SALAHEDDIN is a fair-trade company importing Syrian Craftsmanship to France that was created in 2004 in order to build a long-lasting relationship with artisans from Damascus, Alep and other towns of Syria.
Jean-François Vaillant and his wife have studied in Arab at Damascus University first in (2000 - 2001) and then traveled to Alep where they met the artisans. Then they lived in the "suburbs" of Alep because rents in Aleppo were too high. Thanks to a Syrian coordinator, they tracked down all the soap factories, textile producers and many craftsmen without this list being exhaustive.
When they came back to France, they were faced with the question of keeping the precious relationships we tied up over there and the answer was creating Salaheddin.
With them, we defined a way for working respecting fair-trade principles with the aim of reselling their work pieces with prices corresponding to the ethics of the project.
That allowed the artisans to find a new market other than their local one, and gave them a new vision of the work they were carrying out granting them new value and appreciation.
The latest news from them are very good and they want to resume their activities.
The company imports and exports all these products in the world and participates in the most important decoration fairs in America and Europe (International Folk Art market in Santa Fe, My NOW FAIR in Manhattan or in MAISON ET OBJET in Paris).
Cynthia LE PERSON
La Rochelle Business School - Excelia Group
The innovation of this company is purely ethical in its relations with Syrian craftsmen and in order to preserve artisanal know-how.
The goal of the manager is never to negotiate the prices with the suppliers and to have ethical business practices. This activity allows to conserve artisanal know-how and to promote them throughout the world.
The glass factory provides a living for ten families and the work is done according to orders day and night because the heating of the furnace requires several days of heating. The furnace is of traditional construction made of local clay fired on site and is rebuilt every year during the ramadan.
It is impossible for them to obtain a modern oven because the costs are prohibitive, hence the explanation for the colours obtained; indeed, the temperature variations inside the oven do not allow them to obtain red and its colour variations. It is a family business like almost all in Arabic countries and employs about ten people who support as many families. There is no child labour for the simple reason that all children are in school, which is compulsory and free.
During the 7 years of war, damages were irreversible, the craftsmen had to leave their homes and moved temporarily to Egypt where they were not well received.
All the glass wares are of clean qualities, they do not have pesticides neither chemical products. In addition, the company uses an eco-circular system because glass bottles are imported from France and traditionally transformed in Syria.
After another trip of Jean-François and his wife to Morocco, they met a family in extreme poverty in Ben Debbad (a poor district of Fez). They decided to help them in importing their how-know in soap powder. Today, SALAHEDDIN sells their product called the “Rassoul”. It’s a soap clay powder of Morocco, used by women for their personal care. In the Middle East, it is known as the Bayloun and it is part of the culture of the “hammam”. The rassoul is manufactured in a traditonnal manner with modest means by the family they support. The stones are selected, sorted and then crushed into a fine powder which is then wet with an infusion made of flowers. Spread and dried in the sun, the Rassoul is finally ready for use.
They would like keep the relationships with their suppliers and respond to their needs. That allowed the artisans to find a new market other than their local one, and gave them a new vision of the work they were carrying out granting them new value and appreciation.
Different families around the world benefit from the Salaheddin company's financial and social support and helps them to preserve their national crafts. The glass factory provides a living for ten families.
The company imports and exports all these products in the world and participates in the most important decoration fairs in America and Europe (International Folk Art market in Santa Fe, My NOW FAIR in Manhattan or in MAISON ET OBJET in Paris). The world's greatest museums wish to exhibit these craft works. The quality of the glass decoration is sought after. The director of the company remembers a trip in Italy where he was talking to an Italian glassmaker about his activity and he told him "the glass from Syria is better quality than here" while everyone knows the reputation of Italian glass.
- The fight against poverty, thanks to this company, the local people receive fair incomes that allow to live properly, to eat everyday and responds to their primary needs.
- The company exports bottles wares from France to Syria, where they are transformed to create the glass wares. The circular-economy is used. All of the products are manufactured traditionally and are clean because they do not use chemical processes.
- Several families and people were in vulnerable situations (poverty, insalubrious conditions or violence) . The company enabled them to have a decent and sustainable work.
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Carhaix-Plouguer, Bretagne, FR
Business Website: http://www.salaheddin.net/
Year Founded: 2004
Number of Employees: 2 to 10
SALAHEDDIN is a fair-trade company importing Syrian Craftsmanship that was created in 2004 in order to build a long-lasting relationship with artisans from Damascus, Alep and other towns of Syria.