Our Story

by a cushion

“...remember that crafts develop in response to lifestyle needs.
They must continue to evolve as the environment demands.
It is one thing for crafts traditions to vanish because they become irrelevant;
it is quite another for them to vanish because of neglect or lack of stimulus.”

About Us
Who's behind
the design?
What's
Markaz
It's all
Egyptian
What's the
Big Idea
Crafts from
across Egypt

Our Story

by a cushion

“...remember that crafts develop in response to lifestyle needs. They must continue to evolve as the environment demands. It is one thing for crafts traditions to vanish because they become irrelevant; it is quite another for them to vanish because of neglect or lack of stimulus.” Proverb

Embroidery

North & Central Sinai

Who's behind the design?

Design at Markaz is about artisans practicing their traditional skills the whole year around. Generating regular income and passing the skill to their children. The tassel is a good example: how could a tassel be used for it to be regularly made! The guidance Markaz offers is in the choice of material, colour, patterns used, etc. The design team at Markaz includes a designer, design facilitator and technical personnel.

Handwoven Cotton

Upper Egypt

What's Markaz?

We’re a social business managed by social entrepreneurs, with a nationwide network of artisans and partners aiming to make a positive social impact.

About Us

Markaz is a team of traditional craft lovers, started in 1999. Founded by Mohammed Amin, a veteran of the Social Development Business, and Naela El Shishiny, the creative eye of the team. Our vision is to support the conservation and revival of Egyptian traditional crafts, through applying traditional skills to contemporary, useful daily products.

What's the Big Idea?

Actively supporting the continuation of traditional craft skills in their different home environments across Egypt by:
  • supplying raw materials plus guidance on quality standards and market trends
  • providing an outlet for local artisans to sell their crafts to a wider consumer base
  • generating income for a large number of artisans and their families across Egypt,
  • ensuring that traditional craft skills are passed on from one generation to another.

Knitwork

Cairo

Crafts from across Egypt

One Markaz product is often created with several crafts originating from different areas of Egypt. Crafts include hand-woven cotton, linen and wool, basketry, embroidery, beading, tasselling, macramé, tatting, crochet and leather work. Markaz brings these skills together to create one-of-a-kind products that are as unique as the places they come from.

It's all Egyptian

All of the crafts sold at Markaz are made by local Egyptian artisans. Most of the artisans are women, although some crafts are made by men. Sons and daughters observe and learn the craft from their parents ensuring skills stay alive from one generation to the next.