Combining intricate handmade pieces with a modern flair, the husband and wife duo behind Jozee Boutique do diversity with a difference.
When it comes to travelling within the borders of our own country, most of us haven’t been past the pearly gates of Gouna. Rarely do we venture into unknown areas and truly discover the country but that wasn’t the case for the founders of Jozee Boutique, Josline El Kholy and her husband Ezz Eldin Mokhtar. The duo started the ethnic-inspired brand as a result of their frequent travels throughout Egypt. “The boutique started because my husband and I were in love with crafts and handmade, ethnic products. We used to travel a lot inside Egypt and meet a lot of the people who worked on ethnic pieces, in numerous areas, from Siwa to Sinai to Luxor, and eventually we wanted to incorporate their work into our own designs,” El Kholy tells us.
The couple started the brand, designing the products and then taking them to craftsmen in various parts of Egypt to work their embroidered magic on them. “We create the piece and give it to them to embroiderers who make beautiful in their own way. And it’s actually ethnic because it comes directly from these people based on their heritage and culture – and each and every ethnic group has their own identity and that reflects in their products, like with the colours and symbols they select and use,” El Kholy elaborates. The pieces featured at Jozee Boutique are all current fashions and modern cuts, but infused with an old world, traditional, ethnic touch; think a strip of beautiful embroidery done by Bedouin women inserted into cool leather messenger bags.
The two have travelled and met with the locals in every part of Egypt from Sohag to Luxor, and, inspired by their divergent designs, continue to look for more skilled craftsmen to work with. “We go every once in a while to give them the pieces; sometimes we’ll live with them for a while. They’re really amazing people, and so welcoming. But what’s fascinating is that in Egypt, literally in every city or village, you find very skilled people who can create different things – we have all these treasures across Egypt and they’re all beautiful. We keep on discovering new people that can do different things.”
Driven by a passion for all things handmade “with an ethnic flavour” the couple then expanded the concept to a site that they envisions as a hub for other brands, not just Egyptian, that share their aesthetic. They currently feature brands exhibiting items from North Africa and India, all of which are imbued with that signature traditional touch that Jozee loves.