In 2016, I began with a few oranges embroidered on a sleeve and a dream to celebrate the region's craftsmanship and the work of the women of my community.
I had $3000 saved and no intention of founding a business. I was a creative storyteller, and clothing was one of the most intimate and personal ways I thought would connect my community to others, for people to wear our stories close to their hearts.
The first three years, with only three artisans, we explored, made mistakes, and played with the potential of this shared passion; we believed that our dreams could grow and touch others despite all the noise. The idea of traditional artisans handcrafting classic garments using sustainable materials, a luxury ready-to-wear brand from the villages of Mount Lebanon, sounded too ambitious to many.
In early 2019, with little means, we opened an atelier to gather all our creative forces under one roof. Little did we know that this excitement would be short-lived. The financial collapse in Lebanon soon followed COVID, the Beirut port explosion and the loss of my father; we globally all shared some shade of grief during this time. As a community of artisans, we gathered in the atelier as a haven where we could vent, escape, and dream.
As creatives, we post and share finished products and carefully refined and polished concepts like gems on our feeds. I wish we could share all the gritty matter: the struggles, mistakes, and pressure we go through as a team to produce work at our best. If we could see the diamond for the pressurised carbon it is made of, would it shine any less?
Seven years later, we are still building this brand without any shortcuts, no inheritances or trust funds, nepotism, or ghost work—just blood, sweat, and skills and a guiding feeling in our hearts that our story is with purpose. Our passions, however small, connect us all to something bigger than ourselves.
As we prepare for an exciting announcement this week, I wanted to re-live some memories and reflect on this Journey. I have faith in my community, family, and friends, and I appreciate the many blessings you have shown me.
No matter how difficult this Journey is and where it may lead, I am grateful to have you along.