Meet Anouchka Sooriamoorthy-Desvaux de Marigny who came up with a brilliant and innovative idea to make this historic jute bag into luxury items available at the adresses below which she proudly share with us today.

But before let us re-share the work from Vintage Mauritius and some valuable history on this famous Goni.

‘Goni’ is the Mauritian Creole word for jute. Jute bags are part of the Mauritian history: they were used to wrap sugar canes. This word represents our philosophy: inspired by the beauty and the history of Mauritius, we make handmade, plastic free and authentic products. ‘Goni’ is a tropical chic and beach style brand.

GRNW – Women Washing Aloe Fibres in the River for Gounis Bags

Text & Image from

Goni, apart from being used for packing commodities, was well-entrenched in the Mauritian tradition. It had a myriad of uses. It served as mattress for both the indentured labourers and the African slaves. The sugar-cane cutters used to wrap it around their waist up till their knees and also wore “souliers goni” in order to protect their legs and feet against sharp sugar-cane leaves. The dockers used to cover their heads to avoid deposit of dust on their hair and shoulders. The underprivileged utilized it as blanket to warm themselves in cold winters. Children in olden days used goni for sack-racing in their schools’ sports competition. The bhandari (chef in biryani) used it as apron when handling the deg (large traditional cauldron) on flaming fire. It also gave rise to a Mauritian proverb which goes like that “Goni vid pa kapav dibout” (Empty gunny bag cannot stand on its own).

Goni was also used to store old documents, outdated household items, artefacts and family objects of the previous generation. This old sack, for which nobody had any use anymore, would remain stacked for several years unnoticed in the machaan (mezzanine store) of the house until alerted by the attack of termites. In his novel “The Gunny Sack”, M.G. Vassenji, the Commonwealth Writers Award Winner, immortalizes the last memories of a family coming out of the gunny sack. “Salim Juma, in exile from Tanzania, opens up a gunny sack bequeathed to him by a beloved great-aunt. Inside he discovers the past – his own family’s history and the story of Asian experience in East Africa. Its relics and artefacts bring with them the lives of Salim’s Indian great grandfather, Dhanji Govindji, his extensive family and all their loves and betrayals”.

Goni had once been deep-rooted in the socio-economic fabric of Mauritius. It was not only a commodity prized by the sugar oligarchy, but a companion of all seasons in the routine life of Mauritians of all background. Today, it has been dethroned by plastic bags. The present generation does not seem to have any idea of how goni had once been an integral part of the Mauritian tradition. It is incumbent upon the custodians of our patrimony and museum to preserve the specimen, artefacts, folklore and tradition about goni and retrieve the last vestiges of goni industry. It is regrettable that the ruins of the old aloe factory at Trou-aux-Biches have disappeared under the sway of morcellement and spatial development. The relics could have been spared, not only for tourist attraction, but for reminding the present generation and posterity about the canvas and contours of our socio-economic history.

Discover here story, her passion for the GONI !


She had the opportunity to live several professional lives already. After graduating from High School at the Lycée Labourdonnais in Mauritius, Anouchka Sooriamoorthy-Desvaux de Marigny left for Paris, where she studied literature and philosophy at La Sorbonne University and got a Ph.D. Interested in journalism, she worked during four years for Air France magazine in Paris. The wanderlust brought her to Dubai, where she teaches philosophy to young adults. In 2018, she embarked on the adventure of entrepreneurship, creating her clothes and accessories brand, Goni. What’s the common point between all these activities? Creativity and the search for beauty.

1- Who are you? 

From my childhood and my adolescence in Mauritius, I keep the sceneries, the scents, and the flavours. My French upbringing and the years I spent in Paris gave me rigour, critical thinking, and the sake of discussion. The past twelve years in Dubai brought me an incredible openness to the world, to difference, and diversity. So, I guess today I’m a mix of all these elements. 

2- Where did you start and where are you now in your life? 

When I decided to pursue studies in literature and philosophy, I didn’t have a career plan; it was a choice from the heart. I was incredibly lucky to always do what I was passionate about: I started in journalism and worked for Le Monde and Air France magazine in Paris; a few years later, I created a French online newspaper in Dubai. Then I felt the desire for transmission, and I decided to answer the call of teaching. All these experiences have been enriching; but at one point, I felt the need to create. Having lived for many years far from Mauritius didn’t weaken the affection for my homeland, quite the opposite. I could still picture the colours of the lagoon, the smell of the freshly cut sugar cane, or the taste of the spices. It’s precisely this imagery that was my inspiration for my project. On a more professional scale, I wanted a new challenge and to get out of my comfort zone: I didn’t go to a business school, therefore doing a business plan, developing a marketing strategy, prospecting for contracts were very new to me. I was on foreign soil, and I loved it! I learned by doing, I listened to advice from my relatives, and I followed common sense. It turned out to be the right move as, after one year and a half, I’m working with more than ten hotels in Mauritius, and I have lots of new projects in preparation. 

 3- How did you come up with this idea? 

