Meet the Cooperative – #1 Coop. Asnli from Immouzer Marmoucha

The genesis of this Series

As we hope most of you know, at the core of our mission is a deep belief in removing all barriers between moroccan artisans and their customers all over the world.

Usually, when we talk about this mission, the first thing that comes to mind is empowering artisans to get rid of predatory middlemen. And for a good reason, since it is indeed the main motivation that go Anou started.

However, a less talked about aspect of our mission is encouraging artisans tell their stories directly, without filters or moderation.

Why is this important ? Couldn’t we just have shared their stories in our own words ?

Allowing artisans to tell their stories in their own words matters for a couple of reasons. First and most obviously, who better to tell the story than the people who live it every day ?

Second and most importantly, it ties back to our long term goal of empowering artisans to become independent business owners. Storytelling is such an important part of how businesses are run in our time (and we could argue, in all times). So we want Anou artisans to develop the skills to tell their own stories.

Introducing “Meet the Cooperative”

For all the reasons above, we are very excited to introduce the first post of a new series featuring Anou artisans.

In this series, our Marketing mentor at Anou will regularly interview some of our favorite cooperatives members. He will ask them about how they got started, the challenges they faced and what their hopes for the future were. For many of them, this is the first time anyone had asked about their life stories. The result is a series of raw and honest video interviews that we will share with you on Instagram first and then on the blog.

For the very first post, we sat down with Aicha Bertal, president of Cooperative Asnli. If you’d rather watch the video, scroll down to the end of the post for the video interview with Aicha.

Let’s go !


Aicha Bertal, from Cooperative Asnli

Youssef :
Hello Aicha, I’m happy to have you with us. Could you please introduce yourself ?

Aicha :
Sure. I’m Aicha Bertal, born in 1987, married and mother of three. I’m the president of cooperative Asnli in Immouzer Marmoucha.

Youssef :
Could you tell us a bit about how you got started ?

Aicha :
When we arrived in Immouzer, we used to make rugs with a group of women, usually 3 or 4 women from neighbours and family. When we would finish our rugs, there were these people (middlemen) who would buy the rugs from us. So whenever we finished a rug, we would take it to the side of the rug for the middlemen to see it. They then would buy the rugs from us at a very low price.

We kept working this way until one day we thought :

Why not unite, start a cooperative, and find a way to market our products ?

And this is what we did. During the early days of the cooperative, we continued working the old way (with middlemen), making rugs and selling them at a very low price.

About 2 years ago, we came across Anou. Through it, we found out that our products were quite popular, the prices higher than we thought and soon our cooperative became well known. We started to sell, not only in Morocco, but abroad now !

This motivated us to make great efforts to improve our rugs, incorporate new designs into them and go forward with our craft.

Youssef :
A true success story ! And how was your experience working with the Anou team ?

Aicha :
We learned a lot. Before, we didn’t use to pay that much attention to the colors or the wool we used. Now, for each product we’re about to make, we make sure the colors go well together, and that the wool is of good quality. We also make sure that the rug won’t unravel later. Overall, we pay excellent attention to end up with a good quality rug.


A problem we used to face is getting custom orders for a specific design. It was hard to us to translate that pattern on the rug. The calculations were difficult to get right. But now, thanks to Meriem’s plan (Anou’s production manager), we know how the rug is advancing. Now, we have almost 100% certainty about how the final rug is going to look like, and that the pattern will be correct. Using a plan made things so much easier.

Youssef :
This all sounds wonderful. Finally, what are your goals for the future ?

Aicha :
My goal, and that of all cooperative members, is to expand our cooperative and introduce it to as many people as possible. Most importantly, we want to be recognized for our hard work and we want this hard work to pay off for us. We want the cooperative to thrive !

Youssef :
Thank you so much Aicha.

Learn more

We hope you enjoyed this little interview with Aicha ! If you’d like to know more about Asnli and view some of their beautiful designs, visit their page on Anou.

See you soon for episode #2 !

The video recording of the interview

Breaking Ground : Africa’s first carbon-negative yarn

The genesis of the Atlas Wool Supply Co.

In response to finding toxic chemicals in dyes and materials artisans used in Morocco several years ago, The Anou Cooperative launched a trial initiative called the Atlas Wool Supply Co.

Our goal was to provide artisans and the wider craft community in Morocco with high quality wool, dyes and other materials that were safe for artisans, their environment, and their customers.

Since then, we have shipped tens of thousands of kilograms of wool and materials to artisans across Morocco. We’ve also developed deep expertise in wool, dyes, and their environmental impact gleaned from years of learning from mistakes, difficult lessons and trial and error.

The world since then has changed as well. Rising global temperatures, rapid rates of land degradation and a global pandemic. This has pushed us to ask ourselves : how can we create material that is not only safe, but material that actually regenerates the land and environment where artisans live?

Moving forward with Africa’s first carbon negative wool

Today marks the next phase of the Atlas Wool Supply Co. This past week in the High Atlas Mountains, we broke ground on building Morocco’s only integrated wool and yarn mill that aims to become carbon negative.

Tractor breaks ground for the upcoming Atlas Wool Supply Co. mill in Ait Bouguemez

Set in Ait Bouguemez, the future mill is not only the first of its kind in Africa, it’s also the first significant economic project in the area. This matters because Ait Bouguemez belongs to a region usually forgotten in economic development initiatives, where employment opportunities are limited and heavily dependent on tourism.

Water successfully found !

In parallel, in the upcoming weeks, we will also complete the construction of our carbon neutral dye studio, as well as a flagship yarn store in the old city of Fez.

As construction continues, we will slowly be opening our physical and digital stores to a select number of (patient) customers willing to join this journey and take part as beta testers. If you’re interested in taking part, you can register on the Atlas Wool Supply Co website.

As we work to our official launch later this year, we will continue to share our progress on the blog and via our newsletters. Please help us spread the word by forwarding our newsletters, sharing our Instagram content and website.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the Atlas Wool Supply Co thus far and thank you for your continued support.

The Anou Artisans