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Behind the Label | Imports from Marrakesh

Mohamed Elmaarouf, founder of Imports from Marrakesh, and Stephanie Rudloe, his business partner, scour his native country, Morocco, in search of exquisite home furnishings for their discerning clientele in NYC. Mohamed and Stephanie seek out the best artisans and craftspeople to produce leather poufs, rugs, tiles, and lanterns. We recently walked through Marrakesh?s famed Medina with Mohamed and were amazed at how many people he knew, and how many more people knew him -- it was like being with a rock star. That's why as soon as we got back we asked Stephanie to share their design inspirations and must-see travel spots around the globe.

Mohamed Elmaarouf, founder of Imports from Marrakesh, and Stephanie Rudloe, his business partner, scour his native country, Morocco, in search of exquisite home furnishings for their discerning clientele in NYC. Mohamed and Stephanie seek out the best artisans and craftspeople to produce leather poufs, rugs, tiles, and lanterns. We recently walked through Marrakesh?s famed Medina with Mohamed and were amazed at how many people he knew, and how many more people knew him -- it was like being with a rock star. That's why as soon as we got back we asked Stephanie to share their design inspirations and must-see travel spots around the globe.

 

 

How does travel inspire your collection?

Our collection is inspired by the one of a kind vintage treasures we gather while traveling throughout Morocco. Our mission is to bring the best picks of Marrakesh and Fez handicrafts back to NYC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do Marrakesh and New York inspire your collection in different ways?

Our collection is inspired by special requests and custom projects from our designer clientele. Every item in our collection is produced by small artisan workshops. Traditional Moroccan metalwork and tiles take on a new life when they are applied in innovative ways. We have a one-of-a-kind textile collection online. We do extreme editing of vintage Moroccan textiles?we pick through hundreds of Beni Ourain carpets and Handira (Moroccan wedding blankets) to find a few good ones for our clients in New York who appreciate the authentic soul of Berber textile arts.
 
You work in Chelsea Market, a design icon in New York City. How does this affect your work?
We have a tiny souk in Chelsea Market that is overflowing with merchandise -- this part of our business could almost be an ethnographic exhibit of a souk in Marrakesh, where merchants cram as much as they can into a tiny space. Chelsea market is overflowing with people and high style. In Chelsea we connect with our customers who inspire us with ideas for our buying trips.
 
 

 

 

Alisa Ng, L-atitude's founder!

 
Describe Imports from Marrakesh in 3 words.
Exotic Home Accessories. We love to use Moroccan decor as an exotic accessory in the home. Moroccan design and the repeat patterns are mesmerizing, and a little bit can go a long way! The Moroccan tiles, lighting, and Berber carpets mix beautifully with modern style. Imagine a mosaic Zillij Tile floor with a Eero Saarinen Marble Tulip Table, a perfectly set dinner table using intricate Moroccan tea-glasses for the water glass, or an intricate Moroccan tea-tray to display your jewelry collection.
 
Your collection of products keeps growing, what creative endeavors are on the horizon?
A Marrakesh Riad dollhouse for children, beautiful organization objects, Fez dinnerware collection and new Marrakesh tile collection.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
How do the Marrakesh souks inspire your collection?
We constantly explore the souks for inspiration and it is a great way to discover the work of new artisans.
 
Which city in the world do you most identify with and why?
I identify most with New York because of its creative energy.
 
Who is your muse?
Diana Vreeland.
 
Describe the Imports from Marrakesh woman.
A natural stylist for whom beauty is a way of life. She knows how to mix elements of Moroccan decor with modern and antiques.
 
 
 
 
 
Tell us about your favorite piece (or one of them) and where you were inspired to create it.
Our favorite piece is the Moroccan pouf. We did not invent it but we have refined the design, the color combinations and all our poufs are hand-made by a very special artisan who does exquisite embroidery on heirloom quality leather.
 
How would you describe your own style?
Bohemian heiress.
 
Please name the three staples of your wardrobe you could never live without.  
My 70's camel hair coat with mongolian fur collar, embroidered caftan tunic custom-made by our tailor in Marrakesh, and our gold sequin market basket that I use for carrying my Macbook and digital camera.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Your collection has a strong global vibe, what are some of your favorite cities to visit and why?
Venice because of the Islamic influence in architecture, Paris for the antiques, and Mexico City for the handmade baskets and clay dishes for my daughter's dollhouse.
 
What are some destinations on your bucket list?
Istanbul, Sicily, and Tahiti.
 
How would you describe your travel style?
Decadent minimalist.
 
 
Courtesy of ChelseaMarket.com
 
Which upcoming travel plans are you most excited about and why?
A trip to LA and London to see our some of our recent custom projects.
 
Which three products from L-atitude are you coveting most right now?
India Hicks Petite Elongated Hexagon Ring, House of Lavande Double Tassel Earrings, and the Hersey Asktan All Love Gold Key Chain.
 
 
 
 
Globetrotter Stats
Souk or Department Store?
Both (plus flea-market).
 
DIY or Concierge Service?
DIY.
 
Buy Everything or Buy Nothing?
Buy nothing.
 
Camping or 5-Star Hotel?
Both.
 
Drive or be Driven?
Be driven.
 
Room service or Street Food?
Roadside tagine in Marrakesh.
 
Lots of Luggage or Carry-on Bag?
Carry-on bag.