Kantara is a fair trade business specializing in Moroccan rugs and textiles imported directly from women’s weaving cooperatives. I began the business in 2009 after working in Morocco for a year and a half on a project that fought against child labor. While living in Morocco, I met several artisans and immediately fell in love with the carpets, which is the only craft performed solely by women. At the same time, I was shocked at how the artisan’s lack of mobility and access to the business world kept them subjugated to urban middlemen’s pricing whims. I noticed that at the prices offered by these intermediaries the women barely had enough money to pay for their materials, let alone for their time and creativity. At that point, I decided to start Kantara as a means to directly support the artisans while reinvesting a portion of the proceeds into education and business development initiatives within these very cooperatives. And the rest is history.
Meaning “bridge” in Arabic, Kantara seeks to establish local and long-lasting relationships by bridging the gap between women artisans in Morocco and socially-conscious communities in the United States.