Learn more about how our business started.
Najaf Rugs & Textiles was established in 2002 by Najaf Mazari. Najaf is an afghan refugee who fled from Mazar-E-Sharif in Afghanistan to Australia by boat. With the never ending war and wanting a better life, leaving Afghanistan was a necessary move.
Najaf paid a people smuggler $3500 (US) to bring him to Australia in 2001. He travelled by car to Pakistan, then by plane to Indonesia where he boarded a small fishing vessel with 96 other asylum seekers. What followed was a nauseating nine-day voyage that almost ended in disaster when their engine broke down whilst a cyclone was near when the Australia Navy spotted the boat. He was incarcerated in Woomera Detention Centre for four months whilst his case was being assessed. To pass the hours, he got a job in the kitchen where he was paid $1 an hour.
Originally from Mazar-e-Sharif in Northern Afghanistan. Najaf learnt the art of rug making at only 12 years old. Learning a trade was important to Najaf’s oldest brother who became the father of the household when his father suddenly passed away. As they could not afford to send him to school, learning a trade was the next best thing to help him provide an income.
Having being released from detention centre, he arrived in Melbourne with a temporary protection visa and an uncertain future; he opened up a rug shop on 461 High St, Prahran. With no money, no English and no rugs, he became well known for his high quality repairs.
This worked out well as at the time there were no other handmade rug repairers. Within two weeks the word was out. Everyone had heard about that repair man from Afghanistan, in which many rug dealers rang Najaf and asked him to work for them.
From there, his business launched into what it is today. An authentic and honest Afghan rug shop, that offers Afghan tea to every customer.
Najaf also had the amazing opportunity to publish books with co-writer Robert Hillman; The Rug Maker of Mazar-e-Sharif and The Honey Thief and soon-to-be third book. Both of the books have been best sellers still continue to do well till this day.
Najaf’s first book (The Rug Maker) was on the VCE book list for 3 years, which then got extended for another 3 years. Najaf was nominated for Australian of the Year Awards 2014 and also has had a portrait entered into the Archibald by artist Phillip Howe.
His business still continues to do well.
Najaf aged 26 applying finishing touches to a Turkmen Rug
|Najaf during the weaving process of a rug|