Mahdia is a small Tunisian coastal city about 250 kilometers from Tunis. This charming spot sits on a peninsula and relies on tourism, fishing, and the production of olive oil but also has a long tradition of silk weaving that dates back to the 11th century, explains Hassine Labaied.
In 2016, he and his wife, Malek Hamza, founded SKILA, a brand producing high-quality, handmade scarves and shawls in silk and cashmere.
“We started from scratch,” remembers Labaied, who put an end to a 12-year career in the banking industry that led him to Dubai before starting this new adventure. “Mahdia is our hometown, so we knew where we were heading. Now, we are one of the main private investors in handicraft in the area,” he states.
According to him, since its founding, SKILA’s turnover has been steadily growing at a yearly average rate of 50%, except for in COVID-19, 2020, when the brand was still able to break even. SKILA now operates three shops in Tunisia, plus an international distribution channel (SKILA International) that allows it to sell its products through third-party retailers in Belgium, France, and Switzerland.