Ahead of this weekend's highly anticipated pop-up store, The Stop Shop by the Gala Events, we sat down with the lovely ladies behind the big idea.
Big ideas, a passion for fashion, and the will to turn shopping into a pop-up, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity have brought together four energetic women to shape up the Gala Events, an initiative that is progressively disrupting the retail market in Cairo with their all-kinds-of-cool bazaars across the city.
As they gear up for their pop-up store, The Stop Shop in Citystars on November 26th and 27th from noon to midnight, the women behind the upcoming stylish overload - Fatma Barrada, Randa El Matbouly, and Nouran and Horia Talat - share their far-sighted vision on fashion, local design, and entrepreneurship with CairoScene.
“The concept of a pop-up tries to veer away from traditional ways of selling. We wanted to focus on the displays so that each vendor can have their own store for a couple of days in Citystars, as most of them don’t have actual physical shops,” says Nouran Talat.
From charity events such as Pay Forward, held in Arkan to Tony Ward’s fashion show at the Hilton, this brimming team has a solid trajectory of 10 exhibitions and charity events, where they have been showcasing products from home accessories and kitchenware to kids' accessories and designer clothing. “While strolling at the bazaar, people get the chance to see things in real life, which aren’t usually sold in stores,” adds Horia Talat.
With a strong focus on flexibility and Egypt’s future trendsetters, the pop-up store will feature rising independent designers such as Atef Wassef, The Pink Elephant, Bubblzz, Nillens, and The Sahara Collection’s Bedouin-inspired garments.
“There are a lot of interesting products, because a lot of these emerging brands don't have physical stores to show their designs, which are extremely creative; some of them are radically modern, some others are ethnic, but they are all top-notch,” Nouran says. “They are the young generation, and this is also one of our main objectives: to take entrepreneurs and small businesses and help them market their products and to boost their brand,” she adds.
Acting as a springboard for nascent designers, the team visualises their bazaars as a platform to facilitate their launching of a brand. “We give an opportunity to a lot of people to participate; after a while, they were successful and opened their own stores, so we are happy and excited to act as a facilitator,” says Fatma Barrada.
Roaming across the far corners of Cairo, these fashion fairies bring a colourful gust of fresh air to each location, from Kattameya Heights, to Citystars, to 6th of October, to Zamalek. “We organise exhibitions and bazaars, either monthly or every few months, at a different location every time,” says Nouran Talat. “We don’t have branches, so it’s a good thing that they move from one place to another, giving people a unique opportunity to shop for something they may never find afterwards,” adds her sister, Horia.
In a diversifying industry that flourishes with online platforms like Slickr, and international-scale luxury fashion shows, bazaars and exhibitions are progressively becoming an industry on its own, says Talat. “Both small and bigger companies are doing it regularly. I think it is a trend, but one that will eventually die, so you need to be very creative in order to attract people. We need to create a concept and an experience for the customer in order for it to be an ongoing thing.”
Reviving the cultural tradition of the souk and reinventing the shopping experience at the same time, the squad focuses on connecting local traditions with Egypt’s buzzing entrepreneurial fashion scene. “We are trying to establish our name and focus on a niche market, where it is very difficult to reach a mass of customers, while at the same time showcasing niche products. So we are trying to be as selective as possible,” says Horia.
Visualising their evolving progression, the female crew is looking into radically altering the overall shopping experience. “We would love to create more activities for consumers and help our vendors with marketing, getting them exclusively for us,” says Nouran, as she stresses their efforts to impact and encourage more entrepreneurial endeavours in this industry while making customers inspired with the diversity of things they see.
Photography by Ahmed Najeeb.