MoroCrafts Kickstarter Campaign: A Modern Day Online Souk

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!

MoroCrafts Artisan

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:

Moroccan Teapot from MoroCrafts Kickstarter Campaign

Or cute mini tagines, perfect for jewelry storage and gift giving:

Mini Tagine from MoroCrafts

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:

MoroCrafts Artisans Creating Teapots

There are candles with shadowy glow similar to the popular pierced metal Moroccan lanterns:

Moroccan Candle from MoroCrafts

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:

Community Manager to Assist Moroccan Artisans

The world has gone crazy for Moroccan rugs like Beni Ouarain and kilim:

TIfelt Kilim Rug from MoroCraft

Through MoroCrafts, it’s like you’re purchasing rugs directly from the artisans who make these rugs:

Rug Cooperative via MoroCrafts

Lanterns as blue as the Majorelle Gardens in Marrakech:

Majorelle Blue Lanterns from MoroCrafts

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.

Follow the MoroCrafts journey to connect you with Morocco’s craftspeople on Facebook, Kickstarter (if you want to support this, hurry, the campaign ends February 15!) and their website.





Did you like this post? Don't miss out on more:

What topics interest you?


Bungalow 8 in Mumbai, Now Closer to Home

I’ve salivated over Bungalow 8’s style for a long time. It’s a home decor, fashion and jewelry store in Mumbai. The store blends India design with a style sense from all over the world. You really can’t tell this is in Mumbai — it could be London or New York.

Bungalow 8

Bungalow 8 Mumbai

Bungalow 7 Style

I like Bungalow 8 because I like mysterious, different, global mixed with industrial. Unfinished concrete walls along with finely carved wood. Gold in a little bit of rubble.

Problem is, they are in Mumbai. And when I go to India, I never get anywhere near Mumbai.

But right now Bungalow 8 products are available at ExclusivelyIn – a shopping site that brings India style to you online. Here’s a sample of the selection, but they are selling out fast, so scamper over to ExclusivelyIn if you like these:

Bungalow 8 at ExclusivelyIn

Another option is Shop Latitude which is carrying Bungalow 8 right now too. I am soooo tempted by so much there, especially the jewelry. If I were going to Cabo next weekend, I’d load up on these things:

Bungalow 8 at Shop Latitude

They have pretty blues and pinks too! I just chose the neutral things I like. Shop Latitude tells you a bit more about Bungalow 8’s design sense on their blog.

These photos of the company’s founder, Maithili Ahluwalia, show hallmarks of Bungalow 8 style: flowy dress, necklaces with big personalities, a scarf worn here as a head wrap. The style looks effortless, cool and comfortable in steamy Indian cities.

Bungalow 8 Founder Maithili Ahluwalia via Marie Claire India and The Sartorialist

l, Marie Claire India; r, The Sartorialist

If you’d like to know where Bungalow 8 pops up around the world, including pop up shops as well as online, follow them on Facebook.

 





Did you like this post? Don't miss out on more:

What topics interest you?


Marrakech Souk Shopping

I can’t remember the last time I shopped in a mall, like you know, the Great American Shopping Mall. Where everything is so shiny and new and machine manufactured and perfect. I’d far rather be where I’ve been the last few days – walking a souk like the Marrakech souks. Have a look …

Marrakech Souks

Marrakech Souk Jewelry

Marrakech Souk Lanterns

Bone Platter in Marrakech Souk

At first in places like this, your eye won’t know where to focus. It’s dripping with stuff. But go in and take a look and you will find fascinating things, like the platter above:

Souk Shopping in Marrakech

The lady who is attached to this arm bought a bunch of these enormous tassels:

Tassels in Marrakech Souk

And of course, the impossibly stacked spices:

Marrakech Spices

For the occasion, I wore what I call the “souk necklace.” I made it to look like something you’d find in the souks of Damascus (when it was safe) or Delhi or Jordan. Instead, I found the pieces of this necklace at Michaels and Etsy, and I strung them all together, and all together they make me think of a souk souvenir:

DIY Souk Necklace

I don’t know that there will be a lot of nomadic decorating going on though – I think I am here looking for something else other than a “shop till you drop” experience. What I am looking for I am not really sure. But I do believe that what you can learn about yourself when you travel is far more valuable than the stuff you can buy.

Although I did find this really cool brass faucet and it would look great in one of the India pied-a-terre’s bathrooms, whenever we get around to finishing the place. It’s exactly the look I’m going for – the Can’t Find It At Home Depot look.

Brass Faucet in Marrakech

I did not get the faucet though because what do I know about plumbing? And especially, plumbing in India. Absolutely nothing. Other than water flows through it. We are already the owners of four toilets for a place that has two bathrooms! But that is another story for another day …





Did you like this post? Don't miss out on more:

What topics interest you?


Not Your Usual Diwali Lanterns

Diwali is coming soon! This year it’s on October 23. It’s the Festival of Lights in India and more and more, it is celebrated worldwide. Little diyas, oil lamps and lanterns are used to cast the “light” of the festival around the world.

The Purple Turtles — a shop in Bangalore, India — has a unique twist for Diwali lanterns. Check these out:

Diwali Lanterns from The Purple Turtles Shop in Bangalore

Gorgeous when lit, they’re also decorative and unique when not lit:

Diwali Lanterns at The Purple Turtles Shop in Bangalore India

See more at The Purple Turtles.





Did you like this post? Don't miss out on more:

What topics interest you?