When Jodie Met Sally: The Armadillo Origin StoryWords by Morgan Goldberg
When Harry Met Sally might be the perfect rom-com, but when Jodie (Fried) met Sally (Pottharst)—that's the quintessential brand origin story.
The women were introduced while living in Adelaide, Australia and immediately hit it off. Instead of proposing marriage, Sally proposed a business partnership: “She approached me with the idea of designing a product that we just couldn’t find back then for our own homes,” Jodie remembers. “We wanted to create rugs that were beautifully enduring, had impeccable quality, would start a conversation, but not steal the show.”
In 2009, Jodie and Sally officially launched Armadillo, a luxury rug brand with a focus on craftsmanship and sustainability. Eventually, Jodie and her family moved to the United States, so the two founders expanded to a new market and have since opened showrooms in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco. Today, Armadillo’s rugs are beloved for their combination of organic materials, earthy palettes, and rich textures, both stateside and down under.
Our design philosophy
Jodie: Our philosophy is one of “quiet living,” which embraces the principles of slow design and the notion of purchasing less, but purchasing well. We want to create thoughtful and intuitive products that satisfy real human needs, act as ever-present reminders of our interconnectedness, and guide us towards a more sustainable future.
What inspires us
Sally: Honestly, inspiration can strike in all facets of life—from nature, like the bark flaking off trees or the gentle grooves of rock formations, to artisanal crafts and textiles, art and film, even glimpses from our travels.
What differentiates our products from the rest
Jodie: Our collections are sourced from natural fibers like silk, wool, linen, and jute, and crafted by hand using traditional, energy-efficient processes with the intent of being kinder to people and the planet. We feel strongly about choosing natural fibers, especially if you are living with them against your skin. Man-made fibers are so damaging to the environment and full of chemicals that can be harmful to human health.
Sally: We’re proud to say that every single one of our rugs is affixed with a Declare Label from the International Living Future Institute, which is recognized globally for its strict requirements. The label outlines exactly how the rug was made, what it is made of, and where it will go at the end of its lifespan. It also verifies that our rugs meet the highest standards for being free of toxic VOCs and Red List chemicals.
Where our products are made
Jodie: Our collections involve a myriad of styles and techniques, so we work with a range of artisans in India according to their skill set. Each community has a specialty—one might have expertise in flat weaves, while another is known for more intricate hand knots.
Our biggest “pinch-me” moment
Jodie: In 2021, Armadillo became the first American and Australian rug brand to be certified as a B Corp. It was a huge milestone for us to join a community of thousands of like-minded businesses who are spurring each other on to tackle the world’s most pressing issues.
Sally: Our main motivation in aligning ourselves with these third-party standards of sustainability, social responsibility, and transparency was to give our customers the confidence to know that they are investing in a truly ethical product.
The place that most accurately represents our brand
Jodie: Australia. Armadillo is an Antipodean brand, which is truly reflected in our designs. While Aussies have a deep appreciation for natural beauty, they like things that are practical and made to be enjoyed. Likewise, our rugs reflect a timeless elegance, but are unquestionably designed for everyday use.
What we’re most excited to bring to Showroom
Sally: We recently launched Eden, inspired by the charms of the Mediterranean—namely its heavenly frescoes. Eden is woven from hand-dyed wool for a rich hue and lusciously soft handle that reflects the light. It really is a promenade for barefoot luxury that elevates the home into a true escape.
What we’re working on right now
Sally: Lately, we’ve been exploring unexpected ways to create texture visually. For example, in one rug, we’ve mixed wool and silk fibers to add a subtle luster, and in another, we’ve alternated color and neutrals to land on this unique depth you can’t quite pinpoint.
Jodie: We are in the process of relocating our Los Angeles showroom and cannot wait to unveil the new flagship this fall. The space is light, airy, and architectural, with more space to showcase our full range of rugs and collection highlights.