Hi, I'm  Max Önder.


As a founder of Karavan, I was born on a coastal town of Black Sea of Turkiye.  At about 17, I came to Istanbul, the city I fell in love with. 

After my military service, I was given the opportunity to work with one of the most creative minds in the antique and new carpet business, who also had
happened to be a very successful banker, who graduated from the London School of Economics.  Because of his diverse interests in other businesses, he needed a very reliable manager.  Of course, I had no experience in this kind of trade due to the fact that in the area I grew up, there was no carpet weaving, but mainly hazelnut traders and fishermen. 
Those were the things I was familiar with.  I must say that I had the spirit of an entrepreneur even while at the elementary school, (I used to collect snails from nettle plants very early in the morning with the help of morning dew and sell them to dealers then who would sell them to France).

The Story of Karavan

Banker Celal wanted me to learn the trade by encouraging me to read antique & collectable carpet books and comparing the colors and wool quality of those written about to the ones we had in his massive collection.  At the same time, I have met many world-famous dealers, scholars, and collectors from all around the world.  One of those dealers convinced me to come and work for him in NY in his wholesale antique and newly produced high quality
carpet business.  In the beginning, there were choices of going to London or Vianna to study English to communicate with
Celal’s massive international clientele/friends.

Apparently, I had a natural knack for recognizing fake pieces apart from the real color and wool quality, estimating the age of a rug. 

Eventually, I ended up in NYC until our HQ was moved to Philly.  My sponsors were the dealer and the famous
Prf. Henry Glassie.

While in Philly, I was sent to UPenn to take English and Culture classes.  It happened that my ex-bride was also doing her MS there. 

After certain reasons, I quit and we moved to Ohio, where she continued her PhD., while I restarted my unfinished degree at OSU.  We did not have enough funds and there was a
recession, so I started my own carpet business there in 1992 to finish our degrees.

After a year, I closed the store, continued selling, not only rugs but other unique items to my established clientele to finish collage.

Finally, we settled in Annapolis, MD. I reopened Karavan there, while she continued her PhD.

Although I loved unique new or antique rugs, (I have my own collection not for sale as well), I wanted to reduce the store inventory on rugs and diversify our portfolio with mostly handcrafted products, such as antique or new pottery, jewelry, lanterns, copper and more.

Since the carpets we carry are so unique and one of a kind, their buyers are also very unique and one of a kind. 
It is an art with soul, passion, will and emotions, (I am not talking about the mass production rugs made in China, India or in refugee camps by
taking advantage of those desperate people in the name of helping them, but paying the least amount).

Rug Making

These rugs were woven vertically by pulling the knots down. As a result, if one looks against the pile (the direction the rug was knotted) it looks darker, however, from the opposite direction the rug looks lighter. This effect can be more or less pronounced depending on the lighting.

The specialized knotting technique used to produce these rugs requires gentler hands and therefore are typically woven by women. This is a great source of income and helps create gender equality in pay to Turkish villagers. Importantly, children’s hands are not utilized in the production of these rugs, child labor is strictly forbidden in Turkey.

Larger antique rugs were mostly commissioned by local dignitaries or Europe’s affluent class. As such, the materials used in these rugs are of the highest quality.

For those of you who may have allergies to carpets, it is important to know that none of our rugs contain wool that is bleached. The chemicals used in bleaching wool are what cause a majority of carpet related allergies.

Remember that each rug has history and meaning behind each symbol, color, and design and I am happy to share my knowledge of them.