October 8, 2009

I can barely remember how Sevinch got started. She had found the tassel of her dreams in the bazaar, and she wanted to make a career in passementerie. Wait, now I remember: she went to all the fabric and drapery showrooms in Cairo, and asked if she could buy tassels from them with the intention of exporting them. Of course that could never have worked, the pricing and mark-ups could not have permitted it to.

One day, one of the staff in a particular showroom, took her furtively onto the street: “Madam, madam – I can put you directly in touch with a workshop.”

Drop fringe 005

And so Sevinch met a kindly and humble Lebanese trimmings maker, by the name of Mohamed Abboud. Not only did he teach her much about the makings of the product, he encouraged and abetted her to go out and sell. He advised on the styles and colours she should attempt to market. He even gave her the names and addresses of potential clients. A trusting and decent thing to do: utterly rare in the ultra-suspicious market place that we subsequently discovered Cairo to be.

Mohamed was a really sweet-natured man. He had a huge workshop out in green fields close to the city. The area was timeless, fields of green fodder, rocket, coriander and other herbs growing from soil with the consistency and appearance of chocolate cake, the calls of children, turbaned fellahin squatting as they cut the produce with hand scythes, ox carts, donkeys and chickens populating the surrounds of the workshop.

Alas, eventually, Mohamed had to do a runner back to Lebanon from Egypt, his creditors hot on his heels.

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