Introducing Marie Besson, founder of Little Known Makers - handmade, unique and eco-friendly accessories and homewares from around the globe.
Raised in Mauritius, a tropical island nestled to the east of Madagascar, Marie Besson’s inspiration is drawn from the beauty of nature and the natural materials that earth provides.
Each collection features plant-based materials including raffia sourced from Madagascar Island and natural dyes derived from plants. Often travelling to the island her father called home, Marie has felt the call to make a difference from a young age, by giving back to the local people who live with bare minimum.
“I want to share the gift they have to the world and help them create sustainable livelihoods for themselves and their families.”
Do you have a creative background?
I have a business and event management background.
What do you do, when not working on Little Known Makers?
Being passionate about everything African, I am the secretary for a business council who promotes trades and cultural exchange between Australia and Africa.
Tell us about the name Little Known Makers, how did this come about?
Growing up in Mauritius my mother would always go to her favourite local craft person, the metalwork, the waiver, the dressmaker, when she needed something personal made or to give new life to our furniture.
I love that in the Mascarene Islands you can still find small local handiwork and I wish these skills would never be lost, as they are part of our stories.
The people of Madagascar have a lot of abilities and ancestral skills, which are not known to the world. I created the business with the intention to showcase their talent.
That is how the name Little Known Makers was born.
Tell us about your products?
Our creation of bags, baskets and cushions are beautifully handcrafted in a small atelier in Madagascar.
Berber Rugs from the Atlas Mountain, which I have handpicked during a trip to Morocco and Peruvian rugs hand-woven by the Indigenous community in the Sacred Valley in Peru.
What inspires you, creatively?
My recent travels to Morocco, the architecture and design of beautiful homes and being in nature. Daily rhythms like meditation and yoga are what set me up for greater flow of awareness and creativity.
Do you implement any sustainable practices within your company, if so tell us about this?
All our cushions, baskets and bags are made of a natural and sustainably sourced fibre Raffia which comes from the Raffia Palm tree, the leaves of the tree needs to be harvested regularly to allow other fauna and flora to grow. The Raffia is naturally dyed, we don't use any chemicals.
We use a recycled PET cushion insert, which is filled with 100% PET fibre derived from recycled water bottles. For every 1kg of fibre used more than 70 water bottles are saved from landfill.
On the ethical side, as it very important to us to give back to the local community, we send 50% of profit of the sales of our Peruvian rug to a non-profit organisation in the small village of Pisaq in the Sacred Valley whose initiatives directly benefit the indigenous weavers and their families.
I like to listen to podcasts about Vedic wisdom which comes from ancient Indian texts: The Mahasoma Podcast and Very Vedic, or some business related podcast like Imprint with Natalie Walton.
Favourite way to unwind?
I meditate 20 to 30 min twice a day, which gives me more clarity and energy throughout the day.
Websites or profiles you love for business inspiration right now?
I love reading travel stories shared by Majestic Disorder (@majesticdisorder)
Connect with Little Known Makers online, here.