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Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt.
Much More: Colourful Accessories in Nasr City's Genena Mall
Cairo isn’t a cheap place to shop by any stretch of the imagination, but for all the expensive shops that hold us shopaholics for ransom, there are much more moderately priced alternatives like Much More, which offers a nice collection of accessories and gifts under one pink roof.
Much More is likely to be popular among young girls giving the variety of colourful, plastic accessories and glittery party supplies. The shop stocks shiny party masks for 20LE and the famous Minnie Mouse ears hair band for 36LE, as well as a collection of furry bunny slippers in small sizes that range in theme characters from Mickey Mouse to SpongeBob for 25LE a pair.
The silver and golden accessories section takes up three walls of the shop, mostly in the shape of long, classic necklaces with traditional heart or abstract-shaped charms. Their prices range around 25LE but they usually have a buy-one-get-one-free offer, so they end up retailing for far less. That being said, the accessories aren’t exactly of the best quality.
You’d better stay away from the so-called grown-up accessories anyway; you can find better options at other shops, whereas plastic accessories are what Much More does best. Though they might come off as a little overpriced, you can choose from several size-adjustable plastic rings, each for 10LE. They feature some creative rings like the chocolate donut, or the cute big-eyed Koala bear. For 20LE, you can get a matching set of a multicoloured necklace, a bracelet and earrings.
If you don't fancy accessories as gifts, Much More has a group of puppets and stuffed cartoon characters including Buzz Lightyear, Batman and a couple of Smurfs that range between 40LE and 50LE for the medium-sized ones. Another suitable gift idea would be the small fabric wallet that looks durable and functional with busy prints and decorations (25LE), or the maybe one of the revolution-themed key chains (each for 10LE) decorated with a popular chant or with the Egyptian flag.
Genena Mall isn't short on gift shops, and let's face it; Much More doesn't really offer much more than the average gift shop. However, it presents a market for young girls’ accessories that aren't as expensive as they sometimes are in big brands' accessory shops.
Among the things that Cairo seems to have in excess are the shops where you can find a mishmash of random-yet- handy products; be it home accessories, stationery or even gadgets. While many of them have the advantage of humble prices, the offered products are either of questionable quality, or lacking in taste design wise.
With the belief that design and quality are equally important, Invotis was established in 1995 in Holland as a design company selling its products online, before it opened many branches worldwide, including here in Egypt, where we checked out the Americana Plaza branch.
Mainly dependant on the eye-catching products it has, the shop’s setting is minimal and clean-cut with white tables and shelves. Painted in white as well were the walls, on which a number of clocks varying in shape and size were hung. Transparent but for its black centre and rim, we found a minimalistic, medium-sized round clock, which would fit in any modern setting (300LE). Of the same shape was a smaller one that had a black and white photograph of a pug puppy (100-LE) imprinted on its face; although some may find it cute, for us it was just corny. Moving to a less safe option, we found a quirky time piece that can add uniqueness to your kitchen; a relatively small clock, whose face is the body of a tin can, and has a hand whisk for a pendulum.
Not as quirky, yet functional, were a number of wall-mounted, multi frames that can be useful for those who like to keep their memories before their eyes. Made of MDF or metal, the frames were all simple in design; one of them consisted of 12 separate metal frames attached to each other to give an abstract shape (520LE), and another made of MDF that can take 9 Photos of different sizes within the rectangular-shaped frame (630LE). Although we liked the idea of the multi frames, those prices made saving memories in one’s heart a better option.
Still browsing through home accessories, we found a white candle holder with the shape of a giraffe’s torso, with a place for the candle where the head is (39LE). In the same corner with the price of 49LE was a glow-in-the-dark model of a melted candle placed on a vintage candle plate. While we found the first of actual function -in addition to being cleverly designed- we thought the latter was rather useless if the lights are out, despite being an interesting-looking piece.
Among other intriguing products was a door stopper that has the shape of a gold ingot (290LE), a piece which we considered the jackpot of the shop; it’s both functional and attention grabbing.
Besides having a variety of home accessories, Invotis boasts a wide range of stationery items like pens, backpacks and even laptop skins. From the latter, we found a number of 15’ laptop skins (28LE each), including pictures of human upper torsos dressed in a bikini top or a tux. Though funny, we don’t recommend going to a meeting with any of them.
All in all, whether you are looking for a unique piece to liven up your space or an unorthodox gift for someone special, we totally recommend paying a visit to Invotis. And even if you happen to come across the shop, walk in and take a look, and you will be equally impressed.