My company’s name is Goni, which means “jute” in Mauritian Creole. The idea came when I was on holiday in Mauritius. On each trip home, I was looking for some unique and original gifts to bring back for my friends in Paris or Dubai. Finding something authentic that was related to the history of Mauritius and was not made in China was a real dare. The idea of pouches and bags made of jute immediately came up: the goni was used since the beginning of the development of agriculture in Mauritius, especially in the sugar industry. I like its rough texture that I combine with colourful fabrics. Since the creation of the brand, I have developed a wide range of products: pouches, bags, headbands, sunglasses pouches, dresses, shirts, sarongs, assorted soaps and toiletry bags, coasters, and our very last creation: a poetry book in French and English celebrating the beauty of Mauritius. The common point between all these products is the pursuit of authenticity. I like the idea that the traveller goes back to his home country bringing an original souvenir of Mauritius: a goni pouch that will wander the streets of Roma, a coaster with the colours of the ocean that will enlighten a Parisian desk in winter, a poetry book which will find its perfect spot on a London bedside table.     

  4- Tell us more about Goni ADN?

Goni is a handmade and plastic-free brand. Each product is unique and has an original design. In addition, all the products have to be easily transportable, light, not fragile, and useful. All my creations come from my inspiration and imagination. However, I like to work closely with my clients: on the basis of my creations, we start a dialogue which will eventually help me offer tailor-made products that match the identity of the hotel or the company.   

 5- What is your 2020 vision and mission?

2018 was the reflection and implementation year; 2019 was marked by the professionalization of the project and the commercialization of my products in Mauritian hotels. I now have the shoulders to think big: settle new distribution agreements, form partnerships, and, of course, continue to create new products. What I love about this project is that it’s ever evolving: each encounter, each trip brings new ideas, the sky is the limit! I just finished an exciting collaboration with a fragrance composer who created an original home fragrance for Goni: it’s fresh, fruity with a hint of spice, and it can be declined in several versions (home diffuser, soap, potpourri, etc.). The beginning of 2020 was marked by the development of my corporate gifts catalog, which offers one-of-a-kind products for hotels and companies in the hospitality and tourism sector. Each product can be custom-made and tailored to fit the client’s desiderata. I was surprised to discover that most of the corporate gifts are, still today, factory products or products without any identity. An excellent corporate gift should be the elegant final point of the holidays for the traveler; it represents the spirit and the soul of the company. 

I am also working on new products for hotels and companies in the Indian Ocean and in Dubai. I am of course aware that we are globally experiencing an economic slowdown, and that the tourism sector is a high-risk area regarding the covid-19 outbreak. We need to be patient and hopefully things will get better. I am optimistic about a change of mindset: people will be more and more concerned about handmade products and about short distribution circuit.

  6- Where can we get your products?

Goni products are available in Mauritius at Royal Palm Beachcomber, Hilton, Lux* Grand-Gaube, Lux* Belle-Mare, Lux* Le Morne, Veranda hotels, Heritage Awali, Heritage Telfair. Blue Penny Museum shop. In Tahiti, French Polynesia, Goni products are also available in two high-end concept stores: Rose Corail and Blue Flamingo. 

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This series is focusing on how the industry might emerge from the disastrous set of circumstances that the travel, tourism and hospitality sector finds itself in.

The first of four scenarios – Travel swings back to normal in 2021 – was followed by a second idea: The end of mass tourism as we know it.

We continue with the next theory…

Scenario 3: Big is beautiful in the new travel order

This scenario sketches a fundamentally different outcome to the previous scenarios: the virus will prove to be more resilient than expected and the discovery and mass production of an effective vaccine will only become a reality in 2023.

Containment measures, including lockdowns and border closures, will be switched on and off during three years and overwhelmed healthcare systems all over the world will fall into a constant breaking point.

The virus brings the world economy to its knees

This asynchronous cycle of lockdowns across all regions will have devastating ripple effects on the world economy.

The desperate fiscal and monetary policy measures taken by governments and world agencies to try to absorb the shock will prove insufficient to break the downward spiral.

Supply chains across the world will not keep up with the on-and-off nature of the lockdowns, consumer confidence will fall off a cliff and monstrous jobless numbers will reach 1920s Depression-era levels.

Self-reinforcing recession dynamics will kick in, triggering widespread bankruptcies and credit defaults, and humanity will remain in a heightened state of anxiety between 2020 and 2023. 

The travel industry’s odyssey

Travel, deeply intertwined with the global economy and everything that moves this world, will be staring down the barrel of a deep recession for a long period.

With households in the middle and lower classes experiencing significant financial pain and foreign travelers being stigmatized as a sanitary threat, the industry will face a long and winding road before reaching the end of the crisis.

But, eventually, with a vaccine finally available at global scale and economies slowly getting back on their feet, the miracle will happen: human curiosity to explore the planet and connect with other cultures and people will prove to be stronger than any virus or economic downturn, and travel, like the proverbial Phoenix, rises from the ashes.

