Mallory Solomon is a New York City-based advertising executive whose decision to “get away” from the Big Apple proved life-changing. In 2018, Mallory booked a flight to Morocco and fell in love with the Berber traditions and handcrafted rugs that she found while shopping in the souks. “I did what any tourist does and went textile shopping… they spend months or even years making these pieces. They are invaluable works of art.”
The Berber women have been hand-weaving textiles since 600 BC and passing their knowledge down from generation to generation. Each rug is blessed with a prayer called “Istikara,” with the intention of protecting the home of the buyer from the evil eye. The storytelling component to the ancestral craft inspired Mallory to launch her own Berber rug company. Unlike other import companies that use a middle man to purchase from the weavers, Salam Hello sources everything directly from Berber female artisans. According to the company’s research, brokers typically drive artisan prices down and often artisans can barely break-even. Salam Hello aims to be more personal. They fly out to meet the women who design each rug as to be able to share the story first hand behind each creation they offer.
“We pay the women a fair wage, and never go below an artisan’s first asking price. We also involve the women in the negotiations and ask them to share their stories,” Solomon says.
The company admits their prices are slightly higher than one might find in Morocco’s souks, however, it is with the intention of fairly compensating the artisans. The Berber rugs they sell are made from 100% sheep’s wool and the natural fibers are dyed using with spices and fruits such as pomegranate, mint, and saffron. They can be purchased on the SalamHello website. From the time an order is placed, the company strives for the products to arrive within seven business days. With proper care, SalamHello rugs are intended to last for decades.