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Our story

Souks du Monde, meaning markets of the world, is a curated online marketplace of hand-picked fair trade and sustainably made products from souks around the world. Shop with consciousness.

The face behind Souks du Monde

Hi! I'm Lise Bienvenu. I'm an avid traveler, market frequenter, and collector of precious souvenirs. I started Souks du Monde after a career as a public school teacher in New York City. As a perk of teaching, my husband and I used to spend our summer vacations traveling. One of my favorite things to do when visiting a new place is to stop by the local market to learn about the artisanal products and the stories behind them.
During a trip to Senegal, I discovered a market with beautifully hand-woven baskets that were made by women in a small Wolof village. The vendor explained that the women’s creations have become popular in home decor publications outside of Senegal, thus expanding the exposure of the artisans’ baskets. Popularity of these handmade crafts has empowered the women as they provide their community with life-changing income.
This discovery is what sparked the idea for Souks du Monde. I realized the potential behind sharing my finds of unique handmade products from small artisans in sometimes hard-to-reach areas. In turn, these crafters distribute their art with the world beyond their community and create a better future for themselves and their families. Since starting, I have connected with artisans, weavers, and vendors all over the world and am continuing to expand the collections that Souks du Monde offers.

Our brand

Souks are the marketplaces or bazaars of countries in Western Asia and Northern Africa, as well as in other African countries. Among the most visited souks of the world are the Medina, of Marrakech, Morocco, and the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey. These souks, like many other souks around the world, host a wealth of treasures that have been made from resources in the community by artisans using traditional techniques.


What do we do?

During our travels around the world, we have curated a hand-picked collection of fair trade and sustainably made creations. Making meaningful connections directly with artisans and our customers allows these groups to extend their products’ distribution to reach more customers, thereby earning a living wage. Each new trip helps us to continue to be inspired by new artisans, as we discover new ways to promote their handmade products.

Shopping at Souks du Monde means empowering the artisans, supporting their craft, and investing in their community. Each purchase encourages the traditional craft of our artisans to be passed down to younger generations in their community, empowers women to become valued members of their societies, and supports success among small enterprises in the developing world, all the while providing a brighter future for the artisans themselves and their families.

In addition to the wage our artisans are paid for their one-of-a-kind creations, a percentage of your Souk du Monde purchase goes back to the artisans’ community, where schools are built, wells are constructed, essential medical care is provided, and income is generated by these fair trade sales. Your purchases enable us to do this, so thank you!