POPSUGAR Celebrity

6 Ways to Master the Art of Shopping Abroad

May 1 2014 - 1:41pm

While traveling to Morocco might be on a lot of bucket lists, Project Bly [1]'s new Marrakech shop [2] offers instant satisfaction. This isn't your average online shopping experience — cherry-picked treasures from the world's most sought-after markets are accompanied by gorgeous photos and interesting anecdotes. On her latest travel adventure, Project Bly founder Rena Thiagarajan teamed up with Sacramento Street [3] blogger Caitlin Flemming to tackle Marrakech's famed markets. Keep reading for Rena's must-know tips for navigating Marrakech like a pro. Take it away, Rena!

Source: Shantanu Starick [4] for Project Bly [5]

The souks are the heart and pulse of the medina, the ancient walled city of Marrakech. Most first time visitors get lost in its twisting streets and alleyways, and while that's half the fun, don't worry — there is a method to the madness. This thousand-year-old trading city is organized by makers and sellers: the shoemakers, the dyers, the weavers, the carpenters, the blacksmiths, and more. And if you ever get so turned around and find yourself walking in circles, just stop and ask a vendor to point you in the direction of the main square, Jemaa el-Fnaa. Once there, drink a cool, delicious glass of orange juice, catch your breath, and then venture back into the souks to keep exploring.

Here are some tips on navigating Marrakech's souks and bringing the best back home with you!

Source: Shantanu Starick [6] for Project Bly [7]

Vintage Silver

There's more to Marrakech than rugs. We went a little crazy for the vintage silver teapots, hamam bowls, and trays. Souk Nahhassine sells brass and copper ware, and you'll find our favorite vendor, Chaaroui Mohamed, in the store his father started in Bab Ftouh foundouk. A legacy from Marrakech's history as a caravanserai for merchants traveling along the old trade routes, foundouks like Mohamed's are now often used as workshops for local artisans.

Source: Shantanu Starick [8] for Project Bly [9]


We also loved the white glazed Tadelakt ceramics with silver details. Morocco has a rich history, dating back to Neolithic times. Moist clay is dug from the earth; limestone is baked to a powder; and pots, plates, tiles, and bowls are heated to perfection. Our go-to for the pretty bowls we purchased was Lahandira, located at Sidi Ishak, no.100, Marrakech, Morocco.

Source: Shantanu Starick [10] for Project Bly [11]


Finally, make sure you stop by Rahba Kadima, the spice market for mint tea, sumac, and fleur d'oranger oil. These make great gifts and are easy to pack. In the square, you'll find vendors selling handwoven baskets perfect for hanging on a wall or using as a centerpiece at your table.

Source: Shantanu Starick [12] for Project Bly [13]


You've got yourself a new rug, and it's not going to fit into your suitcase. No need to worry — most rug merchants in Morocco will help you ship your rug home. Before you start bargaining for one, make sure to ask if they ship and whether the shipping is included in the price. Also, if you do purchase more than you can take home and don't have a rug merchant to help you out, the Marrakech Post Office is a reliable option.

Source: Shantanu Starick [14] for Project Bly [15]


Once you know what kind of a rug you want it’s time for some haggling. Bargaining is an art form, and it’s just as much about forming a relationship as getting a good deal. The goal should be for you and the vendor to walk away happy, and bargaining in Marrakech often, can start with a cup of tea. Take your time, bargain hard, but keep it friendly; it’s a game, and you might as well enjoy the process. One thing to remember about bargaining is that you’ll play better if you go into it knowing what price you’re willing to pay and if you’re ready to walk away.

Source: Shantanu Starick [16] for Project Bly [17]

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