Imagine that you could participate in empowering a refugee woman and her family by simply purchasing a product. This is exactly what entrepreneur Zeina Abou Chaaban, Founder of PALESTYLE, thought of when she first visited refugee camps in Lebanon back in 2009.
The luxury brand, based in Dubai, features genuine leather handbags embellished with handmade embroidery. The refugee women are the brilliant artisans behind the making of the embroidery, which then travels all the way from the Middle East to Italian workshops for the end products to be crafted.
Outsourcing embroidery alone wasn’t enough for PALESTYLE to accomplish its social mission. They have also contributed to the society with several social development projects in the region. As they launched a campaign for their very own Glam Clutch, they were able to start the Olive Tree Plantation project in Palestine in 2014. They planted around 244 olive trees in the West Bank, supporting the farmers and helping them increase their monthly income by 1500 AED. PALESTYLE succeeded at making a change in Jordan as well with their Water Tank Exchange Program in 2015, where they provided a clean water supply for 4000+ refugees. They also acted towards the on-going Syrian crisis opened the Refugee Children’s Community Library in Jordan later in 2016.
PALESTYLE is the only regional business to hold the prestigious Social Return on Investment Certificate. In addition to other reputable awards such as, The Emirates Women Humanitarian Award in 2013, Harvard University Inspiring Entrepreneur’s Recognition and another award from MIT for the Best Women-Led Business in 2014. The brand’s work has been also featured in the British Museum of London.
The handbags landed in high-end department stores such as House of Fraser and Bloomingdale’s as well as the closets of celebrities like Eva Longoria and Gwenyth Paltrow.