The Middle East’s leading jewelry house has entered into a partnership with investment platform Bidayat, which will see the investment fund owned by Alsara Investment Group take a minority stake in family-owned Azza Fahmy. The capital injection has already been earmarked for retail development, and in particular international expansion outside the Middle East, where it is well established in Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates; and the United Kingdom, where the brand has a store in London.
Known for its distinctive use of mixed metals common in Middle Eastern jewelry and for pairing traditional patterns and calligraphy with more modern settings, the house prides itself on using jewelry as a medium for cultural storytelling. Creative direction is still led by Azza Fahmy herself, who first broke into Egypt’s male-dominated jewelry industry in 1969 when she completed an apprenticeship with master jewelers in Cairo. She then set up her own business, and over the decades that followed, carved out a niche for her contemporary jewelry showcasing Egyptian culture, crafted using age-old techniques.
Azza Fahmy CEO Fatma Ghaly explained why the North American market is a priority for international expansion: “In terms of customer base, US customers represent the highest share in our London store as well as across our online store. Over the past few years, we have also held several extremely successful activations [in the US market]… shows the demand in North America for our designs,” says Ghaly, who is Fahmy’s daughter. The team plans stand-alone stores as well as concessions in well-known luxury department stores, and is ramping up e-commerce activity.
With Ancient Egypt having a cultural moment, inspired by Tutankhamun and the Rosetta Stone, the team is “extremely proud to put Egypt on the international map as a jewelry design hub. Every piece of jewelry we we create has deep meaning for its wearer and owner.. We strongly believe that today’s customers are looking for truly unique pieces.There is a very rich culture and history that we showcase through jewelry, and it’s time for us to share that with the world,” she said.
As an investment fund targeting high-potential creative entrepreneurs in Europe and the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, Bidayat – which means “beginning” in Arabic – has already managed to create international success stories from local brands, including the Egyptian brand of luxury accessories Okhtein. , through investment, mentoring and incubation. “Azza Fahmy’s approach…is a most remarkable way of celebrating the rich heritage of Egyptian art. It is perfectly in line with Bidayat’s mission to nurture, develop and federate creative talents. We are delighted and proud to partner with Azza, her daughters Amina and Fatma, and the entire team to support one of the most esteemed jewelry houses in the world,” added the founder and president of Bidayat, Rachid Mohamed Rachid.
With 24 points of sale – including boutiques and concessions – already, Azza Fahmy plans to open two more flagships in the first half of 2023. A team of 300 people is leading the company around an offer ranging from 218 dollars for a pair from silver jewelry to hoop earrings, at $23,000 for more elaborate fine jewelry, including larger gemstones. As part of its dual focus on Egyptian crafts and culture and design education, the Azza Fahmy Foundation was established to provide vocational training, employment opportunities and start-up support in cottage industries to marginalized young Egyptians, ensuring the preservation of traditional craftsmanship. .
In 2013, it was followed by The Design Studio by Azza Fahmy, a design school with an internationally recognized curriculum rooted in traditional craftsmanship, aimed at young people from across the region, another example of the company’s efforts. company to protect and enhance the heritage of which its founder is so proud. With Bidayat’s additional investment, Azza Fahmy aims to take this passion far beyond her company’s Egyptian roots.
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