Port Tanger is an eyewear label inspired by the vibrant coastal city of Tangier, Morocco.
Each pair features six points on each side that symbolise the label’s brand pillars: appreciation of the past through nostalgia, tradition and craftsmanship and cherishing the future through hope, design and culture.
To understand the craft, Emirates Woman speaks to the team about what makes the brand unique.
What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine?
It depends on the inspiration and intention of the day. Usually, there are different visits. If am lucky enough to begin my day with introspection at sunrise, then often the first 30 minutes consists of that.
How did your previous roles support you being able to launch your own brand and how did you know it was the right time?
No specific previous roles supported the launch of the brand. We intuitively felt it was time to explore our love for design publicly and since then we have operated on similar impulses.
All your pieces are handcrafted in Japan. How challenging was refining the manufacturing process and ensuring consistency in production?
We established a relationship with a Japanese factory that was truly beneficial in terms of quality control and scheduling. Consistency and refinement became a natural cause of building a strong two-year relationship with the factory that shares our values. As we are a family business, this was fundamental to us, as a family evolves or- genetically, so does our production.
Tell us about your sunglasses collection – which are your favourite pair and where do you like to source them from?
Through my travels alone in Milan and other parts of Europe – I sought a special piece that would complement my facial structure, a pair that would feel light on my nose. Until I found the pair, I was only someone who appreciated eyewear on the faces of strangers.
How do you balance the creative and commercial sides of the business and do you feel more drawn to one than the other?
We have to adapt to both sides as it’s required now more than ever. The creative part takes place in the phase of ideation and shooting and the business part underlines the whole process. After establishing the direction of the brand’s generation we move on to producing the shoot. Working with our community of friends is a big plus to keep a balance be- tween both sides, business and creative.
How do you balance wholesale with retail and why did you decide to extend your brand to e-commerce platforms?
It becomes natural to trade in virtual realities like the internet. It’s the currency of our time. As I mentioned, we adapt to the market yet we are a family business with integrity. We work with our partners including MATCHESFASHION on developing long-term relationships.
How many people are on your team now and did you start out alone?
It started with a poem, then with my family and some friends we grew the idea of developing the brand. There are a few additional members to our Port Tanger family now, but it is a tight family. The romance of this project comes from the feeling of knowing that it can exist authentically. From that willingness to make it happen came many surprises, blissful and inevitably with some difficulties, just as all families experience that duality. Port Tanger is that gap between North Africa and Europe, the stretch of both continents – between the two flows of water in the Mediterranean.
What would be your advice to other entrepreneurs regarding taking on investment from external parties? Is it necessary?
Look first for angel investors. Who are your friends, family, and peers that believe in your long-term vision and philosophy of your brand? Start there before considering larger external parties.
What have been the biggest challenges to date and how did you overcome them?
Challenge is the necessary tension that helps expand an element of the brand. A challenge is only showing you, the brand, where more attention and nurture are necessary. Embrace them as you would embrace progress.
How have you found social media in terms of supporting brand growth?
We let time tell us if we have an echo on social media and if it touches people. So far we have been well received digitally. The integrity of our brand relies on not forcing ourselves into the minds of others.
How do you approach scaling without compromising on quality?
Avoiding greed, allocating your capital correctly, and staying true to the brand’s value system.
Have you had any mentors along the way and if so, what knowledge did they impart?
Yes, I have found great resources for learning from different societies and how we are connecting with one another. This is the mentorship of life.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I feel I’m finding this younger self more and more in me lately. When I was younger I raced with myself to be older. I’d advise that young man to be present and keep his heart open to the world.
This is The Entrepreneur Issue – what does this mean to you?
It is a celebration of our passions and intentions being realized in the world.
Port Tanger is part of MATCHESFASHION’s Innovators talent-support programme, championing emerging design talents.
September’s – The Entrepreneur Issue – Download Now
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