It's a different world
PUBLISHED: 17:17 15 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:44 20 February 2013
Sara Barber explains how she has been planning for Christmas with a trip to Marrakesh...
Tell us about your family
I'm married with one daughter, Martha who is two, and two grown up step children, Greg and Chloe.
Do you have any pets?
I have two dogs: an elderly springer spaniel and a puppy cocker spaniel, who is destroying paper under the desk as we speak. They both come to work with me.
How are you planning to spend Christmas this year?
I am planning to spend it with my parents and my sister and her three daughters.
What do you like about where you live?
I live in the rural borders of Essex and I love the village atmosphere. I like being in the countryside and being able to step out of the back gate and take the dogs for a walk.
Where are the best views to be had in Essex?
I used to live in Belchamp Water and some of the views and walks around there are beautiful. I also used to sail around Mersea which is also quite beautiful.
What is your favourite town in Essex?
I grew up going out in Colchester; I spent a lot of my teenage years there and had one of my first jobs there, so I have fond memories of it.
What do you do for a living?
I am the managing director of The Persian Carpet Studio. We have a large showroom where we sell new, contemporary and antique handmade rugs and carpets. We also have a large restoration workshop where we restore and conserve carpets of all ages.
Where do you source your carpets?
They come from places like Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Morocco. I do all the buying myself and wherever possible I go to the country. I have even stayed with Qashqai nomads in the mountains of south west Iran.
How have you been preparing for Christmas?
I have recently been to Marrakesh sourcing accessories and smaller artefacts as well as a collection of rugs that will be available in the run up to Christmas. I bought ceramics and pots from various parts of Morocco and beautiful hand-painted furniture, lanterns and lights.
Is Christmas a particularly busy time for you?
The run-up from October to December is the busiest time of the year. People are often redecorating and trying to get projects finished before Christmas, so we are on hand to help them find the perfect carpet.
What do you love about your job?
Working with beautiful works of art. I enjoy the buying side of it; it's very exciting sourcing stock and unusual items. I also love working with customers to find them the perfect carpet.
What are your plans for the future?
At the moment we are working on the restoration department getting accreditation with the Institute of Conservation which would enable us to do more work with houses that can only use accredited conservators.
What are your hobbies?
When I have the time, painting, sewing and scuba diving.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I've been told I'm quite a good artist, but never have time to practice. When I retire I'm going to build a studio in the garden and paint.
What is your worst habit?
I'm always cutting time to the absolute last second and always running late. I try to cram too much in.
Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
I have to say my husband and my daughter.