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Q&A with Leila of Blue Fish

To Blue Fish founder Leila Ben Gacem, Tunisia means hope. She sees a country at a geographic crossroads where cultures have collided and co-mingled, and she’s dedicated herself to telling that story. We work closely with Leila and her team to source collections made entirely by hand by artisan communities across Tunisia. Once you’ve finished reading, watch her speak about igniting Tunisia’s heritage on PBS Newshour!

What do you do?
I am trained in biomedical engineering, but have dedicated my life to heritage revival through economic inclusion.

Leila ben Gacem in the courtyard of Dar ben Gacem, the 17th century home in the medina she restored into a 7-room guesthouse. (Image: Dar ben Gacem)

What inspired you to start your business?
I felt that our heritage could be better promoted through innovative means that tell a more positive story and create and sustain more jobs locally. We work with artisans to create 100% handmade products, resulting in positive social and economic impacts in disadvantaged regions.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?
I love people and I love heritage and I love designing the magic that links the two for sustainable development.

Your work ethos is…
Igniting heritage.

How do you draw from Tunisian culture and traditions?
Tunisian culture is a blend of almost all Mediterranean cultures. This blend fuels my passions as I keep discovering art, culture, craft, origins, and meaning!

View of the medina from dar ben gacem rooftop

View of the medina from the rooftop of Dar Ben Gacem

What does Tunisia mean to you?

Where is your favorite place to visit in Tunisia?
The Medina. It’s dense with human and heritage stories that lead to ongoing journeys.

What do you wish the world knew about Tunisia?
It is a small but rich country in its blend of heritage.



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