The internet connects the world together and I recently heard of a new entrepreneurial way to connect those of us who love Moroccan style directly with the artisans who make the wares. The idea is to structure things so that the majority of the product price goes directly to the artisans. With all the steps to bring handmade products from around the world to us consumers, we’re often unaware that often only a small fraction of the price we pay goes to the original craftspeople. The idea is to develop a more direct connection between us and the artisans, to help them build a better sustainable income for their families and communities which are often isolated from Morocco’s popular tourist centers and shopping souks. It’s doing business while doing good — I like that idea!
First let me tempt you with some Moroccan style, then I will tell you more about MoroCrafts, the company behind the idea. These products are all for sale as part of a Kickstarter campaign. As of today’s post, there are 12 days left in the campaign — the campaign ends February 15 — and they’re already about 70% to goal!
You can get colorful teapots:
Or cute mini tagines, perfect for jewelry storage and gift giving:
And true to the spirit of the venture, here are some of the artisans who make teapots and mini tagines. MoroCrafts wants to be able to connect you directly with these craftspeople:
There are candles with shadowy glow similar to the popular pierced metal Moroccan lanterns:
The artisans are good at creating products, but they don’t necessarily know how to run a business or a packing and shipping operation. This is why there are community managers like Yasmina to help take care of those things:
The world has gone crazy for Moroccan rugs like Beni Ouarain and kilim:
Through MoroCrafts, it’s like you’re purchasing rugs directly from the artisans who make these rugs:
Lanterns as blue as the Majorelle Gardens in Marrakech:
Right now on Kickstarter until February 15, you can help support MoroCrafts’ idea — there are teapots, jewelry, handbag clutches, rugs, metal lanterns, candles, a whole variety of products for their launch. And they say the artisans are excited and can’t wait to make more! Here’s more about the venture in a video:
This isn’t just a starry dream — MoroCrafts has some serious thought and support behind the idea. I know a thing or two about entrepreneurship — my first job out of college for years was at an organization that helped entrepreneurs grow their businesses, I’ve been an entrepreneur in the past with a catalog and website during the very early days of the Internet (crazy times!) and my husband is an entrepreneur, revolutionizing how predictive analytics is done. So I know it’s important to have certain things in place beyond your dreams. MoroCrafts has knowledge about supply chain management — important when you want to develop a new way to get products from where they’re created to consumers around the world, and mentorship backing at MIT. The founder is from Morocco and served as an advisor to the Moroccan Ministry of Handicraft and Social Solidarity Economy so there’s “on the ground” knowledge.
I was drawn both to the business acumen as well as the idea of changing the situation for artisans who are isolated from the tourist shopping centers and don’t have access to sell their wares. For many of them, what they do is their only source of income. I think the fantastic thing the internet brings to the world is the ability to truly connect us all together, from our biggest cities to people in the remotest areas. You can think of this as a modern day souk — a digital souk.