One of the most time consuming parts of Life Out of the Box is developing & creating new unique handmade products with artisans in each country. Knowing this through our experience in Nicaragua and Guatemala, we decided to tackle the task right away in Morocco. We began asking everyone we met in Marrakech for any leads on potential artisans we could work with.
Our new Italian friend suggested that we meet her good friend named Aziz who had a beautiful store in the medina and worked with several other artisans throughout Morocco.
We met with Aziz at his shop and hit it off with him right away. He was a very nice guy who spoke a bit of English and Spanish so communication with him was fairly easy—a super important factor, we’ve learned, when trying to do business in a foreign country. We talked with him for a bit about what we were looking for, the unique aspects of our products, what his skills were and what we do with the bracelets after we sell them. He loved the concept and wanted to help in anyway that he could.
As we talked that morning, he made us tea and brought us traditional Moroccan msemen (fried delicious bread) with cheese to share and eat together. For hours, we sat outside of his store in the fondouk on little chairs, talked and ate like we were locals. His family produced handmade olive oil so he shared some with us to dip our bread in—it was the best olive oil we had ever tasted.
After getting a good idea of what we needed and understanding how he could help us, we decided that he and Jonathon would get together the next morning to meet with his friends who could help us get the materials and tools we needed.
As many of you know, on each Life Out of the Box product we engrave our brand LOOTB into the leather tags and also hand stamp each bracelet with a unique number to allow our supporters to view the exact child that they gave school supplies to (see examples of bracelets on our store).
This aspect of our business is very different and making sure that each product has it’s own individual number is quite labor intensive. We therefore wanted to get that part of the Moroccan products figured out first, so that we could focus the rest of our time on creating new designs. Aziz had some great ideas and we couldn’t wait to work with him. The next week would be filled with lots of work and sweat, but we couldn’t wait to get started.