From a hippy caravan on the beach of Benirràs to most influential fashion magazines. The World Family Ibiza history is intimately linked to the life trajectory of its creators, Alok and Merel. Tireless globetrotters-always travelling with their six children and grandmother-Joke, creative, adventurous, spiritual. Today we have the pleasure to introduce you in the home-and the heart-of World Family Ibiza. Ibiza Trendy interviews Merel and talks about the the fascinating history of the family behind the bags and accessories that we love most.
Merel, former model, is the designer behind World Family Ibiza
All started in Benirràs. Drums in Benirràs, a sunset on the beach, a meeting. “I was newly divorced and did not want any man in my life. One evening in Benirràs I saw Alok sitting on the beach among a lot of people. He had just arrived from India and conveyed a very special light, I could not stop looking at him. From that moment, we were finding each other all the time in different places in Ibiza “.
In the caravan. “Before we met, Alok was a yuppie wearing Armani suits. I worked as a model and was married to a film producer, living a very wealthy life. When we started our history together, we had no house. Our first home was a Indian tipi in a garden. Then we lived in a caravan with our children. We really had not a penny! I worked painting and decorating, we played music on the beach. When I was pregnant, I used to dance in Es Canar hippy market to earn some money. We did anything to survive”.
“We did not have any money. When I was pregnant, I used to dance in es Canar to make some money. We did anything to survive!”
World Family Ibiza: the beginnings. Alok and Merel made their first sales on the Benirràs beach. “We decided to go on a trip to Morocco with the whole family. Once there, we bought amazing things. Back to Ibiza, we parked our truck in Benirràs. Suddenly, we started selling a lot. We were really surprised! Although the reality is that we were selling too cheap, but then we had no idea! Best of all, we were invisible to the police. Selling on the beach it was not allowed, but we were lucky because we were never told off”. So, in the beautiful and unspoiled beach Benirràs where Alok and Merel met for the fist time, they also created the first designs of World Family Ibiza, a brand that nowadays is sold all over the world.
In the center, the first bag created by Merel for World Family Ibiza.
On the road. Tireless globetrotters, Alok and Merel have traveled arround the world with the tribe: Their 6 childs and grandmother Joke. Merel loves India and Mexico. “Both have given me so much. India sometimes is hell and sometimes is heaven, there is not a place more inspiring. And Mexico is a special place that taught us the importance of family and the respect for the elderly “.
World Family Ibiza home in the valley of Atzaró is full of beautiful objects collected during their trip. Merel has painted all the furniture with flowers. The result is colorful and spectacular.
Karuna. A family trip to Thailand in 2001 would change their lives forever. Merel was pregnant. One day, her young daughter suffered a fall from a hammock and lost consciousness, leaving breathing. “We tried to revive her, but my daughter was going away” Merel beautiful blue eyes are in tears when she remembers that moment. “Stop, you can not do anything else to save her.”, she was told. Suddendly, a woman named Karuna arrived and started with cardiopulmonary resuscitation. “After an eternity, my daughther breathed again”. Karuna was the name chosen for her daughter.
Surviving the tsunami. When the whole family was still in Tailand, Alok had an appendicitis attack. He need to be . He was recovering with the whole family in a beach resort in Koh Pa Yam when it happened: the biggest natural disaster in the recent history of Thailand. “We were on the beach and the sea swept away everything. A big ship came into the restaurant. We climbed to the top of the cottage and the sea began to recede. All water disappeared. It was only a wide expanse of sand to the horizon”. The family spent the night on the mountain, along with other evacuees. In the area where they were, 4,000 people dyed. “The tsunami changed our lives forever. You realize you cannot think of tomorrow. Only today, now and any time is a gift.”
“The tsunami changed our lives forever. You realize you cannot think of tomorrow. Only today, now and any time is a gift”.
From Ibiza to the world. It is long time ago since the young hippy family was installed in Benirràs selling their first bags. Very soon they went to Las Dalias hippy market, where their incredible colorful handbags inspired by they trips around the world began to be very successful. Magazine covers, fashion editorials … and an unstoppable expansion process. You can find World Family Ibiza collection in many countries in Europe and also in Miami, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Bonaire (Caribbean) … “We have grown, but we scored the pace and refuse to do mass production. Each bag is a unique design “.
Time goes by. “Mexico is one of my favorite countries. I have learn lots of things in Mexico. Here (in the West) the important thing is to be young and beautiful. It seems that elder people it is not important. In Mexico it is the opposite, the elderly are the most respected , because they transmit their wisdom to the following generations. In Mexico people says ‘Shut up and listen to your grandparents’. “Seniors are those who have the respect of the people. Now I am in this process. I have wrinkles. But you assume that getting older is part of life. ”
Family matters. World Family Ibiza is primarily a family business. Goldie, Merel and his niece Ana are the designers, while daughter Charlotte and Alok are the ‘brains’ of the company. “Sometimes it’s crazy to work all together, but at the same time it is fantastic.”
World family Ibiza: always all together.
Merel’s style: color and exotism
The designers wears a tunic from Laos, pompons from Mexico, necklace from Colombia and boots from World Family Ibiza.
Merel, in the kitchen, wearing a blue dress from México, shirt by WFI and necklace from Afganistan.
Colorful dress from Rajastán. White dress by WFI. Necklace from Mexico, foulard from Bail and leggins dorados de su hija.
Merel’s boots, all designs from World Family Ibiza. Purchase them here.
My beach: Aigües Blanques
Restaurant: La Paloma y Babylon Beach Club, en es Canar. Babylon opened its doors last summer and I love its vibe and food.
Sunset: On our beloved Benirràs. But better enjoy it in winter time.
Shopping at: Las Dalias, La Galeria Elefante…and World Family Ibiza stores!
To have a drink: We do not go out by night, but you cannot miss our Namaste party in las Dalias!
World Family Ibiza
Las Dalias hippy market
Sant Joan road, km.17,5 (next to Can Curune) Sant Llorenç de Balàfia.
Sant Carles road, km.12, 100 (after Las Dalias)
Online store: www.worldfamilyibiza.com