From basket weaving to soap making, Lebanon has long been recognized for its artistic heritage. Hala Zoghby, founder of Nour Artisan, tells us more about her concept and why supporting local crafts and the people behind them is more important than ever.
Why did you establish Nour Artisan?
Upon completing a master’s degree in engineering management in the US, I returned to Lebanon in 1993. A lady knocked on my door and wanted to sell me her handmade embroidery; she told me how hard it was for her to support her family. I was intrigued by her story and her beautiful work. I did some research on handicrafts in different regions in Lebanon and was disappointed that our syndicate did not support all artisans in Lebanon. Furthermore, I was astonished by the unlimited number of crafts and craftspeople in Lebanon.
On another note, I was fascinated by the possibility of establishing a platform to champion women empowerment through the development of a variety of cottage industries run from home by masterful female artisans. By completing coursework in a cottage industry Ph.D., I was able to understand the industry better and focus on its development.
What is your mission?
Lebanon, our home base, forms a bridge between eastern and western cultures. Since establishing our atelier, we have embraced traditions and local handicrafts by combining them with creative modern design solutions for our clients’ needs. With an ever-expanding array of categories, including everything from homeware to abayas tableware, we’re committed to offering high-quality products.
Our mission at Nour Artisan centers on continuously developing new designs that fuse traditional Lebanese art forms with futuristic components to attract the younger generation. Over the past 25 years, we have worked with over 400 exclusive artisans who have jointly created the wide variety of products we offer today. In the face of hardships Lebanon is facing, we are determined to uphold our mission and make sure these artisans continue working. As for our vision, we believe that Nour Artisan will become a leader in the artisanal industry while implementing the modern quality and process control that enables outreach to world markets.
How has the crafts industry evolved in Lebanon?
The crafts industry in Lebanon has definitely transformed alongside technological advances. Some tools and machinery have been introduced to the trade, allowing for improved production capabilities. Also, materials such as fabric, glass, metal and wood are currently being merged with traditional materials to create beautiful products. Of course, all of these advancements are accompanied by younger designers, who are providing alternative concepts.
What are some of your best-selling items?
Our best-selling items include in-house designed and produced abayas, jackets and robes that celebrate a Lebanese design spirit. We are known for customizing products, since everything is handmade. Also, our hand-painted porcelain, wood and glass have become top sellers, as they feature oriental touches that people relate to. We work a lot with event and wedding planners since we offer a great variety of products to cover their customer needs and taste.