Famous for colorful souks where artisans peddle handmade goods, Morocco hasn't been spared the effects of Westernization. To help keep the craftsmanship heritage alive, Aimee Bianca and her Moroccan husband Chafiq Ennaoui came up with Beldi, a country-specific online shop highlighting select housewares and accessories. Explaining they noticed "more and more cheap plastic stuff from China in peoples' homes" when visiting Morocco, the pair not only expose the country's finely crafted objects to the world, they also give online shoppers a fresh destination for items that are often difficult to source.
Spanning classic Moroccan rugs to bathwares and leather accessories, Bianca says because Ennaoui grew up in the medina of Marrakech, "almost everything we have is from people Chafiq knows personally, some of the artisans he originally knew through his grandfather or since he was a child." Future inventory will include items from different areas around the country, tapping each region's distinct artistry.
Similar to stores such as Kiosk, RS Too and even Opening Ceremony, part of Beldi's appeal comes from finding artisans who would not otherwise be able to sell beyond their geographical border, bringing their skills into the limelight. But because of the way Moroccans conduct business—"everything's done by bargaining, and can be a long process of meeting multiple times, drinking tea and finally coming to an agreement"—Bianca and Ennaoui also serve as gateway to a buying process the average tourist wouldn't always experience.
With aspirations to one day be as all-encompassing as Lisbon's famed A Vida Portuguesa boutique, Beldi is already starting off as a beautiful celebration of a culture with a long history of handmade goods and artisinal craftsmanship. Keep an eye out for more to come from the many regions around Morocco.