• Hello Rym & Camille ! You are the founders of the brand TASZURI, could you introduce yourselves in a few words, as well as your backgrounds ?
Rym – Hello ! I am Rym, I am 30 years old. I was born and raised in Algiers, and my family is of Kabyle origin. After the baccalaureate, I moved to Marseille to study physics and chemistry. For my Master’s degree, I moved to Paris and went on to do a PhD in chemistry on the resistance of bacteria to antibiotics. I observed bacteria responsible for serious hospital-acquired infections under the microscope. I studied their behavior in the presence of different antibiotics in order to find solutions to resistance phenomena…
After my thesis, I joined a microscopy startup where I did a bit of everything, from scientific research to marketing and sales. But in parallel to this scientific career, in 2017, I also created Taszuri, a brand of decorative and fashion accessories inspired by Amazigh tattoos. Over the years, Taszuri has grown, and I decided to dedicate myself to it full time in 2020, to give it its full chance !
Camille – Hello ! My name is Camille, I’m 32 years old and I’m Rym’s partner since 2019. I grew up in the Paris area, and like Rym I have a scientific background. I went to engineering school and did a thesis in biology during which I used microscopy techniques to study epigenetic memory. I was trying to observe, at the nanoscale, the arrangement of DNA and how this organization is transmitted during cell division.
Exactly like Rym, I joined the same microscopy company after my thesis, and that’s where we met ! We worked together on a lot of projects, we traveled from Glasgow to Granada via Freiburg together, and above all we got along great. We were compatible personally and professionally, so Rym asked me to join her at Taszuri to continue developing the brand together. Of course, I accepted !
• How was the TASZURI project born ? And what are your respective roles within this project ?
It all started in the summer of 2017.
I returned to Algeria and spent my vacations in Kabylia with my family. In some villages, I came across elderly women with tattooed faces. Talking with my father, I learned that his grandmother was also tattooed like many Amazigh women of her generation. Intrigued, I couldn’t help but go digging…
I discovered a tradition that dates back to Antiquity and was passed on between women : women used to tattoo themselves to mark a stage in their lives, to symbolize their values, to decorate their bodies, to protect themselves… Each symbol had a meaning that was passed on from generation to generation.
But I also learned that this tradition was disappearing. The last generations of Amazigh women with tattoos are the same age as our grandmothers, and with them will disappear this thousand-year-old cultural heritage.
Taszuri was a way to bring Amazigh tattoos and their meanings to life in a different way : I started painting decorations highlighting these symbols and talking about their meanings that I would look up in books. I created an Instagram account, an Etsy store, then my own website… the project has come a long way but the goal is still the same : to pay tribute to Amazigh women and their tattoos.
In more practical terms : I started as an auto-entrepreneur. In 2019, Camille joined the project, we officially created the company at the end of 2020, and today we are both invested full time in Taszuri. We brainstorm and define the whole strategy together, then I take care of the creative, production and marketing part, and Camille does the production, finance and accounting. But we always test our ideas together and we’re both pretty versatile !
• What are your links with Berber/Amazigh cultures ?
My family is Amazigh, my husband’s too, and even if we live in France we are very attached to the Amazigh culture. Taszuri is also a family business in which we put all our heart to enhance our cultural heritage.
But the goal is not only to make known the culture… Behind Taszuri, there is also an aesthetic approach, the desire to make modern crafts and in the spirit of this time. We want to offer creations that speak to everyone, of Amazigh origin or not.
We dream of creating a brand known by all, which makes the Amazigh tattoos shine AND which proposes stylish creations !
• Some examples of what you can find at TASZURI ?
We offer fashion and decorative accessories inspired by Amazigh tattoos. Mugs, ceramics, jars, bags, jewelry, T-shirts, ephemeral tattoos… many everyday objects, each one highlighting a tattoo and its meaning. The gazelle on a banana, the tree on a bowl, the woman on a mug… we tried to create a sunny and colorful universe, which puts women and tattoos at the center of the aesthetic approach. And last fall, we released a book, to share even more with our community what we know about Amazigh tattoos.
