Back in March this year, my husband and I visited Essaouria in Morocco. We had visited Marrakech back when we were first married, and to be honest I wasn't overly keen on the thought of going back. Marrakech is beautiful, but it was so busy and the constant hassling from traders and tourist touts got quite wearing after a few days.
But Essaouria was completely different, for a start it's right by the sea so you get a cooling breeze all year round. It is much smaller and so when we visited in March it was very quiet, no jostling along the narrow and winding passages and bazaars! It has a much more laid back attitude and although there isn't a huge amount to see we were just happy to wander around and soak up the atmosphere. The old part of Essaouria is surrounded by centuries-old fortified ramparts and has a long history as a trading post with Portguese and French influences.
One of my goals while we were there was to procure a Beni Ouarain rug for our sitting room. I had seen a few photos of them in very stylish settings and in a few eyewateringly expensive shops, so I was hoping that they might be more reasonably priced in Morocco. I was very concerned about being ripped off, so I made sure that I did my research and after wandering around for a bit, we managed to find one that fitted our room and our wallets! Here's a photo of it in situ - I moved the old carpenters chest that we use for a coffee table from the middle of the carpet to take this shot.
And that would be the end of the story... but after being back in the UK for a week or so I decided that I was going to set up a business selling Moroccan carpets and accessories. I had enjoyed learning about the different types of carpets so much and dipping in and out of the labyrinth of passages and bazaars finding them that I decided to give it a try. After some thought I came up with a name (Berberouche - which as far as I know doesn't mean anything, I liked the word Berber and Babouche and when I put them together that is what I came up with!), sourced my stock, got postcards and business cards printed, set up some social media accounts and booked a stand at the Summer Country Brocante in June.
The response I got was the encouragement I needed to set up this website! If you are on Instagram and interested to keep track of my progress and new items in the shop, please follow me @berberouche