Suhad Shtayyeh
Amman, November 13, 2016
by Suhad Shtayyeh

Nosouj's Basma Abdul Hadi || Awarded The Prestigious Butterfly Mark

What does it take to choose the unbeaten path? To go against the current and look outwards to tempting yet unfamiliar possibilities. It takes courage, commitment and passion. Basma Abdul Hadi of eco-luxe brand Nosouj is an adventurer, how easy it would have been for her to seat herself in Amman or even Florence’s comfortable lap of luxury… Don’t get me wrong, I think the lap of luxury is divine. A privilege I am not afforded. But when you are afforded it, it takes ambition and a clear vision to choose the other route.

Nosouj was founded by Jordanian Basma Abdul Hadi in October 2015, a brand specializing in unique handmade bags. What started off as a line of well-designed beach bags, has now blossomed into a complete line of shoulder bags, totes and clutches. A year later and this determined woman has not only stocked her label in over 8 worldwide boutiques, but has recently been awarded the prestigious Butterfly Mark. The ultimate seal of approval for any luxury sustainable brand. Positive Luxury, the company behind the Butterfly Mark, handpick companies that have passed a grueling test of sustainability, eco-conscious and labor-friendly practices. Joining the ranks of such fashion greats as Giorgio Armani and Stella McCartney. Basma Abdul Hadi and Nosouj are both the first Arab woman and Arab brand to receive this accolade.

Nosouj is the little company that could…If there is one thing that describes Nosouj perfectly, it is the word detail. The common phrase ‘the devil is in the details’ is in this instance more accurately changed to ‘the difference is in the details’. If Basma is an adventurer than the compass is her natural instinct for thinking outside the box. Taking traditional concepts and turning them on their head. Basma transformed an unappreciated textile into a coveted bag, one that is able to compete on the international market.

In a world where handmade and imperfect go hand in hand, Basma creates a clean and precisely-made product. In an industry where factory production makes more financial sense, this ambitious woman chose to invest in the rural communities she buys from. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, Basma set her sights on the newly-minted sustainable fashion category. Nosouj products are kind to Mother Earth, her production process completely void of any harmful waste and chemicals. In Basma’s books, artisanship is at the root of luxury, people are looking for a brand and products that are truly differentiated.

I take a closer look at the brand Nosouj, attempting to decipher its rapid growth…I am sure there are many companies that have had similar intentions. What is it about Nosouj? The truth is I am not a rocket scientist, I have not deciphered some hidden truth. The answer is glaringly obvious, Basma is devoted to Nosouj. Her sharp instincts, time, intelligence, thoughts and dreams are all dedicated to Nosouj. The pom poms that adorn her bags perfected sculpted. The crochet trim not dropping a stitch, the unexpected floral lining perfectly matched each and every time.

No task is too menial, the job needs to get done perfectly or not at all. I chuckle to myself, as Basma talks to me via Skype…. The incessant clicking that I can hear but cannot see is maddening. What is it ? As she steps further away from her screen, I see that she is clipping pom poms, fluff everywhere. Her gold Rolex a stark comparison to her humble chore, and one I have the utmost respect for. As she collapses into a fit of coughing, I suggest what anyone else would, “have someone else do it !” My comment is both ludicrous and familiar to her, “they need to be perfect,” she snaps back. Note to self, ‘don’t go there again’.

Just to clarify that this pom pom snipping entrepreneur is a criminologist by profession. As I watch her nurture her company, I see her honed skills come to life. Not quite in the way she had expected while at college. This thirty-something year old, blue-blooded Jordanian handles her company like a true criminal sociologist. Considering every angle of her business, her vision all encompassing, drone-like. Gathering information that she can then weave into the canvas of the Nosouj brand.

To be honest the scope of her success is perhaps what is most impressive to me. Yes I love the bags, but I love the way she has grown so many different aspects of her business at once, even more. The label has grown from three styles to over fifteen, her initial pom pom concept metamorphosing into four other ideas : tassels, bamboo pom poms, fringes and crochet. Starting as a local artisanal brand she is now an internationally recognized sustainable luxury company. At first a social media newbie, now an influencer’s sweetheart brand. Her bags have been carried by the likes of Natalia Shustova, Al Anoud Bader aka Fozaza, and even our very own Rania Omaish and Hannah Rasekh.

With the launch of the Nosouj e-shop later in the week, and a Spring/Summer clothing collection in the making, Basma is cracking the proverbial glass ceiling one pom pom at a time. Perhaps the most beautifully made pom pom of all is the Nosouj brand itself…Layer after layer of tightly spun hard work, the angle at which it is cut, precise and well-studied. The pom pom is then intelligently snipped to perfection with Basma’s razor sharp instinct…


Nov 13, 2016