All our creations are handmade and ethical. We design all our creations, then, depending on the products, we make them ourselves or we call upon trusted artisan partners. Our ceramics and jars are hand-modeled by partner potters in the south of France, then we paint them in the Paris region, we glaze them and we anneal them in our ceramic kiln. We design and print our posters in our workshop. The bags are the result of a collaboration with the brand Hindbag which manufactures them through their partner NGO in India. The jewelry is handmade by Jen de la Jungle Bijoux, with whom we have been collaborating for several years. She is now based in Barcelona and sources locally.
• You recently released the book « Women Go, and Tattoos Tell« , with beautiful illustrations inside ! What is the subject of this book, and how did the research and writing process go ?
As we collected information about Amazigh tattoos, we realized that all this knowledge was very difficult to access. Our community was asking us a lot to know more, and few people were able to get hold of the books written by researchers on the subject, which were often no longer edited.
And then we realized something obvious : the goal of Taszuri was to make Amazigh tattoos known, so wasn’t it easier to do it in writing ? We wanted to perpetuate our knowledge through a book, and not only through ephemeral posts on social networks.
So we started writing our book « Women go, and tattoos tell » to share what we knew about Amazigh women, their role in society and of course their tattoos !
And like everything at Taszuri, we wanted it to be illustrated. So we drew tattooed women in warm color palettes and with modern, clean lines. We’re very proud of this book which totally sums up the spirit of our brand.
We were inspired by the books we already had on the subject : in particular the wonderful work of Lucienne Brousse, Camille Lacoste-Dujardin, Makilam… women who have brought a new look on the tattoos of Amazigh women and who have given voice to the main interested. We also made a lot of return trips to the BnF to complete our work ! All our sources are listed in the bibliography at the end of the book, and the main books on the subject are also quoted in our blog post « 6 essential books to discover Berber tattoos and symbols« . After this long bibliographic work, we wrote everything in one summer, due to the summer deadline !
• What are your current or future projects ?
There are many and we have always done everything by feel at Taszuri, but on the other hand, since this year we are starting to find a rhythm of collections a little more stable !
We launch two big collections a year : one in spring and one in fall with each time a theme, a color palette and a set of creations ranging from ceramics to bags in collab with the brand Hindbag, to jewelry, jars…
At the moment, the collection is called ILELLI, « free » in Tamazight. We were inspired by the image of a strong and confident woman, who knows what she wants and is not afraid to dare ! We chose shades of plum, apricot, mint, lavender, blue klein… and for the first time we released a series of earrings in clay hyper colored.
Every year, we also launch a collection of Amazigh-inspired jewelry in collab with Jen from La Jungle Bijoux, a great artisan we love working with !
And of course, we have a second book project. We are in the middle of the book phase, but we won’t tell you more 😉
IN THE SPIRIT OF TASZURI
Inspiring works, ideas, words and places
A movie ? « La dernière reine » by Damien Ounouri and Adila Bendimerad
A book ? « La vaillance des femmes » by Camille Lacoste-Dujardin
An artist ? Maejda Benchaabane
An instrument ? The 4 guitars of my husband
A song ? « Jimy d hamma » by Iwal
A quote ? « Happy the one who can act according to his desires » (Amazigh proverb)
A dish ? The chakhchoukha of Biskra
A place ? Ichaalalene, our family home in Kabylia
To better discover Amazigh and Berber culture
An emblematic object of the Amazigh culture ? The clay jar
An Amazigh proverb to accompany our days ? « Scratch yourself where you feel itchy
A symbol to tattoo ? The sun, symbol of life and power
A place to learn the Amazigh language ? A trip to Kabylia
An Amazigh artist ? Flèche love
An Amazigh song ? « Ssendu » by Idir
A book ? « Amazigh » by Sid Ahmed Hamdad
A Berber restaurant ? In Paris, Majouja
Accounts to follow to better discover the Amazigh culture ? @tamazgha.history, @berberewoman