It all started when I was a little boy of 6 years old. I remember asking my father about his profession.
He said he was an artisan. I did not quite understand that so I asked him what an artisan was. He said he was making items from leather, like bags, purses… In the eyes of a 6-year-old boy, an artisan is not really something you wish to become when you get older. I thought it was a boring job.
The next weekend my father took me to his shop, I was amazed!! Never have I ever seen so many colorful leather items in one place. And there in the center of it all, my father was sitting on a little chair, with a needle in his hand, creating one more item to add to the collection. He was the man behind all that Magic. I felt so proud of my Dad, and suddenly I was more interested in that job.
I sat next to him while he polished a piece of leather. He cut it with a big pair of Scissors, used some glue, and tapped on it with a little hammer. My eyes never left his hands. You can imagine how mesmerizing that experience was for me as I still remember, 18 years later, the details from that day.
As the years passed, I seized every opportunity to join my father in his shop. He would not of course let me come on school days, as he wanted me to excel in my studies. So I had to impatiently wait for the holidays to give him a visit in the little shop. I started learning to differentiate a good piece of leather from a bad one. The next step for me was to imagine the item I wanted to make, so I had to draw a little sketch and proudly show it to my dad, which he gives it more details to make it look perfect. Then, I began manipulating the different tools and learning the purpose behind each tool.
My creation was a small blue bag. I was so proud of myself. There I was, a boy of 10 years old, making his first item like a talented artisan. I celebrated that with some cotton candy on the Jamaa Elfna Square on our way home.
I became a frequent visitor to the shop. I did not have much time while in high school so I waited for the summer to work in the shop. I was doing a job that I loved while making some money helping my father. I even had the opportunity to get to know my father better. He was quite a funny man. We would exchange jokes with other artisans or even customers who visited the shop.
Today, and thanks to my father who is still doing this job for 45 years, I am able to bring to the world our amazing products.