It’s been a long year full of changes and economic unrest, and Christmas is already right around the corner! – A time of giving, sharing, and celebrating life with family and friends. With that in mind, it is important to remember Cairo’s hardworking local craftspeople, start-ups, and small businesses that were affected by the global Coronavirus crisis. Their persevering efforts and boundless creativity inspired this list of admirable underdogs.
There’s certainly something for everyone here, from hard-to-kill plants to curious accessories, handmade frames, and more! If you’re thinking a little outside the box this season (and let’s face it, there was nothing whatsoever in the box this year) then you are one step closer to encouraging and supporting some of Cairo’s unique, underrated, and valuable gems.
Now is the time to purchase responsibly and gift whole-heartedly. Merry Christmas!
An online store for plant lovers! With a wide-ranging collection of “hard-to-kill” plants for beginners, “hard-to-please” plants for experienced plant enthusiasts, and low light survivor plants. “Before getting into plants as a hobby, I was under the false impression that everything I touch dies,” says Iman Hosni, founder of Plant Cult. “I never imagined that I would be able to grow something so fragile and make it thrive. As cliche as it may sound, plants changed my perception of myself.”
They all come in colourful pots, varying in shapes and sizes. A venture unlike any other in the market!
An online fashion store dedicated to alternative-wear for daring goths, punks, and rocker types who have no problem standing out, single-handedly run by Maryem, who creates amazing faux-leather chokers. Even though other items are imported, these chokers are definitely the store’s distinguishing feature.
Check out Gothic House on Instagram.
A blend of the purest plant extracts is packed and waiting for all nature lovers out there! A natural skincare line of fascinating products sold online and in markets, for those dedicated to nature’s finest skin solutions. Meraki are quite exceptional in creating characteristic and specialised natural products, from soaps with rare ingredients to Retinol substitutes, cellulite busters, and anti-ageing and acne treatments, you name it! Each creation dedicated to a particular skin type and all are doubtlessly gentle on the skin.
Check out Meraki on Instagram.
Established in 1948, The Readers Corner is a multifaceted enterprise specialising in custom-made frames for works of art, objects, fabric or materials, and just about anything else you can think of! They are also a bookshop, a gallery, and run an art consultation firm. A place to consider when gifting sophisticated arts enthusiasts, avid readers, and intellectuals alike. You can browse through their Instagram and Facebook pages, but this one, you’ll have to head to the shop to pick up your items!
An incredible mix of artistry and craftsmanship are demonstrated here. Souma excels at multitasking by creating framed artwork, as well as wearable chains. The online shop is dedicated to selling acrylic artwork over glass and mirrors. Each piece has a philosophical meaning or an emotional, social, or cultural attachment to it, clearly and poetically described under each photo. Their artwork is beautifully framed with wood and come in mini, small, and medium sizes.
Souma also creates exceptional harness, necklace, and shoulder chains to wear whichever way you see fit. All are uniquely crafted to stand out and definitely complete a powerful look.
All items are available to order online on Instagram.
This online shop for calendars is truly one-of-a-kind. Not only is it a yearly calendar with some of Egypt’s favourite celebrity queens, it is also a colouring book! They’re created by Valerie Arif, in partnership with illustrator Amro Thabit. The two designers reached out to a third friend, behind the Instagram page @popular_arab, who provided them with the final diva list and all the relevant images to choose from.
Valerie sought out the freedom to create products as a designer, away from client work. “I wanted to make something that my friends and I would have fun with, and to create something just as I would want it and find the audience for it”, says Valerie. “And I’m really into divas, and Egyptian drama – and drama in general! So, that’s definitely part of it; the fact that it’s an activity is part of it too. I thought it would be nice to create something that people can participate in. Seeing people’s very different colouring results is also a lot of fun”.
The calendars come with a slightly different theme every year, where Valerie will include various artists and illustrators, but for now, this is certainly one to enjoy and have fun with!
Find your calendar on Baby’s Instagram.
Ethically-made, all Bulga’s items are natural leather footwear, handcrafted to perfection by Egyptian artisans. Bulga creates the most comfortable shoes, boots, slip-ons, and loafers with uniquely braided leather from Shalateen, all stitched together with a distinctive Saharan style. They’re available at Zamalek market, as well as events in Gouna, Swiss Club Cairo, October Hills Clubhouse, and Cairo malls such as Park Mall and Point 90 Mall. They also deliver all over Egypt, free of charge! They’re also quite flexible in their exchange and money-back policies.
Bulga tailors to men and women of all ages and sizes. Guaranteed to last, and remain comfortable even when worn out! Truly a faithful partner to adventure with on all kinds of occasions!
Check out their Instagram.
This one is for all you dedicated dog lovers and cat people out there! Precious Collars is an online shop for all kinds of cute, glamorous, and adventurous collars. They come in the form of sparkly jewellery for the fashion-forward, colourful bandanas for the bold and outgoing, studded or bling chokers for the charismatic little punks, and flowery or patterned collars for the hippies!
Precious Collars come in all shapes, colours, and sizes, and are available at market events such as Lokali in Maadi, WA Centre, and Zamalek Market. They also deliver all over Egypt through their Instagram.
Also, 10% of their profits go to Animal Shelter. Sweet!