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Read the wonderful story of Isabelle, who founded Artisan Stories (formerly known as Ismad) over 20 years ago!

"One day, Ali, a Moroccan furniture trader, invited me to visit his showroom to look at the amazing Moroccan ceiling-lamps I was interested in.

It was there when I noticed some lovely handmade leather accessories, tucked in a corner. They were so beautiful, I found it strange that he was not showing them off more.

After getting invited to Marrakech to meet the artisans who made these, I travelled into the unknown with mixed emotions.

But upon arrival, I was instantly amazed by the vibrant colours. Especially when I was walking through the famous Marrakech Souk Market.

picture of colourful traditional Moroccan serving dishes

Not only the colours, the smell, the way everything was stacked and displayed in its full glory, it was hard not to get the urge to buy everything I could see.

But I had a dream to chase, and so I walked further into the backstreets of the market, where I could see the artisans work in real time.

Combining traditional Moroccan craftsmanship with my French roots was an ambitious endeavour, as I wanted to make things that are special and artistic at heart, but also still practical and easy to add into all of our daily life's.

I was successful, it seemed, and the first exhibition at the Pure trade show in London went well and I got excited to work on the first orders. But sobering problems like quality and language barriers loomed over me like a grey could.

The sun always rises though, so I started selling at Camden Market, an iconic London market which almost reminded me of Marrakech a little bit. It was one of the few places to find an eclectic mix of crafted curiosities from around the world.
Over the years, we have settled in the vibrant Brixton Village and permanently run our Artisan Stories shop there and online.

Finally, with learning so much about natural production and its difficulties, growing and changing and with a lot of determination, we have curated a very unique collection that displays different styles of vibrant art, intriguing patterns and eccentric shapes handmade with care in Morocco.

It was through constant travelling there that I ended up meeting my other half Noureddine, and my small one-woman business became a slightly bigger family run business.

Today I consider Artisan Stories a lifestyle, adding back colour and life into mundane daily routines, finding the perfect gift for a special someone, or indulging in and expressing your personal style, and everything in between."

Isabelle- Director of Artisan Stories