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July 25, 2019 4 min read

Zineb and Rim, founders of Moroccan Birds, always loved jewelry since they inherited this passion from their mother. They wanted to create a line of jewelry entirely handmade by Moroccan artisans. However, Zineb and Rim realized that traditional jewelry techniques were disappearing. For this reason, they decided to create Moroccan Birds as a way to preserve traditional craftsmanship by sharing a piece of their legacy.

We asked Zineb and Rim about the story behind Moroccan birds, what inspires them, and their work with local artisans in Morocco. It's impressive to see how these traditions are still alive due to the work and effort of brands like Moroccan Birds.

How did the idea of Moroccan Birds come about?

During our summer holidays in Morocco (2016) we were exchanging with our parents on the beauty and originality of the Moroccan culture. So many international companies were inspired by the Moroccan craftsmanship, whether for home decor, clothing, or essential oils. There was a real trend for the "Moroccan touch”!

 

Also, we always loved jewelry since we inherited this passion from our mother. We then saw the opportunity to create a line of jewelry entirely handmade by Moroccan artisans. When we informed ourselves about those jewelry techniques, we realized that there were disappearing … We deeply wanted to preserve this heritage that was part of our history!

How did your mother influence the focus of Moroccan Birds?

Our mother inspired us so much. Since our younger age, we were used to seeing our mom wearing bold jewelry pieces.  Back in the years 1995, she actually wanted to launch her own website and sell Berber jewelry pieces but due to personal reasons, she didn’t go through with her passion. Today, she’s our biggest supporter!! She’s also involved in different parts of Moroccan Birds.   
 

What is your favorite place in Morocco?

By far, our favorite place/city is Marrakesh. We both grew up in Casablanca but our father’s and his family are from Marrakesh. Since our younger age, we used to go to Marrakech almost every weekend to visit our grandparents. There’s something indescribable about this city: the colors, the mix between tradition and modernity! This city actually inspired a lot of designers. Yves Saint Laurent used to live there and Marrakesh greatly inspired many of his collection.

What are the top three places in Morocco, we can’t miss at all?

  • Chefchaouen, known as the blue city
  • Sahara Desert (Merzouga)
  • And of course Marrakech!

If you could describe Moroccan Birds in a few words, how would you describe it?

An authentic jewelry brand that shares a history, supports a community of local artisans and preserves a heritage!
 

What has been your most satisfying moment with Moroccan Birds?

I would say it’s when we had our first intern. It was amazing to see that someone else can treat your baby as their own baby. To see them entirely committed to Moroccan Birds’ success is fulfilling!

As sisters, what it is like working together on your passion?

It’s amazing! It’s intense but in a good way. We push each other forward! Our personalities are very much different: Zineb is very calm and takes everything in a more relaxed way. When I get stressed under pressure, she’s the only one who knows how to temper me!

Sometimes, working with a family member can be hard to manage because we do not separate our working life from our “family” time. Since it’s our passion, we’re always talking about it and exchanging new ideas.

How would you describe your work with the artisan communities that manufacturer your Products in Morocco?

We talk more about “collaboration”. In fact, we collaborate with our artisans. Zineb draw the designs but then it’s their expertise that comes into play. It’s a long process and constant dialogue between the founders and the artisans before creating a Moroccan Birds piece. We really want their work to be globally recognized. It’s just amazing how much attention they put into each creation. Every single detail is made by hand!

What piece of advice would you give to people who want to become entrepreneurs in the sustainable fashion industry?

Some keywords are so trendy those last years: sustainable, ethical, social impact ... and in some cases brands overuse them.

You have to truly feel that your brand is making an impact. When we traveled during 4 months in the south of Morocco, it reinforced our idea of creating Moroccan Birds, because we felt that we would have a real impact on this community of artisans & in preserving this heritage.

Our advice would be:  Travel, meet artisans around the world, get inspired, and do something authentic!

How do you describe the Moroccan Birds style? And what is the best occasion to wear it?

Our jewelry pieces can be worn literally anytime. Some pieces are more delicate (al’sham earrings, al’rulih ring) others are more meant to make a statement (al’baje earrings, al’kayat Malaki bracelet). It really depends on your personal style!

What is your favorite Moroccan Birds piece of jewelry?

Our favorite piece is Al’Baje ring! It’s so easy to wear! We both wear it every single day. We feel strong and confident when we wear it (and we feel that we’re missing something when we don’t have it on). Also, each pair of Al’baje ring is literally one of a kind – in fact since the chiseling (technique used to draw on silver) is handmade, the drawing varies from one piece to the other.

What is your favorite book? Or What book about sustainable businesses has inspired you the most?

A book that we loved reading is Girl code. It’s dedicated to female entrepreneurs. The author talks about the importance of always focusing on the positives and believing in yourself until you achieve your ultimate goal.

Being entrepreneurs is super hard, there is no roadmap that you can follow… Sometimes it feels good to read the story of other female entrepreneurs that went over similar struggles! It’s reassuring!

 


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