The travel industry, after an hibernation period of over two years, will look very different. The deep and dislocating shock and the path to recovery will be littered with bodies of companies that didn’t make the cut.

Companies with short cash runways, weak balance sheets or strong debt levels will struggle to stay in business with revenues down 60% to 90% over nearly 36 months. When revolving credit lines are shut down and taxpayer money from relief packages dries out, numerous travel firms will collapse or consolidate.

On the winning side, firms with deep pockets, resilient business models, superior marketing positions and strong public support, will manage to muddle through the economic meltdown and come out alive.

Who’s in, who’s out?
In accommodation, size will be a decisive factor in who survives the slump. Large hotel chains sitting on fat cash buffers and with a solid balance sheet will be in a good position to renegotiate their property lease terms with tenants and open and close properties across the world, based on the intensity of outbreaks in each region.

They will also have the capacity to leverage investments in their technology, integrating new systems such as sterilization robots and touchless devices. These global brands also have the firepower to implement and promote new hygiene protocols and certificates. 

Consumers, after the long crisis, will naturally gravitate towards trusted household brands, making large hotel groups the go-to option once travelers hit the road again.  

Many small- and medium-size hotel groups, after years of travel demand at minimum level, become cut-price acquisition targets for larger groups, sparking a strong consolidation process in the hospitality sector.

Numerous independent hotel properties will also decide to affiliate to larger groups, allowing them to tap into the power and reach of global brands. 

Hospitality unicorns like OYO or Sonder, enjoying hordes of venture capital cash in the pre-coronavirus era, will see the ground fall out from underneath their feet. Massive losses before entering the downturn combined with inconsistent guest standards linked to their frantic growth strategy will prove too much to survive the long downturn crush.

Turbulence in the air

Literally overnight, the virus outbreak reset the clock on an aviation boom that was the engine to the increase of global tourist figures from 818 million in 2010 to 1.3 billion in 2019.

Some governments will apply the “whatever it takes” mantra, conceding from unlimited loans up to renationalization, such as for perennially unprofitable Alitalia.
In stark contrast, low-cost carriers all over the world will be mostly left to their own fate, sparking a wave of consolidation.

A few of them will emerge out of the bloodbath thanks to their strong balance sheets, less crowded skies and low dependence on business travelers.

One or two mega low-cost carriers per continent will control most of the point-to-point intraregional traffic between countries, while domestic air travel will mostly be operated by publicly owned national carriers. 

Long-haul business will be concentrated into a handful global network carriers mainly from the Middle East and Asia, and the pre-crisis short-haul feeder system of international hubs based historically on airline alliances and interlining agreements will be been mostly replaced by loosely tied flight combinations connected through the NDC technology standard. 

With airline traffic experiencing a five- to six-year recovery cycle from the 2019 peak, aviation in 2025 will turn out to be a veritable smorgasbord of a few mega-carriers and a handful low-cost carriers co-living with state subsidized flag carriers that mainly operate money-losing domestic routes.

OTAs go shopping

As with the rest of the industry, travel intermediaries were busy during the crisis, reducing fixed costs and offloading struggling assets.   

Size, once again, will play a critical role. Asset-light online travel agencies with a global footprint, household names and a thick wad of cash will have the staying power to survive the long cash crunch and expand their footprint through bargain acquisition targets, such as regional brands and technology providers, to beef up their market dominance.

As Mauricio Prieto points out, they also were in pole position to capture the demand once travelers hit the road again: “Truly global intermediaries like or Airbnb, which do not have a high dependency on any single geography, can quickly and opportunistically redirect business to the most promising geographies”

A driving force in the market will be large private equity companies, awash with cash and sharp deal-forging capabilities. Debt refinancing vehicles come with preferred stock clauses, allowing a selected group of private equity firms to jump into the boardrooms of the largest OTAs in the West. These new power brokers will spark a string of M&A deals in the industry, profoundly reshaping the travel distribution landscape.

Smaller intermediaries with limited refinancing capabilities cannot sit out nine to 12 months of a revenue drought. Many will stumble and fall.

A new kid in travel tech town

Amazon will come out of the crisis even stronger, thanks to the formidable capacity to flex its supply chain machinery to provide households with the most basic services during the lockdown.

After years of toying with the idea of entering travel, the retail giant will finally get serious with a string of acquisitions of struggling travel tech players, reshuffling the cards among the worldwide travel giants. 

Digital gatekeepers, Google and Facebook, which commanded more than half of the $330 billion online advertising business in the pre-COVID-19 world, will see travel-related revenue fall off a cliff once lockdowns spread across the world.

eMarketer’s 2020 pre-crisis prediction of $13 billion digital media spend in the travel industry is re-forecast to less than $5 annual billion between 2020 and 2022.

As a result, Google will quickly shelve its plans to keep expanding into the travel ecosystem and refocus its engineering resources to more promising verticals, such as telemedicine and e-learning.

Google and Facebook will keep playing a dominant role in the top of the travel user funnel, but the rest of the travel tech players will gain ground in the rest of digital ecosystem.