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Walker and Christie Join Rugmark

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RugMark USA announced the addition of two key staff to its business development team. Scott Welker has joined RugMark as Director, Business Development and Michael Christie will provide business development consulting services. “Scott and Michael will help us fulfill our mission to end child labor sooner,” said Nina Smith, Executive Director of RugMark USA. “RugMark’s success hinges on more rug companies agreeing to random, surprise inspections in South Asia and contributing to our schools and other programs in weaving communities. Scott and Michael will bring considerable expertise and focus to this effort.” Scott will concentrate on recruiting rug importers and retailers to the RugMark program to increase the U.S. market share of RugMark certified rugs. RugMark’s goal is to build market share to 15 percent, the estimate tipping point to eliminate child labor on an industry-wide basis. In addition, Scott will liaise with existing RugMark licensees and marketing partners to help optimize their RugMark membership. As sales of RugMark certified rugs increase, child labor on South Asian carpet looms will decrease. Michael will work with Scott in building relationships with marketing partners and retailers and train showroom staff to assist them in using the RugMark certification as a sales tool. Testimonials from RugMark members indicate that describing RugMark to clients at the point-of-sale helps to close approximately 20 percent of sales. Scott has considerable private sector expertise in marketing, operations, sales and product management, as well as offshore experience managing brands and developing business overseas. Most recently, he served as Consultant/President to GnB LLC where he managed the creation and launch of an e-commerce website. Previously, Scott was President of ESM Holdings, Inc. where he managed sales and marketing operations and tripled revenue during his tenure. Michael has dedicated his career to the handmade rug business. He is currently a Purveyor at Nungester Christie Carpets and previously was a consultant to Lapchi Hand-woven Decorative Carpets, a RugMark licensee. While working with Lapchi, Michael oversaw the introduction of AtelierLapchi concept showrooms across North America and served as Lapchi’s RugMark Liaison. Before joining Lapchi, Michael spent a decade at Classic Oriental Rugs of Cleveland, Ohio, most recently in the role of Showroom Manager. About RugMark: RugMark is an international nonprofit organization working to end exploitative child labor in the carpet industry and give educational opportunities to children in India, Nepal and Pakistan. The RugMark label offers the best assurance that no illegal child labor was used in the manufacture of a carpet or rug. A list of importers and retailers that sell RugMark certified rugs is available at www.RugMark.org.

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