Our Story/Meet the Owners
Soumak Boutique is the brainchild of Rasha and Elvira, two passionate Middle Eastern women who share a deep love and admiration for Middle Eastern handcraft art and culture. The boutique was established in May 2021 with the goal of showcasing the rich and diverse culture of the Middle East, while creating sustainable alternatives to practical and beloved items from the region.
The idea for Soumak Boutique was inspired by the support groups formed for refugee women and adolescent girls in the aftermath of the war in Syria. These groups utilized their artisan skills to create beautiful handmade products that tell their stories of the refugee journey and reflect their unique culture. The experience was both arduous and inspiring, and highlighted the incredible potential of artisan women despite their struggles. Today, Soumak Boutique operates in Canada with a mission to empower refugee and women artisans.
Rasha grew up in old Damascus, while Elvira grew up in old Baku and Istanbul. Both cities are renowned for their beautiful craftsmanship in various forms of handmade arts, including mosaic arts, textiles, tapestries, pottery and ceramics, mother of pearl marquetry, wood engraving, and stone mosaic. Despite being far from their heritage culture and handicraft, the two women were driven by a strong nostalgic emotion to bring this culture to Canada.
Soumak Boutique takes pride in promoting this rich culture, reviving the heritage, and educating people about Middle Eastern history and culture through artwork. The boutique is also committed to being a sustainable business with a strategic focus on producing goods that are made in small batches and require a craftsman's skill. The goal is to create beauty, cozy and warm spirit in your or your child's ambiance.
Soumak Boutique sources 100% natural textiles and tapestries such as Turkish towels, handwoven robes, Kilim bags/pillows, handwoven in Turkey by women from various marginalized villages. The boutique also collaborates with different local Canadian artisans as well as Syrian refugees residing in Canada who make Mosaic Syrian handcrafts and board games. By working with craftspeople, weavers, jewelry makers, and others who have practiced their craft for generations, Soumak Boutique aims not only to support them in their craft and enable customers to experience a beatufiul vibe but also to be part of a conscious movement that offers consumers the opportunity to shop mindfully and enjoy a long-lasting product of special beauty that brings to life a tremendous history.