Egypt’s personal sector is main in retail in cities like Cairo, with ladies like Aya and Mounaz Abdel Raouf on the helm…
One such luxurious trend equipment model Ohktein, began by Egyptian sisters Aya and Mounaz Abdel Raouf, who opened their second and latest retailer in Capital Promenade Mall in Cairo this week- sure, even within the age of Covid, leaving many to marvel, how have they managed to do that? The duo sisters topped off their retailer opening with a after get together live performance headlined by Belgian band Oscar and the Wolf, surrounded by associates, household and people who can see the huge entrepreneurial adjustments within the nation, and, who additionally need a piece of the pie too.
“Our new flagship retailer has our model’s identification,” says Aya. “Whereas we did have a primary retailer, this tore, is what we actually contemplate our first retailer,” muses Mounaz. “It’s our child, it’s our dream and we labored actually onerous for a 12 months and a half to make this occur,” shares Aya.
Ohktein is the Arabic phrase for “sisters,” and the duo siblings have strived to make the best purses and leather-based merchandise with the intention to redefine the luxurious trend trade. However, it’s actually a household run enterprise they usually couldn’t do it with out the assistance of their business-minded brother, Mohamed Abdel Raouf. They aren’t happy with simply making luxurious leather-based merchandise, they need to create merchandise that will likely be assertion items made with high notch merchandise present in Spain, the UAE, Italy and naturally Egypt- as a result of they’re assertion ladies with distinct personalities which are discovered of their merchandise.
The Abdel Raouf sisters have constructed a decent luxurious model that they launched in 2014, the place they’ve put high quality Egyptian brass craftsmanship first. You additionally could not notice, however, Egyptians have all the time been gifted at brass craftsmanship. Aya and Mounaz design items that aren’t solely quintessentially Egyptian however they are going to outlast the take a look at of time, which is becoming in a 12 months when customers are shopping for bespoke and luxurious items, as they reduce on quick trend.
They knew from their college age years that they had been going to enter a artistic enterprise collectively. “At first, we needed to do furnishings, and thought, effectively, that’s a problem. So, we mentioned trend, though we didn’t research it,” remembers Mounaz.
Remembering yesteryear Aya shares, “We knew it was going to be brass and leather-based from a day on the Khan el-Khalili souk right here in Cairo. We went for a day of inspiration to have a look at the artisans, to see what we might take away and we obtained so impressed. We noticed artisans taking items of brass and placing them right into a machine that molds the brass. We noticed this man reshaping a bit of brass right into a cone for his lamp store and that was superb. That is what Egyptians are recognized for right here and it goes again centuries. It’s often completed by palms. Mounaz and I had been like wow and that was our ah-ha second, to recreate and modernize by way of equipment, baggage and jewellery.”
And from that Egypt’s most well-known equipment luxurious model was born. “On the time, somebody was telling me that Egypt has the most effective leather-based and that we export a variety of it,” says Aya of how leather-based got here into play of one of many model’s fundamental merchandise. “Egyptian hides are very strong- ‘however not completed,’ chimes in Mounaz. “We needed to make the most of the supplies we now have right here in Egypt and that’s how Okhtein was born,” says Aya.
The brand new assortment, “Re-connect” for the model has a sustainability mindset, as Aya and Mounoz has been conscious to maintain their group and surroundings on the forefront of what they do. No new kinds had been launched, however quite, they needed to create a distinction of the problem that has been introduced ahead within the age of Covid, with disconnection and the hopelessness the world is going through. With nature because the inspiration, the duo has revisited Okhtein classics, with natural buildings and earthy colours, that are sensible and purposeful. “We had been impressed by nature. We’re actually trying ahead to pre-fall 21,” says Mounaz. “We’re going to give attention to pre-fall collections as a result of equipment want time. Our model is gradual and our items are designed to be timeless, so we’ve determined to showcase twice a 12 months solely.”
