Turning a hobby into a thriving business during a global pandemic sounds like a pipe dream. But Joanna Mahserdjian has made it a reality with her Hudson-based antique rug store, Upstate Rug Supply.
The store and its success are testaments to Mahserdjian’s passion for antique rugs. Drawn to their unique history and texture, she realized she also had a natural eye for identifying genuine pieces, be they Caucasian, Persian, Turkish or tribal. Unlike vintage rugs, antique rugs are more than 100 years old, handwoven, and made from vegetable dyes (vintage rugs contain fake dyes).
While raising her three young boys, Mahserdjian began collecting antique rugs and selling to friends and through word of mouth. Over the years, she built a website, learned the basics of social media, and took the rugs online — all from her dining room.
As her reputation as an experienced antique rug dealer grew, so did her dream to evolve to a brick-and-mortar. That dream came to fruition in March 2020 when she opened The Shop — a spacious and intriguing treasure trove on Hudson’s Warren Street that she shares and co-owns with the owners of Ida’s Eye and The Modern Exchange, two female-run businesses that specialize in antique furniture and lighting.
The Shop’s grand opening should have been a time of celebration, but instead it was one of concern: It coincided with Hudson’s pandemic lockdowns. But since re-opening last June, the business is thriving. Mahserdjian’s antique rugs now adorn homes and properties in the city, across the region, and beyond, and feature in exclusive photo shoots by renowned interior designer Emily Henderson.
Mahserdjian hand-selects each rug and currently boasts an inventory of more than 300. But if she doesn’t have what you’re looking for, fear not: She’ll find it for you. Mahserdjian is a regular at flea markets, and she’s frequently contacted by collectors nationwide and people settling family estates. And for anyone wishing to take full advantage of her expert eye, she’ll happily visit your home to advise on the appropriate rug for the space being transformed.
“I love that the business has grown so organically,” says Mahserdjian. “Being in Hudson has launched me into another realm, and everyone’s been so supportive. I’ve had a great first year here, and I’m excited for another!”