The rainbow of colors are in-your-face-bold, sassy, and audacious. The rugs are extravagant and almost 1970’s in their crazy-colored disco vibe, resembling the bright, sunny ribbons of a spring Mayday pole.
Boucherouite rugs, pronounced ‘bu-sher-weat’; the asymmetrical, so-called ‘heavy metal’ of Moroccan carpets, (because of their whimsical look) are a relatively new wonder in this mystical land. The word ‘boucherouite’ means ‘scrap’ or ‘used clothing’ in local Darija, as the rugs are entirely repurposed from various eclectic materials.
Popping up in the early 20th century after a drop in the availability of expensive wools used to weave traditional Moroccan rugs, the boucherouites, in the past few years alone, have become somewhat of a trendy commodity.
Boucherouites can be composed of anything and everything salvaged, in terms of materials-recycled cotton, wool, nylon, and even repurposed plastic and leather. The brighter the shade, the better. Various shapes and sizes make these rugs the mish-mash of Moroccan carpets. The end result absolutely guarantees that you will never find another one exactly like it. Custom recycling at it’s greatest!
You will now find these funky, often thick-shag, quilt-like, spunky-tinged boucherouites in the coolest of New York City penthouses and LA studios. Ironically, these rugs were initially considered the ‘poor man’s rug’ in Morocco-carpets that were utilitarian in their need; used to cover donkeys, horse saddles, or placed over expensive woolen rugs in Moroccan-tiled homes in order to protect the costlier under-carpet.
Never too large in size due to their practical usage, boucherouites are still relatively reasonably-priced compared to the globally-known woolen kilim rugs or the famous cream and black-colored Beni Ourain Berber rugs. Ever-practical, the durable boucherouites are still used in rugged terrains throughout pastoral Morocco to protect from the severe cold during blustery, snowy winters.
Rural Moroccan women, the heart and soul of talented rug weavers in lovely Morocco, are the phenomenon behind these fascinating pieces. Leave it up to ingenious, savvy women to decipher several issues at once-how to reuse leftover vivid fabrics and in addition, how to solve the financial problem of a material (traditional sheep wool) becoming less cost-effective and easy to produce and find.
These resourceful women, who often use sewing and looming from their tiny kitchens and homes as a small source of incomes in order to support their families, invented an entirely custom type of handcrafted carpet in the mecca of rugs, Morocco.
For the unwaveringly talented and faithful Mushminalongterm head weaver, Halima, boucherouite rugs are a practical means to an end. Halima’s ‘workspace’ i.e.; her tea-cup sized kitchen in dusty Bejaad, one of the ‘rug capitals’ of Morocco, is colorfully littered with strips of kaleidoscopic fabrics to be repurposed into a cheeky motley crew of fabulous boucherouites.
For Halima, like other Moroccan women, work and home are synonymous. Therefore, work equals family. It is typical for a busy Moroccan weaver to be juggling a traditional wooden loom and lively children running in and out of a closet-sized working space. Family is the heart of Moroccan society and children are particularly revered. It is a perfect match for Moroccan women to be able to create these useful pieces in the privacy and convenience of their homes.
These cheerful strips of fabric become zany, joyfully-shaped pieces of creative art. For Heather and Katie, Co-Founders of Mushmina, it is particularly meaningful when craft and ingenuity come together. Especially in Morocco, where there is so much room for mindful inventiveness, it is notably rewarding to support female weavers fabricating rugs that are recycled and unmatched.
Each piece, carefully and thoughtfully layered together. With each unique rug, the story of the recycled threads unfold; telling tales of meticulous weaving, family and magical Morocco. The extraordinary boucherouites, representing the vivid diversity of Morocco, the often forgotten voice of gifted female artisans, and the hope of the future.
By Tara Fraiture, Mushmina blogger
Shop some of these colorful beauties on www.mushmina.com. Limited edition.
