“If you work hard in this country, and you are honest, you can reach whatever you want." — Hedayat Mukhtarzada
For years, Joanne Aaronson allowed her cats to play with the fringe on her silk and wool rug. After the cats died, she took the rug to Art Connection Oriental Rugs for repair. Aaronson says the fix wasn’t cheap, but it was done right. Owner Hedayat Mukhtarzada special ordered the silk and rewove the fringe on the 40-year-old rug.
“They did a good job,” Aaronson says. “It was a difficult job. They seemed like they had a lengthy history in the business.”
Aaronson’s impression of Mukhtarzada was spot on. He got his start in the imported rug industry when he was 17 years old. After fleeing the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s and moving to New York City with his family, Mukhtarzada’s brother suggested they look for work in a familiar industry.
“Back home, most people know how to make rugs,” Mukhtarzada says. “You want to do something which you know. Thank God it’s worked.”
Mukhtarzada secured an apprenticeship with rug makers in New York City to gain a better appreciation for the quality, intricate details and patterns in rugs. It’s an appreciation that’s apparent in the way he treats each rug with delicate care.
“It’s like art,” Mukhtarzada says.
Eventually, Mukhtarzada married and moved to Falls Church, Virginia, where he opened Art Connection Oriental Rugs. He says he chose Falls Church because his wife has family in the area, and for the short commute to work, which allows him to spend more time with his family. Like Mukhtarzada, other family members left New York City and opened Oriental rug businesses in different states.
“If you work hard in this country, and you are honest, you can reach whatever you want,” says Mukhtarzada, who became a U.S. citizen in the late 1980s. “You work. You make your money. If you don’t do anything wrong, nothing is going to bother you.”