Moroccan Essaouira is a magnificent city which faces the Atlantic Ocean and its outbursts.
Two years ago I accompanied the surfer who is dear to me, he in search of the most beautiful wave like each of his acolytes who devote themselves to this sort of initiatory rite full of legends and unconfessed admirers of Point Break, me looking for rest and inspiration between two collections. For this, Essaouira is a magical place, at the crossroads of so many influences and multiple vibrations. It is reported that Jimi Hendrix and Cat Stevens made stays there, also in search of all kinds of inspiration or, more surely, of various inhalations. The vapors of these hippie times have dissipated, mass tourism took their place until the cursed virus grounded the planes and returned the city to its inhabitants, deprived for the moment of the tourist windfall but still rich in their dignity, their simplicity and the practice of ancestral trades, fishing, commerce, marquetry, basketry.
Two years ago, it was precisely while strolling through the Medina, which conceals this subtle alchemy, made of cosmopolitanism, nonchalance, mazes and mixed perfumes, that I met Saïd.
I was there in search, of relaxation perhaps, but also of an artisan basket maker, with in mind the idea, still a little vague, of adding a beautiful basket full of sunshine and softness to our collections.
However, in Morocco, basketry and carpet making belong to the nobility of artisans who have passed down this wonderful know-how for millennia. In the Medina of Essaouira there are many who practice their art. Twenty times I have had to stop to chat with one of these exceptional skill holders. Each time I left blown away but undecided, until I met Saïd. As is often the case in my case, before committing commercially, instinct and the good old human factor replace any form of call for tender or competition on a rational and methodical basis. With him, you will know why we immediately found ourselves in complicit territory, passionate entrepreneurs and craftsmen, him like me. I believe that he was sensitive to the fact that I took a sincere interest in his life and his profession with a view to producing unique baskets, bearing my Brand, not to buy a lot intended for resale with a margin. I was not a casual tourist, but a colleague who had come from Paris to talk about joint projects. However, Saïd's productions were - and still are - beautiful and careful.
Saïd practices basketry naturally and with undiminished passion. He uses rushes and palm leaves collected before they go to the landfill. He also runs a sort of workers' cooperative which allows women in need to live with more dignity.
I persist in saying that I do not believe in coincidences, you know that, but meeting 3000 kilometers from my base an entrepreneur gifted with empathy, who creates beauty, does good and does it well , while applying my credo - zero waste - takes the place of enchantment. I swore to myself when I left to develop a collaboration with Saïd.
Now is the time to work with Saïd and this moment is especially opportune. Covid and tourist desertion have tragically affected our Moroccan friends, much more than us. I would like to give a boost to his cash flow by now ordering baskets that will nicely enhance our summer collection.
But that's not all, I had one more idea in mind. I went back to see Laurent Audouin, of Maison Audouin & Fils in the suburbs of Cholet, he who superbly designed Serge, our now iconic bag. He spontaneously embraced the idea of “customizing” our baskets by adorning them with the most beautiful of his leathers.
I hope that, like me, you will see it as an intelligent win-win relocation act.
Our baskets are so much more than accessories. Let's leave the geopolitical tirades to others, but my conviction as an entrepreneur is deep. The necessary re-localization in our beautiful country of certain productions does not mean withdrawing into oneself to the detriment of those poorer than oneself. It means taking advantage of all talents in the search for an ethic of action that respects fundamental human rights and the environment, otherwise... what's the point? With our basket on your arm, you will travel further than you imagine. As it is full of sunshine and kindness, we named it Tipasa , a tribute to another neighboring shore and to the one who celebrated it in a sublime way.
….Standing in the light wind, under the sun which heats only one side of our face, we watch the light descend from the sky, the sea without a wrinkle…
(excerpt from “Noces à Tipasa” by Camus….naturally)
Take care of yourself always.