The Kabul Carpet Export Center (KCEC) staged the carpet industry’s first ever real-time Virtual Afghan Rug Trade Show via ZOOM on November 17.

The 90-minute event was produced from KCEC’s U.S. base of operations in Charleston, SC, was conceived as a trial run for virtual carpet selling. It was aimed exclusively at U.S. retailers, but was seen elsewhere as well. Retailers had a 30-second opportunity to indicate their interest in purchasing a specific rug. Teams of carpet handlers quickly shifted rugs to remove the one that had been seen and bring on the next.

Some 28 carpets of the 60 shown were sold during the sale itself, with others purchased after the sale by retailers who contacted KCEC. Interest continued for several days.

About half of the actual carpets were displayed on camera with the help of a professional video and ZOOM production team engaged by KCEC. The others were shown using still photos. They were delayed enroute as a result of air freight flight cancellations caused by the pandemic. Even these sold well based on the high res photos that were produced by KCEC’s newly installed carpet photo studio in Kabul. This successful use of the photos demonstrates KCEC’s capacity to pivot to respond to changing circumstances, however challenging.

Carpets that did not sell on the day of the sale were immediately posted on KCEC’s e-commerce website: