As a student at the University of Miami, Driss Krafess began to think about his first entrepreneurial endeavor. When he returned to Morocco he began working in real estate but continued to think about starting his own business. In 2014 Driss launched Arade a premier cosmetics company which uses natural Moroccan products. Driss secured some funding and began traveling to the U.S. to get a better understanding of the industry and market opportunities. Knowing that prickly pear oil was becoming a fast growing trend in Europe, Driss decided to develop products featuring both prickly pear oil and argon oil which was also gaining recognition globally as a premium Moroccan product.
Driss joined CEED Go-To-Market to get practical feedback as he developed his company. According to Driss, “CEED is unique in Morocco. As a student in the U.S. I took classes about entrepreneurship, and in Morocco the entrepreneurship mentality is not yet established. CEED provides all the tools an entrepreneur needs. CEED facilitates connections but more importantly encourages entrepreneurs by saying ‘you can do it!’ The local CEED team is excellent, they give us ideas that we wouldn’t think of ourselves and are always inviting us to network with potential partners and customers. Even now after I am done with the program, I continue to connect with CEED. We (entrepreneurs) can always learn from each other and should help new aspiring entrepreneurs.”
Through CEED Driss Krafess met Salima Kettani a fellow CEEDer who also founded a cosmetics company. Both Driss and Salima joined the CEED sponsored, Export Lab program implemented by the American Chamber of Commerce in order to learn about opportunities to export to the U.S. After speaking with many entrepreneurs they realized that there was a strong need to for a U.S. based distribution company which served small and medium sized Moroccan companies. So Driss and Salima decided to partner and create, DSAW a distribution company based in Miami, Florida. AMYS, Salima’s company, would be the first brand to be distributed through DSAW which would not only help companies reach customers but would also help entrepreneurs navigate regulations and approval processes in the U.S. Salima and Driss are now both actively exporting to the U.S. and hope to scale their market reach in 2015.