiles and set out to start a business,” he says. Gupta fuses his family’s expertise and legacy in textiles with traditional American folk art designs and motifs, offering home accessories in colors and designs to fit any decorating style.
Though the company’s products span stair treads to table runners, rugs are its main focus. “Rugs are great because they’re more than just something that looks nice,” says Gupta. “While they do add a nice splash of color or contrast to a room and floor space, they’re also useful. When placed under a dining room table, they can keep feet warm against a cool floor. When placed on a porch, they can be a great place to wipe feet so as not to track in mud and dirt.
“In either place, they can truly transform a space — whether indoors or outdoors — into something beautiful and comfortable.”
The company’s newest line of rugs and home accessories — released this year — features bright, vibrant colors and new patterns, says Homespice’s president, Falguni Patel. “For the 2017 collection, we’ve come up with a very different color concept. We have all of these bright, summer colors — blues, dark blues, light blues,” she says.
The collection includes a farmhouse line in classic, earthy color combinations of red, navy, tan, ivory and green in a vertical stripe, a new design for the company. Homespice’s farmhouse rugs — and many of its other products — are made of jute, a natural, durable fiber.
And the technique the company uses to handcraft each rug lends a distinctive look, says Patel: “Each braid is very unique. It has a different pattern in it; it’s not just a green or white. It’ll have greens and a little bit of red. It gives it a different look when the rug is actually made.”
Rugs are available in sizes ranging from 20 inches by 30 inches up to 8 feet by 10 feet; the half-moon line also offers 18-inch by 29-inch semicircle rugs perfect for entryways in 10 color combinations ranging from browns and greens to warm oranges and reds.
For environmentally minded customers, Homespice also offers an ecofriendly ultra wool line in bright, summer colors. “They look and feel like wool, but they’re not actually wool,” says Patel. “They’re made from 99 percent recycled water bottles.” These indoor/outdoor rugs are also resistant to stains, mold and mildew, she says.
Homespice’s ultra wool line isn’t its only socially conscious product, though. Gupta launched Ninja Girl, a line of “karma-positive” handbags, messenger bags and wristlets, in 2016 after a move to India highlighted an epidemic of violence against women.
“As I moved to India I noticed that there is a huge problem of crimes against women,” he says. “As I spent time on this issue, I have also realized that many of the victims are at the margins of society and have no help.”
So, he decided to help them. In 2015, he worked with lawmakers and activists to help pass India’s Juvenile Justice Act, which allows juveniles over the age of 16 to be tried as adults for heinous crimes and streamlines adoption processes in the country, among other measures.
To further combat issues of violence against women, Gupta started Ninja Girl — and pledged to donate 10 percent of all Ninja Girl proceeds to women’s safety initiatives where the bags are made (India, currently). Donated funds will help create standardized rape evidence kits (barely existent in India, Gupta says) and get completed rape kits tested more quickly.
“We are bringing awareness and raising funds for efforts to protect, serve and provide justice for victims of violence against women,” says Gupta.
Ninja Girl’s handbags feature bright, bold patterns; wanderlust-inspired designs; and vibrant mixes of colors and patterns. As sales grow, Gupta sees the worldwide impact swelling as well: “As these handbags get shipped around the country, thousands of people get to read about what we’re trying to do. Through our website, they get to read about victims, (read about) real-world challenges and make real-world impact.”
Homespice products can be found in home decor stores throughout north Georgia, as well as through online retailers like Amazon and Wayfair.com. And all Homespice rugs and accessories — including the Ninja Girl line — are available at homespice.com.