otiblog

Direction Casablanca

CAMBON. When I first heard Cambon, I immediately thought of Rue Cambon in Paris; Chanel’s prestigious address. Just enough time for my mind to dream of this glamorous and iconic place… and back to reality. Yes, I was looking for accessories to produce the bags for the new collection Woura in Morocco, and one of the designers* I met earlier gave me this name. Cambon is a company that sells accessories for bags.

Few metro stops and a bit of walk and I am in front of what looks like an abandoned artist's atelier. It was light inside and I could hear what sounded like a TV and people talking. I touched the door, it was open. I pushed it and here I was, in this amazing Ali Baba’s cavern of leather: shelves and shelves of metallic pieces, all types of ribbons, boxes and boxes. There was a wooden counter and after a few seconds a charming lady came to me. The only people present in this atelier were of a certain age, and they were not speaking anything else other than Portuguese. I carefully tried to explain my needs in "Portignol" - a mix of Portuguese and Spanish. The lady invited me to pass to the other side of the counter and showed me the shelf with all the metallic pieces I may needed. She offered me a chair and here I was, going through all the files with all types of accessories. I was happy to see that there were all the pieces I needed. I did my selection and gave it to the lady, who promptly went to retrieve the pieces, count the quantities and wrap them all up for me. The nickel brass buckles were unavailable, so she proposed to order them from the Italian company who manufactured them, to be delivered next week. Of course - let’s do it ! No need to search for another place, I had all the accessories I needed, the same that I had chosen in the South of France. It was the exact same pieces from the same Italian company. I felt so lucky. 

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So now I had the heavy accessories in my bag and I had one week to find a way to send them to Morocco. So now I had the heavy accessories in my bag and I had one week to find a way to send them to Morocco. I needed something secure and not too expensive. I did my research online and all that I found were bus lines from France or Spain to Morocco but I couldn’t find anything from Portugal. I didn’t want to take the risk to send them by post. By air, it was also very expensive and lots of paper work for such a small package to send. 

After comparing the different options, the most economical, effective and easiest one was me carrying them myself to Morocco. I could do two things in once : deliver the accessories, and source the brown leather to be used in the production. I couldn’t lose any more time - the days were ticking away and the deadline was fast approaching. 

Morocco here is my comeback !

My flights booked, I received a whatsapp message from Samir in Casablanca, with pictures of some promising dark brown leather samples. It looked very good and very similar to the one I used for the prototypes. It seemed too good to be true. I planned to stay two days in Casablanca and I had to complete my mission. It was stressful as time was short; it was also during the Kareem and the activities were slowing down. Samir went to pick me up at the airport. It was weird to be back. It was my home for a couple of years and now I was back as a stranger. I was still very happy to be back. I was happy to see the donkeys in the streets and even happy to hear the non-stop horns in the traffic. We talked about my new life in Portugal and about the next game to come between Portugal and Morocco in the World Cup 2018. It was difficult for me to pick a side even if I had the conviction that Portugal would win - Go Cristiano Ronaldo!

OK, let’s see the leathers now. I couldn’t believe it. Samir had found the perfect ones. He already delivered them to Le Fabrikant, where my collection will be produced, so first mission accomplished! 6pm - time to break the fast for Ramadan. 

My mission on the next morning was going to Le Fabrikant atelier and deliver my accessories, check the leathers delivered and conclude our production planning. I won’t be back in Morocco for a while now.

Everything looked right: as said earlier, the activity was a little bit slown down due to Ramadan, but we should keep our schedule as planned. I was relieved that I could go back to Lisbon with a lot less pressure!

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