Total loan: $10,000
Portland, OR, United States / Retail
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Ahmed's loan finished fundraising,
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A loan helped continue production of my ethical handmade collections as well support my artisan partners including the Deaf Artisan Group of Marrakech.
My name is Ahmed, I am a designer and a social entrepreneur. I grew up in the city of Marrakech in Morocco. At a young age I worked at the markets of Marrakech selling leather goods to tourists. Growing up there, I developed strong ties with Moroccan artisans and learned about different traditional arts of leather craftsmanship. At age 20 and upon moving to Portland, OR, I wanted to create an international business model with the purpose of changing the lives of the artisans with whom I worked in Morocco. Many of them are impoverished despite the high craftsmanship talent they have. This is due to their lack of education and visibility. A couple of years ago, I started designing handbags and making my prototype designs whenever I traveled to Morocco. I would sell them once I got back to Portland. I continued designing and selling to friends and boutiques until I launched my own designer brand in Portland, OR. I named it elkarti after my mother's maiden name. I named the line after her because she is a huge inspiration in my life. She was an elementary school teacher but she also used to design women's clothing in order to afford mine and my sibling's school costs. I learned a lot growing up next to my mother, and the line is dedicated to her hard work in raising and teaching me entrepreneurship and design at a very young age. Now, elkarti is an ethical fashion line with an award-winning business model that fuses luxury fashion with changing people's lives. Elkarti's business model invests 1/3 of the company profits in education and business training programs for under-served artisans in Morocco. My short story video by Portland State University: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-cNa6DoTiTE