Rugs With Heart: Meet The Women Behind Armadillo & Co



Armadillo & Co has established itself as the go-to source for beautifully crafted floor rugs that are earthy, honest and covetable. From the more rustic collections including the gorgeous Marigold and Daisy round hemp rugs (surely every stylists dream?), to the wonderfully vibrant and colourful 100% wool Designer Collection and the gorgeous Junior Collection. I would happily make my selection blindfolded – it’s all so very beautiful...

Founded by Australians Jodie Fried (now London-based) and Sally Pottharst (Adelaide) six years ago, the brand now boasts over 60 different products with stockists in Australia, the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. An incredible 1,500 artisans in India are responsible for the 100% handmade rugs, all featuring natural and sustainable fibres. “Our aesthetic is simple, timeless and classic. We created our products because we couldn’t find anything on the market, which suited our own needs for our own families and homes. We are inspired by organic textures, natural tones and landscapes, which most of our rugs resemble mini landscapes,” enthuses Fried.

Social responsibility is a backbone to the Armadillo & Co business model too with funding and education initiatives – such as The Anganwadi Project, which has built 16 preschools in six years in the biggest slums of Ahmedabad in India. “We are so passionate about the artisans who make our products that it would go against our moral fibre if we didn’t support them in ways that we know to be effective and appropriate. We fund all the operating costs of a school in our weavers area, and Jodie had established The Anganwadi Project before I met her, which is such an important grass roots initiative, and I am so happy that Armadillo is able to support that too,” said Pottharst.

The mothers and business partners are realistic about managing life, working full time and parenting full time. “I wouldn’t say it’s a balance – more of a massive see-saw. I need to remind myself that my kids come first, as sometimes the workload can be overwhelming. My husband is fantastic – we are a real team where the kids are involved – he has really adapted well as he has watched my work load and responsibilities grow,” says Pottharst.

Fried adds, “The hardest thing about being a mother? One word. Guilt. Every day, every week, each child changes and needs something different from you. It’s about making sure each child has what they need from you at that point in time. You want to give them the best you can, so it’s about accepting that you are human and you can only do the best you can (which never seems good enough!). The best thing? Too many to choose! One great thing is undoubtedly experiencing how much you can love one little person, then how much your heart can swell again for another and then one more. To top it off, is the incredible feeling when you witness the children’s love for each other. It’s truly amazing.”


L-R: Founders Sally Pottharst and Jodie Fried


How would you describe the Armadillo & Co aesthetic?

Jodie: Our aesthetic is simple, timeless and classic. We created our products because we couldn’t find anything on the market, which suited our own needs for our own families and homes. The tones we use are all natural and earthy, with the exception of our Designer Collection. We are inspired by organic textures, natural tones and landscapes, which most of our rugs resemble mini landscapes.

Sally: We endeavor to keep things as uncomplicated as possible, with timeless appeal. Our core collection is very earthy, textural and understated, and is intended to be the base to create a fabulous space.


Social responsibility is a key focus for your brand – can you tell us more about this?

Jodie: Social responsibility is the back-bone for our business. It is something Sally and I strongly believe in and we wouldn’t do it any other way. We know many of our weavers and their families who have been with us since the beginning. We support and fund a local school for more than 400 children from weavers’ families, along with a grass roots organization called ‘The Anganwadi Project’ who builds preschools for underprivileged children in slum communities in Gujarat, India.

Sally: We are so passionate about the artisans who make our products that it would go against our moral fibre if we didn’t support them in ways that we know to be effective and appropriate. We fund all the operating costs of a school in our weavers area, and Jodie had established The Anganwadi Project before I met her, which is such an important grass roots initiative, and I am so happy that Armadillo is able to support that too.


What do you love most about your job?

Jodie: I love our incredible team of people we work with, who are able to bring our vision to life. I love working with our artisans, and creating products which people need and love.

Sally: I love the team we have brought together, the fact that they are as passionate as we are about our products. I love that ideas and inspiration can come from all kinds of weird and wonderful places, that they organically grow rather than having a set formula. I love that we make a real difference in the lives of our people in India who are so talented and strive to create our vision.


Can production of the rugs keep up with the demand?

Jodie: We are trying! It’s like steering the Titanic. It has to be done slowly and with care and caution. We are dealing with people and a traditional ancient craft, not an engine in a factory.

Sally: It’s pretty hard for us, as our rugs involve multiple extremely manual processes to be made!


What does a typical day at work involve?

Jodie: I don’t really have a typical work day but right now, each day is pretty chaotic. I am currently based in London and have a new baby, so when we are not joined at the hip, I am location scouting, prepping for photo shoots, finalising design ranges, website development, online meetings with the Australia team and catching up on my overflowing inbox.

Sally: Being completely flexible and adaptable to whatever is going on in our ever-changing landscape.


What’s your favourite part of the day?

Jodie: I have two favourite parts of the day: First is when the house is quiet in the morning after my two boys have gone to kinder and our baby is asleep. I get to sit down with a cup of tea and enjoy the peace and quiet and start some of my work which has come in overnight from Australia. Then my other favourite time is when the family is together at the end of the day, just between the kids dinner and bath time where energy is high, chaotic, silly and fun, which normally ends up in an evening dance party to burn off everyone’s last bit of energy.

Sally: Picking my kids up from school and reminding myself how important those two people are to me!


How do you balance motherhood and work?

Jodie: I won’t lie. It’s definitely challenging. I have three children under the age of four, which includes two rambunctious boys, (one is four year olds and the other is two and half years old) and a new little baby girl. I love working and I love being a mother. I really appreciate my creative solo time at work and then equally love my time dedicated to being a mother. Having work and motherhood helps me be the best I can be at the other.

Sally: I wouldn’t say it’s a balance – more of a massive see-saw. I need to remind myself that my kids come first, as sometimes the workload can be overwhelming. My husband is fantastic – we are a real team where the kids are involved – he has really adapted well as he has watched my workload and responsibilities grow.


What’s the hardest part about being a mother? And what do you love best?

Jodie: The hardest thing about being a mother? One word. Guilt. Every day, every week, each child changes and needs something different from you. It’s about making sure each child has what they need from you at that point in time. You want to give them the best you can, so it’s about accepting that you are human and you can only do the best you can (which never seems good enough!). The best thing? Too many to choose! One great thing is undoubtedly experiencing how much you can love one little person, then how much your heart can swell again for another and then one more. To top it off, is the incredible feeling when you witness the children’s love for each other. It’s truly amazing. It’s also pretty special when you receive a spontaneous kiss and an “I love you Mama”.

Sally: The hardest part is not being able to be there when it matters to them.

Go to www.armadillo-co.com


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