A mutual interest in design and the combined passion of an entrepreneur and a philantropist saw these two 19-year-olds come together to create Krafts.
He wanted to run a business; she wanted to trigger social change. But as the 19-year-old students sat between a business lecture and a marketing class, they found a common passion; Krafts, a social business for interior decoration, was born.
“We are both interested in home accessories, so we decided to bring both our passions together and start a business with a social scope,” says Omar Moharram, who met his partner Shahira Ashour while studying marketing and international business at university.
Taking the first steps to generating impact was not a challenge for the young entrepreneur, whose mother’s friend ran El Alaa Charity, a non-governmental organisation to support underprivileged women. “She has sewing machines and a mini-factory for fabrics, where about 30 women create all sorts of home accessories. So I called her and told her that we want to start working together with them,” Moharram says.
The startup founders headed off to Bab Zweila, a district known for housing the famous tentmakers of Cairo, and bought the fabrics to bring Moharram’s designs to life. “I’ve always liked interior design, so I drew down some sketches for cushions, which is the first item we are commercialising,” he explains.
Once the partnership was sealed, the startup, Krafts, commissioned their premium designs to the NGO’s artisans, who obtain 30 per cent of the profit. “The workshop is run by an NGO, so we made sure to know where the money goes,” Ashour says.
The organisation, located in Mokattam, has been helping Egyptian women since 2003, supporting widows, orphans, and disadvantaged youth, in addition to funding marriages of those who cannot afford housing. “In the Egyptian society, many people can't get married because they cannot buy household things, so we help them through the organisation,” she adds.
Their startup, Krafts, sets out to be an online one-stop-shop for premium home accessories, designed by the entrepreneurs themselves but crafted in the heart of Cairo. “We promise you premium, world-class cushions, tablecloths, table runners, towels, and bed linens; all handcrafted to suit your refined taste,” their portal reads.
From shiny silver paliettes to cashmere, their cushions have an exquisite take on Egyptian home decor, through a mix and match of materials the entrepreneurs combine themselves. Moharram was also in charge of creating their e-commerce platform, a website that enables them to sell products across the capital city. “It was simple; I developed it using HTML coding and Shopify,” he says.
As the startup takes its first steps, the teenagers remain focused on university while heading the company online. But as soon as it starts growing, they affirm, new talents will come on board. “Where do I see myself in 10 years?” Moharram asks, “leading the Egyptian Zara Home.”
“I believe we should encourage Egyptian people to work and do something; people have to know that Egyptians can come up with world-class furniture and even better designs, all made in Egypt, and authentic at the same time,” adds his partner, Ashour.
Main photo by @Mo4Network #Mo4Productions.
Photographer: Ahmed Najeeb.