Lorena Canals is known for her clever idea of washable rugs. She creates wonderful cotton rugs and wool rugs that you can pop into the washing machine to clean. These are perfect for kids’ bedrooms and play areas which is why mums love them. It is such a brilliant idea that we all want washable rugs for our kitchens, dining rooms, bedrooms and living rooms. Lorena also makes other textiles, including blankets, cushions, poufs, baskets and wall decor. Join me as I catch up with Lorena Canals to find out about her incredible washable rugs and textiles.
Meet Lorena Canals
Lorena explains how her business got off to a quick start. “I studied at the American School of Barcelona (ASB), where I graduated in Industrial Design. I got my business off the ground at the age of 18. My father and grandfather always had their own businesses, which inspired me, so I guess it runs in the family! I’m proud to say that I am a self-taught and self-financing businessperson.”
Today, Lorena runs the business with her family; she tells me, “I work with my husband (José Manuel Román) and daughters (Olimpia and Carolina, also founders of Oli&Carol). We all play a key role in the everyday functioning of the company. My husband has more of a general management role, and my daughters are involved in marketing and communications.”
Lorena is the Head of Design; however, that’s not her only role. She reveals, “I also look over every aspect of the business. I enjoy a 360-degree view of things and have my say in everything! It’s my nature to be on top of things, and I enjoy it that way. I am creative down to every detail in my business, from the product design to the packaging solutions. All in all, I am a very practical person, from the running of the business to my designs. You can’t get more practical than a washable rug!”
Twenty years ago, Lorena started the business from the home garage. Lorena says, “today, our main office headquarters and warehouse are in Barcelona with a team of 33 employees. Our warehouse is in New Jersey, the USA, making it easy for us to deliver our products worldwide. We also own a factory and warehouse in India with 150 artisans employed under fair trade conditions. It is important to me that I provide employment opportunities for women in India. Our female artisans in the factory make all the intricate details that finish off a rug from fringes to tassels and embroidery. We give back to our charity cause through the Sakûla Project, providing schooling opportunities to underprivileged children in northern India.”
The big business idea happened twenty years ago with washable rugs for kids’ rooms. Lorena elaborates, “the idea dawned on me while I watched my daughters play when they were small. I wondered why this kind of product was not available in the market. So, I made up my mind to create it myself. At first, manufacturers did not understand my idea. It had to be a flexible, cotton rug that can be cleaned in the washing machine. Other mothers quickly caught onto the idea and asked for the rugs in the shops.’
Lorena now manufactures the rugs herself; she says, “I started my factory in India to offer the rugs at a competitive price. I was tired of the idea of rugs being a luxury product – something rigid, expensive and high maintenance. Not only did I want to help mums, but I also wanted to make rugs available to everyone with the added benefit of easy care.”
View The Lorena Canals Collection
Lorena is known for her adorable collection of textiles from rugs to baskets, blankets, poufs, wall decoration and cushions. She doesn’t follow trends; she prefers to make textiles for everyone with a focus on mothers. Her passion is working with natural raw materials, and she tells me, “my rugs and textile accessories are all-natural cotton and wool. Two years ago, I even developed a technique to make my wool rugs washable too. Because my rugs are washable, they can be placed in a kid’s bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and or the garden.”
Sustainability is essential to Lorena; she expands, “we follow sustainable practices not only using natural materials but also non-toxic dyes, in order not to pollute the environment. With our recently launched RugCycled® collection, we also achieved zero waste, saving up to 90% of water in its production. We give a second life to our cotton textile residue, scraps and leftovers, which are upcycled to create new pieces with a recycled yarn canvas and tufted in undyed cotton. I love to take on new challenges, and RugCycled® meant a challenge to find a way to recycle and upcycle our textile residue.”
The washable cotton rugs include Berber patterns in a neutral palette with more colourful options. Aztec prints are also favoured, as are botanical leaves. Other designs include stars, polka dots, clouds, zigzags, tie-dye, terrazzo, stripes, lobsters, cacti and more. Styles include modern, geometric, Nordic, vintage, bohemian, ethnic, classic, nature and animals. Some rugs are cut in silhouettes like monstera leaves; others are rectangles, circles or runners. Quite a few of the designs are created for the nursery, but you will find plenty of grown-up options too. The washable wool rugs (Woolable) collections include Africa, Bohemian, Fields, Free Your Soul and Hopie. Lorena has collaborated with Regina Giménez and Donna Wilson, which you will find on her website.
Lorena tells me about her design inspiration, “I find inspiration for my designs everywhere around me, from nature to the colours of India. I see rugs everywhere! I consider myself a frustrated artist, so making rugs is the closest thing to painting on a canvas for me!”
Although many people may be familiar with Lorena’s washable rugs, she makes other cute textiles. The cushions are also washable, and designs include stars, heart and rocket shapes. Patterns range from Berber styles to botanical leaves. Lorena’s textile wall decorations are a brilliant way to add texture and colour to a wall. Designs include Moroccan types, tie-dyed and geometric wall hangings. The pompom garlands are pretty cute. I love Lorena’s baskets; some have tassels, others carrying handles, and some have a lid. Whether you want to use them in the kid’s room, your home office or the living room, they are fabulous and functional.
Where To Buy Lorena Canals Products
To find out more, visit the Lorena Canals website. The prices for Lorena’s rugs are reasonable because she has strived to reduce the manufacturing costs. As the rugs are washable, they will look pristine for longer. Here is an overview of price points (converted from euros to sterling) – Cotton Rugs £50.90 – £232.09, Wool Rugs £99.22 – £858.47, Blankets and Throws: £33.65 – £81.96, Poufs £42.28 – £145.81, Cushions £21.57 – £50.90 and Garlands £15 – £33.65. I hope you find something adorable to buy.
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Lorena Canals.