It all started in the summer of 2021 while visiting my family in Casablanca, Morocco. Spending my summer with everyone I loved, surfing beautiful beaches, and meeting amazing people only made me fall deeper in love with where I once called home for the first 17 years of my life. I immediately realized that I wanted to find a way to connect the country I grew up in and the U.S where I now live together.
While spending my time exploring the Old Medina of Fez and Marrakesh, I found myself completely speechless and amazed by the love, effort, and dedication different artisans put into their craft. I spent days along with my father getting lost in the Medina while listening to stories I have forgotten about spending time here as a kid. I couldn't stop myself from walking into every workshop I walked by and learn about the importance of handmade crafts to the artisans livelihood and preserving our culture.
Old Medina, Fez
After walking around endlessly, I came across an artisan named Elmoufakkir. His name means "the thinker" and his personality definitely matches his name. He is an incredibly talented artisan with some of the most beautiful and unique work I've ever seen. He warmly welcomed me into his workshop where he and his team hand-make different types of purses, wallets, backpacks, and home decor, all made from naturally sustainable materials. While looking around his shop, I couldn't help but share pictures of his work with people I know back in the U.S and they completely fell in love with his work too.
Due to the shutdowns related to Covid at the time, Elmoufakkir and many other artisans have suffered greatly. All the shops were forced to close for a year and half, and the lack of tourism due to the borders shutting down only made things worse after opening back up. While thinking about ways I could connect Morocco and the U.S together, I remembered how my friends loved Elmoufakkir's work and all asked for souvenirs from his shop when I returned. I used every bit of money I had saved up and bought as much of his work as I could, as well as the work of other artisans. Beginning this journey not only gave me hope of being able to do what I love for a living, but it also gave the artisans a glimpse of hope that things will get better.
After coming back, I realized that everything was selling faster that I could've ever imagined. I quickly realized that these pieces of handmade goods weren't only an item for purchase, but a movement to celebrate creativity, passion, and friendships. With every purchase, you are helping a community of artisans maintain consistent work, a positive work environment, and the ability to provide for their loved ones.
Giving back and helping others has been our priority since day one. With your help, we can reach more artisans all over Morocco and preserve the Moroccan craft that has been around for centuries. We are tirelessly working on finding and supporting more artisans around Morocco to make their amazing work available to the rest of the world.
Elmoufakkir (Artisan in Fez, Morocco)