HOW IT ALL STARTED


Meet the founders: Benedicte and Raja Moubarak

Meet the founders: Benedicte and Raja Moubarak

The story of 2b design started when the French designer Benedicte de Vanssay de Blavous Moubarak moved with her husband Raja and their children to Beirut, Lebanon after years of living in different countries. In Lebanon, Benedicte became immediately drawn to the unique style of traditional 18th and 19th century Levantine houses inspired by Venetian, French and Ottoman architecture.  The massive destruction due to conflict and unchecked real estate development took its toll on the architectural heritage with very few traditional houses left standing. 

Benedicte's desire to rescue a disappearing heritage  was the spark that started the project. She decided to travel the country's towns and villages in search of discarded old wrought iron balustrades, railings, window frames and other pieces of architectural salvage which at best would have ended up melted down into car parts. 

The aftermath of conflict created  other challenges as well:  lack of access to training and employment of marginalized and disabled persons,  little respect for the environment, lingering  tensions between different communities.  In 2005 Benedicte created 2b design with the mission of  “restoring the unseen beauty of the broken” and the name Beyt (House/Home in Hebrew and Arabic) was adopted as the flagship brand name. 

Today Beyt’s creations can be found in Europe, the Middle East and Japan sold through different retailers.  In 2012 2b design home LLC was started in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Cambridge location includes a retail shop and a workshop where restoration work and pillows, lamps and lampshades are made. The focus there is to provide employment and training to marginalized women from the community.  One woman at a time. The plan over the next few years is to set up additional retail shops, train and hire more marginalized women and expand distribution through select independent retailers.  

The complementary skills of the couple are ideal: Benedicte’s background includes social assistance to young prostitutes in the Philippines, volunteering with Mother Teresa in India, helping slum kids in Brazil, assisting Karen refugees etc.. her passion for design and social work led her to  start local initiatives with artisans in the Middle East and North Africa. Raja has an MBA from New York University and ran different countries for multinationals such as Coca-Cola and regional companies. He has also been active in the non-profit world at board level.  Raja develops the different aspects of the social enterprise and spearheads its development in the US. Benedicte searches for unique pieces of architectural salvage, creates the designs, trains the artisans, supervises production and the list of what she does goes on and on…

Why is Beyt by 2b design a business and not a non-profit organization? 

In today's world boundaries are becoming more blurred between non-profits and businesses. Our choice  reflects our conviction that business can have an amazing power of transformation in addressing social and environmental problems in the world.  Take the example of homelessness in a developed country: the US. There are 600,000 homeless people in a developed country like America and there are millions of businesses. How difficult would it be for some of these businesses to hire just one homeless  person? Wouldn't this contribute to rapidly alleviate the problem of homelessness? Apply this logic to any number of social issues in the world and imagine the results. It is no coincidence that we belong to the community of Certified B Corporations, businesses which exist to tackle social and environmental issues and  strive  to be the best for the world vs. the best in the world.

OUR ARTISANS

Meet some of the amazing people who have contributed to our work.
 

Click on their pictures to read their stories. 


Omar 

"She is the mind, I am the body"

Lorraine

 "I've been blessed"

WAFA

A role model for Gypsies

NADA

"Lifting off the burden from my family"

MICHEL

"I was a machine, now I am a creator"


Our Team:

A number of incredible women- and a few men!- have been or continue to be involved with Beyt by 2b design in the Mideast and the US, We are grateful for the contribution of Lorraine Carrington, Kristin Wagner, Katarina Goldenberg, Shireen Akram Boshar, Sara Israel, Kate Earl, Katia , Nada and Rania, Omar at Arc-en-Ciel and his team, Meghan Mill. Bonnie Keller, Priscilla Guttierez, France Bohl, Jon Wiseman,   

 


TORY DIETEL HOPPS

Tory Dietel Hopps

Tory Dietel Hopps

Tory Dietel Hopps chairs our board. She is  the Managing Partner of Dietel Partners, a family philanthropic advisory firm. She has had a twenty-five year career in nonprofit resource development, management and governance, working extensively in the fields of nonprofit capacity building, education and human services. Tory received a heaping dose of volunteer genes from both her parents and was trained by Board Source as a nonprofit governance consultant.

In addition to her career in the non-profit sector, Tory is co-founder of RockHopp Partners a company that develops materials for parents and children. The company has received the Teacher’s Choice Award, Parent’s Choice Award and The Silver Nautilus Award for two of their publications.

She currently serves on the Maine Philanthropy Center Board, the National Advisory Board of Wholesome Wave and the Development Committee of Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project in Uganda and the Advisory Board of 2B Design, a social enterprise.

Tory is a graduate of the Emma Willard School and the University of Vermont. She lives in Maine with her husband and loves the great outdoors.


lauren walters

Lauren Walters

Lauren Walters

Lauren Walters: With career stops in politics, public service, business, and entrepreneurship Lauren Walters believes strongly in the power of the right networks of individuals to do amazing things collectively. Lauren  earned a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and a law degree from Georgetown University. He was a Fulbright Professional Scholar in Law and International Business. He has been in private law practice, worked with Arthur D. Little, Inc., and served as a professional staff member on the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget. He is a private investor in early stage new media, technology, and biotechnology companies and provides management and strategic consulting to the private and public sectors. Lauren is co-founder and CEO of Two Degrees Food. Having seen firsthand the problems and consequences associated with poverty, especially in the lives of children, the idea that a new food company in the US could leverage  everyday consumer buying decisions to change the lives of hungry children emerged as a viable concept, and one that connected many of Lauren’s important personal networks. With the energy and interest of long-time family friend Will Hauser,  Lauren  fused the one-for-one business model behind Tom’s Shoes with the problems of malnutrition in children and developed a solution with the goal of giving back to the global community through business.


pat garvey

Pat Garvey

Pat Garvey

Pat Garvey is a rare combination of creative marketer, seasoned business owner/manager, and technologist. As a marketer, he has a proven track record of creating “out of the box” marketing initiatives for major brands like Disney, Mattel, Mazda, and Sunkist.  As a business owner/entrepreneur, he conceived & founded TireVan, an e-commerce retailer that sells tires online and delivers mobile installation at your home or business.  As a technology enthusiast and innovator, Pat has led large scale development (including offshore) initiatives for web, social media, and digital marketing, and is a “hands on” tech leader who has learned to code HTML, Flash/Actionscript, and Javascript along the way.

In recent years, Pat has devoted more of his time to social issues as pro-bono consultant to social enterprises, and recently founded Brand X Social, a marketing agency focused on branding for the social media age of conscious consuming.