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Meet Rania Nelson of Illy Made in Inglewood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rania Nelson.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’m one of the founders of Illy Made and my story as an L.A. based business owner actually began in France. I was living in Nice completing a degree in filmmaking when I decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue a career in entertainment. That eventually led me to producing film and TV promotions for a local ad agency, but I pretty quickly came the realization that the industry wasn’t for me.

I had always considered starting a business but never felt the time was right. Faced with a career move and after a lot of soul searching, my mom, husband and I came up with the idea to create a company that would  manufacture and import the Moroccan products we all loved. There are lots of reasons to start a business. Wanting  to stay connected to my Moroccan culture and share this experience with my mother were two big reasons that made starting Illy Made feel like the right fit.

Has it been a smooth road?
The road has not always been smooth, but it has been a really exciting and fulfilling one. The challenges never stop. From figuring out the first step in bringing this idea to life, to finding the right partners and ways to get our brand out there, we’re learning everything as we go.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Illy Made is a modern take on Moroccan vintage. The journey each of our products makes is a pretty unique one. We start by searching the souk to find the most beautiful vintage Berber textiles. We then up-cycle the textiles by working with local artisans to manufacture luxury home goods & accessories. We are proud to offer products that embody  traditional Moroccan craftsmanship combined with clean aesthetics and hand made quality.

What’s your favorite memory from childhood?
A favorite memory for me is walking through the souk with my mother. I loved watching her negotiate with vendors and how she always managed to find the most beautiful things. The souks in Morocco are endlessly stimulating, sometimes overwhelming and definitely life-changing. I am trying to capture some of that magic in the products we create.

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