A new store in Zamalek is taking boutique luxury shopping to the next level. We speak to project manager Khaled Halawa to find out more...
Egyptians, the few Egyptians who still have money, that is, simply don’t shop in Egypt. They wait until they go abroad so they can shop at beautiful, pristine boutiques like Colette in Paris or Momo in Barcelona, where the experience of shopping itself becomes just as important as what you’re shopping for. It’s this sort of pretentious yet somehow warm vibe that says whatever you purchase from this place makes you special. Bringing that same vibe to Cairo is TA Group, owned by Tarek Shnawra and Akram Basmi, as well as Corail Sarl Group (owned by Michel Gholam) from Paris. Their quaint new concept store, 50A, located in Zamalek, stocks a very exclusive array of brands from around the world, handpicked to reflect their persnickety taste on the fashion industry. We spoke to project manager Khaled Halawa to find out more….
How did the idea to open up a concept store come about?
TA Group is specialised in trading and advertising and Corail is specialised in luxury goods and brand development in travel retail and domestic markets. With the know-how of both companies and our combined 15 years experience in luxury and retail, we found an opportunity in Egypt as well as the whole Middle East for a different sales and marketing approach to promote young brands. Having a perfect location on hand, and having connections and contacts in the region, as well as our proximity and expertise to point out the upcoming brands and the will to do something different, the idea of opening 50A Concept Store was born.
What brands do you stock?
Our strategy is to promote upcoming, avant-gardiste, trendy and luxurious foreign brands. We are currently collaborating with brands from France, Italy, Spain, Germany, US, Norway and Indonesia and for the time being, we do not have any plans to list local brands. The brands include: Arior, Atypyk, Incana, La Fille Des Fleurs, Marc Rozier, Moliabal, NSEW (North South East West), Panda Hats, Some Are Thieves, The Tea Spot, Vicius, Villa Carton, Vittorio Marchesi and Woouf!
Many concept stores pop up in Cairo and close down just as quickly. How are you ensuring that 50A will manage to go the distance?
What differentiates 50A Concept Store from other concept stores is our unique approach to the market, what we offer, how we offer it and in what environment; it’s all about being different. We have a unique merchandising approach that was developed by a renowned Italian designer, Davide Baldan, through one key message: Think Different, Think Out of the Box! This uniqueness is appealing to customers and brand owners and the shopping experience is, again, different.
We started with 15 brands from all different categories and will be bringing in 15 new ones by March 2014, as brands have been contacting us after hearing about the soft opening, so keep following us on the social networks to see what's new at 50A. Not only are new brands coming in but, to keep our store alive, we'll be hosting events in the shop once or twice a month.
50A Concept Store is one piece of the pyramid that holds together our strategy. It's mainly to promote and develop these upcoming young brands in Egypt and the Middle East. 50A Concept Store is our show window for the brands that we distribute exclusively in Egypt and for some brands in the rest of the Middle East too. By saying this is our strategy, it’s not only limited to Egypt.
What are your biggest sellers so far?
Our best sellers are Villa Carton, Woouf!, Moliabal, Vittorio Marchesi, Marc Rozier and La Fille des Fleurs.