I often check my emails in the morning and I see that Heather has been writing to me at the wee hours of 2 am the night before. Or a message from Katie that rolls in late-night from the States. I wonder how these two ever sleep! Such is the life of entrepreneurs; particularly strong female business owners. There is never enough time in the day to finish a task, to complete everything on the to-do list, to brainstorm the projects of tomorrow. Yet, they somehow manage to get it all done. And in doing so, the joy in the work that Katie and Heather produce is clearly infectious. They do what they do because they are invested in a lifelong mission, not just a job. I am incredibly honored to work along side with them.
Please read on as I share, in honor of Small Business Saturday, tomorrow November 24th, the Mushmina Sister’s candid and savvy advice for bold entrepreneurs. The best thing about this list is its approachability to be used for so much more than just running a successful small business. It can be used as a mantra for life itself. As H & K do authentically, creatively, and with enormous compassion + spirit.
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know! A Top 10 Guide For Fabulously Fierce Entrepreneurs
‘Life of an entrepreneur: I wake up excited and terrified every day.’ Sarah Lacy, PandoDaily
Before she conquered the planet as a bold entrepreneur, global ga-billionaire, rockin’ philanthropist and worldwide influencer, Oprah Winfrey had dreams of becoming a news reporter. Then she was ceremoniously fired from her gig at a Baltimore news station.
Heather and Katie always envisioned themselves as creative entrepreneurs, even as bold little girls growing up in suburban New Jersey. They also knew that they wanted to work together. However fruitful and rewarding this road has been for them over the past 10 years since the birth of Mushmina, this path has also been at times, bumpy and filled with potholes. Luckily, the Mushmina sisters have kept their sense of spirit and humor firmly in tact throughout the years. And so on this note, and in honor of Small Business Saturday, we have concocted a bold ‘Top Ten’ list of tips for impassioned entrepreneurs-to-be. Read on:
1. Have a good business partner and if they are family, even better. At a memorable conference in Casablanca, a spirited speaker said her best business advice is, ‘Marry well’! The key here is making sure you surround yourself with those who encourage you.
2. Invest in a business coach or financial planner. When we make our goals we usually hit them, the problem is revisiting our goals on a weekly basis and even daily. Organize and keep track of your targets.
3. A wise woman named Kumi once told us, ‘You don’t know what you don’t know.’ From Heather, ‘If I could go back and talk to my 30-year-old-self as a budding entrepreneur, I might say something like this-‘Recognize your strengths and then for God’s sakes, hire for your weaknesses!’
4. One of our holiday pop-up shops failed one year because we did not consider that the data of a previous season might not apply to the next year. Retail can be fickle. Heather’s savvy advice is in this ever-changing retail climate is ‘The onlytime is the present!’
5. Learn to drive a stick shift car and pump your own gas. You never know where your business will take you and you need to be able to drive yourself there! We learned to drive a stick shift in the middle of the chaotic Marrakech traffic. Eeek!
6. Thank your supporters. We can’t say this enough. Having a network of friends, family, and colleagues on whom you can depend can make or break a small business. These people are your tribe and can be responsible for the beginning of your success, as well as your continued prosperity.
7. Live with faith (whatever your conviction may be) and meditate. H & K use self-reflection and introspection as successful tools for survival in the cutthroat business world. Heather swears by meditating for just five minutes on her rooftop each day. She makes it a priority.
8. Accept help. A kind woman was once offered Katie a bag of peaches at a farmers market when she didn’t have cash on her. To Katie, it was a learning moment, ‘Be open to receiving.’
9. Keep on trucking. Heather and Katie have had many moments of tears, frustration, and challenges. The Mushmina Sisters live by the motto ‘This is all happening for my benefit’ (from Maharaji) and it works perfectly for us as a mindfully ethical fashion business.
10. Lastly, believe in yourself! Follow your passion and the universe will back you. Be playful. Keep a sense of humor and the rest will fall into place.
By Tara Fraiture, Mushmina blogger