Weaving success in the handicraft sector
Karim Ben Ali, a 43-year-old computer science engineer, is leading Margoom – a business revolutionizing the handicraft sector in Tunisia.
“We are currently working on diversifying our products. We will soon launch our product lines in the craft sectors of halfa, olive wood and fouta. Our long term dream is to become the first artisanal online sales platform in the Maghreb region.”
It all started at the dawn of the revolution. Karim joined Jamjoum – a the web development company based in France with a subsidiary in Tunisia. In 2013, together with his partners, he decided to surf the online sales trend and launched a project for an online craft platform. The Facebook page, Margoom Atlas, was born.
In 2016, they started producing Berber carpets, kilims and margoum, and published their very first catalogue which was posted on Amazon. Entry into the European market was a success.
“With our tailor-made carpets, we adapt to our customers’ needs. The design, size, material, colors… everything is done to offer a product that 100% meets their individual design needs, with respect to quality.”
“Today, we employ 4 people for the administrative, commercial and logistical side, but the production is done at the level of our numerous workshops, some of which we collaborate with. Each workshop employs at least fifteen women artisans. The workshops are located according to the craft clusters, in Kef for kilim, in Sbeitla for halfa, in Nabeul for ceramics…”.
Passionate about local crafts and traditional know-how, Karim is dedicated to promoting Berber cultural heritage and developing the craft sector. In 2021, he met the regional expert of the Mashrou3i. The project is providing technical assistance to strengthen the technical skills of artisans, to enhance the quality of production and improve working conditions for women in the sector.
“With support from the Mashrou3i project, we will train 23 women artisans from the Kef region to improve their Berber carpet weaving techniques. This training is essential to strengthen the competitiveness of Tunisian handicrafts but also to improve the incomes of the women artisans, who are at the heart of this work.”