The design of the shop was effectively thought out with its design, taking the cultural values, information and persona of Aya and Mounaz, but additionally weaving the sisters collectively to create an area the place clients will see an area that’s daring however but intricate. “Our brand is brass with one arrow going left and one going proper, but on the similar time they’re each linked,” shares Aya. “While you enter the shop, the promenade is break up between two shelving items, one which displays the opposite,” says Mounaz.
“The toughest half was discovering an architect to translate our imaginative and prescient, who might translate our two characters right into a retail experiences, in addition to the journey of us, two sisters, and Walid did this,” beams Aya. Beirut-based firm WZ Architects accomplished the design underneath lead designer Walid Zeidan. Two fundamental directional traces information the triangular volumes of their new retailer, forming a dynamic gallery of kinds for patrons to find the varied merchandise and their evolution.
Purposely, the principle store window has been changed by a spatial discovery that pulls new clients and attracts them right into a journey, with a entrance glass façade that attracts out the simplicity of the enclosure.
The brand new retailer got here with the numerous hours of sitting on the desk, honing their craft, getting mentorship from the Egyptian department of the European Financial institution for Reconstruction and Improvement (EBRD), and from their advertising and marketing counsel Maison Pyramid.
“EBRD had us meet with a consulting agency, which guided us in the direction of not simply specializing in on-line however retail,” shared Aya. EBRD is spearheading SME initiatives within the Center East and selecting up the place the governments, particularly Egypt, is focusing extra so on infrastructure initiatives.
“We began with a tailor-made resolution for Okhtein,” says Reem El Saaday, the Regional Principal Manger Recommendation for Small Companies, Egypt. “We sat down with the sisters to try to perceive the issues in order that collectively we might identification the primary space of intervention.”
“We had been getting extra success from retail than on-line and EBRD and our marketing consultant inspired us to put money into retail in Egypt. That is when our brother Mohamed jumped in and switched the whole lot round for us, and shifted how we noticed issues,” says Mounaz. “Aya and I are creatives, he’s the enterprise aspect.”
“What our hassle did was prepare our workers and create a retail handbook, which can work if we resolve to open one other retailer,” chimed in Aya. “Due to the assistance of EBRD and our brother, the final 12 months and a half of our enterprise has been completely completely different,” says Aya.
The duo sisters have completed effectively for themselves. Not solely are their merchandise primarily based in Egypt, they’re promoting in retailers across the globe from Bloomingdale’s within the UAE, Harvey Nichols Riyadh, Saks Bahrain, Harrods, Browns, and Les Suites Paris- and influential ladies from Gigi Hadid and Kourtney Kardashian have been seen sporting their custom-made purses.
All that is coming off of a optimistic retail growth in Egypt. Egypt isn’t new to retail. They’ve all the time been a retail pleasant nation however it’s on-line shopping for that has began booming within the final a number of years. “Egyptians have belief points with what they see on-line,” the sisters share. “And so they want shopping for in individual,” stresses Aya. “It’s important to actually set up your self out there for customers to belief and purchase your product on-line. We too needed to earn the belief of customers once we began on-line 5 years in the past. We had been featured in a variety of articles on-line however we paved the best way for eCommerce in Egypt. We had been the primary model to correctly put money into the eCommerce area.”
However clearly the sisters are doing one thing proper. Okhtein is one in all Egypt’s high equipment manufacturers. Maintain their priorities straight they’ve been capable of information their child on a path that’s working to date. Artwork would be the focus of the model for 2021. “This was the aim of our launch get together and we need to do extra of those “Okhtein nights,” the place we now have occasions that folks get an in depth connection to the brand- the place they get to see the method of how our merchandise are made they usually get to have an in depth connection to satisfy us and our brother, Mohamed. That is why we partnered with Enterprise Lifestyle as effectively. The legacy that Aya and Mounaz need to depart is a model that has timeless items, that’s about artwork, the place clients and associates of the model are capable of see what’s happening and have a relationship with the duo. It’s not about churning out collections a number of instances a 12 months, Okhtein is a model of one in all a sort items, artwork, and personability to the designers. You shouldn’t anticipate something much less within the years to return.
Store Okhtein’s equipment and products- website.