L’Atelier means ‘the workshop’, and the lady behind this Dubai based brand, Rym, named it this way because all their products come from workshops that house knowledge passed down through generations of Tunisian artisans. L’Atelier is attentive to the long-term development and preservation of traditional arts. They are supporting the Tunisian Artisans by buying from them directly.
Rym tells team Saffron Souk that…
L’Atelier encourages the preservation of the traditional skills by finding new markets for the products, therefore infusing other cultures with the beauty of Tunisian homewares and handicrafts and in return providing artisans with a sustainable income from the skill that was passed along to them by their ancestors. So Rym’s aim is to help keep the traditions of craftsmanship alive… and that is why we want you to meet this not only talented, but funny (in the best kind of way!) lady on the Saffron Souk blog…
2. Rym looking happy in her favourite colour blue 3. Rym getting down to business – engraving copper in a Tunisian artisan workshop.
What sort of products do you market?
At L’Atelier we sell artisanal hand made bags, fabrics and home decorations inspired by a Tunisian heritage and updated with a modern flare.
When and why did you decide to start your own business?
I decided to start when I first moved to Dubai. I found the market crowded with international brands but there were very few brands that allowed a woman to express her style differently – at home, at the beach or around family and friends. I thought it would be nice to have a style rooted in the perfect balance between the Arab culture and modern style.
4. Playful metal cord bracelets – a steal at AED 50 each! 5. L’Atelier stocks some stylish artisan homewares with a twist 6. We have a huge soft spot for the various coloured straw bags, that come with a set of foutas (traditional Tunisian towel textiles); the best gift for those beach bunnys out there.
What’s the best thing about setting up your own brand?
You get to be creative and walk outside the beaten track of fashion. You get to let your imagination run without the bounds of corporate limits.
6. A Tunisian artisan working copper for use in L’Atelier products.
7. These skilled ladies are weaving straw / rushes used for L’Ateliers stunning bags.
8. & 10. We are loving the colours being used to weave these Tunisian carpets and fabrics 9. Pottery taking shape in the Tunisian region of Nabeul – an area known for this specialty artisan skill 11. Fouta’s and bedspreads being woven – that’s one big loom!
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced?
Finding the right audience was probably the most difficult part. I was surprised by how conformist and brand sensitive most people are in the region. Not many people are sensitive to craftsmanship and handmade products.
Tell us 5 words to describe yourself.
Loyal, affectionate, driven, kind and adventurous (if you believe what my husband says)
12. Saffron Souk have to add a cheeky sense of humour to the list above that Rym used to describe herself… As part of our virtual chat, the picture above popped up on our desktop when we asked Rym for a snap of herself – multi-talented lady is all that we have to say about that!
What’s your favourite colour?
What’s your favourite film?
What are you reading right now?
A thousand splendid suns by Khaled Hossein.
When did you last laugh?
An hour ago when my daughter was doing her clown routine as she was having dinner.
Do you have any regrets?
I make sure I never do…
Do you have any pets?
Not since I have a baby at home ?
Do you believe in luck?
Yes, I believe in creating it yourself
Do you have a motto?
“do onto others what you would like to be done onto you”
How many foreign languages do you speak?
Three, which can actually be considered four; Tunisian, Arabic, French and English
What are your 5 favourite finds from the Saffron Souk market?
- Cloud Mobile from Les Bobos Chics boutique
- The Corner shop pillows and lampshades
- Paper clip set from the Saffron Souk boutique
- All items from The Nest
- B and D Butterfly cut frame: I looove Butterflies.
13. Cloud Mobile from Les Bobos Chics boutique 14. The Corner shop pillows and lampshades 15. Paper clip set from the Saffron Souk boutique 16. All The Nest Items 17. B and D Art Butterfly cut out frame
Rym, you know team Saffron Souk are huge fans of L’Atelier and the wonderful products you stock. We adore that your business has a social focus and is helping to keep artisan skills alive. We also love a sneaky shop of your online store – who wouldn’t – your shop is bursting with unique quirky items that are so reasonably priced.
So thanks for chatting with us. It’s been quite the novelty getting to know the lovely Miss Universe…