Z Concept is your one (swindle-proof) point of communication with contractors, interior designers, architects, real estate brokers and labour. We sat down with founding siblings Nesreen and Samer Zaki to better wrap our heads around how they intend to change the way we do real estate business.
Egypt’s real estate industry has been hit hard by the recent political turmoil, but other relatively silent factors – such as lack of skill and work ethic among the labour force, developers, and contractors – have been chipping away at one of our economy’s most valuable sectors for a very long time. One company seeking to break this norm is Z Concept.
Meet the pioneering siblings that may just revolutionise Egypt’s ailing real estate industry: UK-born Nesreen and Samer Zaki, who settled in Egypt after long corporate careers that saw them trot the globe, everywhere from London to Riyadh. The multicultural brother and sister know the woes of moving, house-hunting, remodelling, decorating, construction, and reasoning with an Egyptian contractor all too well. “My dad was fixing up his house in New Cairo, and he lives abroad, and it took him 10 years. He left three different architects on the job over the years; they were all trying to rip him off,” Managing Director Samer Zaki tells us. It wasn't until Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder Nesreen Zaki stepped in that the family’s real estate ordeal came to an end. “I was on my maternity leave and saw that my folks’ house was taking way too long to finalise, and was not happy with the quality! So, I decided not to continue with [the contractor] and to handle it myself," Nesreen explained. "I brought my uncle onboard to benefit from his operation skills with Egyptian labour, and we took it from there. We got a team together and figured the rest out. We finished the house in three months, and even rented it out right afterwards!” she elaborated. Then it hit them; they were better at this than most contractors and developers.The idea behind Z Concept, however, is a far more global and comprehensive one. “We’re trying to be the one-stop pit shop that delivers everything from A to Z when it comes to real estate services. From moving to buying yourself a piece of land, building it, finishing it up from the inside, interiors and exteriors, and then, of course, facility management and maintenance,” Samer says.
It all sounds awfully exciting, but how can a small family business change the way we Egyptians do real estate business for life? How do they overcome the industry’s most prevalent challenge: unreliable labour? “We are trying to be the Jack-of-all-trades, but we want to do it right. We want to be that one entity that people can trust with their money and trust our taste; everything is documented, everything is transparent. We communicate with our clients around the clock, whatever the need is, even if they’re not keen to do so, because at the end of the day, they’re looking at the outcome and, if something goes wrong, we’re going to be the ones taking the heat for it,” Samer simply puts it. “The trickiest part about this business is not the know-how, it’s how to manage people because we have a work ethics problem in Egypt; so, in order to protect ourselves, we have backups. We have about four or five carpenters, electricians, plumbers, etc.,” he says.
Taste is another problem the Z dynasty is faced with. As the head of the company’s creative team of interior designers and architects, Nesreen Zaki is tasked with bringing a client’s vision to life, all while incorporating her signature taste. A client’s taste doesn’t dictate her work, but rather complements her artistic process; there is no cramping her style. “We bring their desires and our creativity to create and execute a better version of what they had in mind,” Nesreen explains. "Creativity in design comes from what you have been exposed to, what you've seen, and what you’ve been inspired by during your frequent travels. I get inspired by the things I see when I look around, search or browse here and there. Your artistic background and personal taste play a major role too, obviously. It's all in the back of your head," she added.
Z Concept has only been in business for eight months, but they’re already making a name for themselves as one of the industry’s most reliable players; under a year old and already striking partnerships with brokerage firms in London and Dubai. “People come and see our places and they love the work in them, so when they find out we did the contracting and brokerage, it became quite interesting that people would say, ‘if I don’t buy this place from you for whatever reason, give me your business card and do my house’,” Samer added with a laugh.Everyone is meant to deal with real estate-related distress at one point or another, it is almost a rite of passage. The question is, for how long and how much energy and effort will you be willing to invest in the process? Z Concept is the one point of contact with contractors, brokers, architects, building material suppliers, and all other real estate services in Egypt that takes care of everything for you all while keeping you in the loop!
You can always catch them at Lavish’s upcoming Your Home Real Estate Exhibition to be held in Arkan from February 24th to 28th.