The Artisan Community Just Bought a Building!

Artisan leaders, Anou volunteers, and Moon (the cat) on the ground floor of the four story building we just acquired.

In the beginning of 2020, Cafe Clock, one of the most famous restaurants in Morocco, donated some space in their new experiential shopping center to The Anou Cooperative. Their space was a beautiful traditional riad that shares walls with the Cafe Clock restaurant in Fez. 

Today, it is with incredibly deep gratitude for Cafe Clock and a constellation of many private Anou donors from around the world that we’re excited to announce The Anou Cooperative has acquired the entire riad from Cafe Clock. 

When we launched the Anou Cooperative many years ago, our vision was to restructure Morocco’s craft economy so that it works for artisans rather than against them. The acquisition of one of the most valuable retail properties in Fez is one of many more steps to come that embody our cooperative’s vision. 

The ancient medinas of Morocco were built with artisan hands and used to be home to countless artisans. Over the past several decades those artisans were replaced by middlemen, many of whom used their prized locations to exploit artisans. 

We believe that having an artisan community run and owned cooperative outright purchase such a beautiful building sends an important signal and pushes back against the status quo that too many have become comfortable with. Ultimately, The Anou Cooperative’s purchase will ensure that genuine artisans from across Morocco have a rent-free forever home where they can learn, design, work, and grow their businesses — all in the center of one of Morocco’s cultural and economic capitals.

With purchasing the four-story building we now have quite a bit more work on top of the remaining store construction before we can officially open. While we can’t share too much about what is in store for the future, what we can share is that we’ll be redesigning the riad to support studios and training centers that will be accessible to all Anou artisans for free, particularly artisans in Fez. Equally exciting, we’ll be working with Rebecca Hoyes, a professor at Central Saint Martins to create Morocco’s premiere artist residency program to ensure the world’s best creative talent always pulses through our space and the wider Moroccan artisan community. Follow us on Instagram to keep up to date as we announce these developments in the near future. 

This dream would never have been possible without our donors and supporters. To every donor that made this happen, what more is there to say,  we literally bought a building. And equally, if not more important, we owe a huge thank you to anyone who ever purchased from Anou. There are many places where you can buy Moroccan craft, the best of which an artisan earns may earn a little more than what a middleman would pay. Instead, you purchased from Anou and enabled a marginalized community of artisans to transform Morocco’s crafts economy for the better. Thank you to you all. 

If you’re interested in supporting Anou’s long list of ambitious projects that will enable artisans to transform the fabric of Morocco’s craft economy, please do get in touch at hello@thanou.com.

7 thoughts on “The Artisan Community Just Bought a Building!

  1. Wonderful news. I look forward to visiting, hopefully with tour groups. You don’t mention a space for sales, but many who I bring want to buy directly from artisans – as I’m sure many visitors to Fes do, Will you have one? I hope so – though can see how it may be difficult to select stock. Maybe from several groups that alternate showings with others?

    • Hi there! We’d be excited to host you! Ah yes, we didn’t directly refer to a store, but the building is centered around a store so people will be able to buy directly from artisans there. You can always find all the existing products at the store at http://www.theanou.com/fezstore. Do get in touch when your group dates are set!

  2. Congratulations. Great news. Assume Cafe Clock remains as before? Its been so long since I’ve been in Fez and longing to return with another small group so as Susan Davis says above I’ll be sure to bring them to you in your new place. I too am looking for a rug as just completed building a small eco house.

    • Hey there! Yes, Cafe Clock is the same as before and they’ve just reopened (they closed for most of the pandemic). We’ll look forward to seeing you out soon!

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