Each Matana gift box focuses on a different vendor. (photo from thematanashop.com)
Matana, a subscription box company from Israel, has a new mission-driven brand and vision. Formerly called Blue Box, Matana, the Hebrew word for gift, signifies the mutually beneficial exchange between the artisans, whose products are included in each box, and the recipients. Since its launch, the company has delivered more than 2,000 boxes with products from dozens of Israeli small businesses.
With a mission to highlight the unique flavours and textures of Israel while giving Israeli artisans a global platform to showcase their products, Matana features a selection of one Israeli vendor’s products in each box, along with a postcard that shares the vendor’s story. Israeli vendors include small enterprises, family-run farms, kibbutzim, social initiatives and young entrepreneurs. Boxes include products that range from Shalva Tea, locally foraged teas packaged by adults with special needs; to Kuchinate baskets, which are woven by African refugee women; to Sindyanna olive oil, which is created by Jewish and Arab women working side-by-side; to Rusty’s Nut Butters and Treats, a woman-led business.
“Every day, I am inspired by the ingenuity of Israel’s artisans working in nature and blending traditional with modern techniques on an ancient land,” said Matana chief executive officer Emily Berg. “Their products are handcrafted with purpose and passion, and tell the rich and multi-faceted story of Israel. We are thrilled to support Israeli artisans and, through them, to share Israel’s diverse fabric with the world.”
A Toronto native who moved to Israel in 2012, Berg developed the idea for Matana when her then-boyfriend, now husband, was called to serve in reserve duty in Gaza in Operation Protective Edge in 2014. During the tense time, Berg wanted to find a way to showcase Israel’s many sides to a global audience while supporting Israel’s artisans, whose businesses suffered during the conflict.
“My fiancé was called to reserve duty and was basically gone from the first until the 40th and final day,” Berg told the Independent in an interview in 2016. “It was a very quiet period. People were not going out much. And, it was the first time I was able to really reflect on my life, purpose and future here.”
The company was initially called Blue Box as a tribute to the Jewish National Fund’s blue-and-white tzedakah box that she’s known since childhood. (See jewishindependent.ca/jnf-inspires-entrepreneur.)
Due to the business’s success and the high demand for the boxes, the company has transformed from a one-woman show operated out of Berg’s own Tel Aviv-Jaffa living room to include new partners Elad and Maya Borkow, who run the logistics department from a warehouse in Ramat HaSharon.
Matana (thematanashop.com) offers several subscription options, including a new seasonal quarterly box that features products from several different vendors. The next shipment is scheduled for Dec. 12.