Marriage is one of the oldest institutions in recorded history; this obviously comes as no surprise. However, it’s the way in which people choose to celebrate this special occasion that makes it the most important day of many lives; whether it be cultural inclinations or personal taste, every bride envisions her wedding uniquely and holds it in utter importance.
Traditionally, Egyptian brides have a ‘henna’ instead of a bachelorette party, which consists of dressing up, dancing to Arabic music and in most cases, getting some actual henna done. In recent years though, the idea of a western bachelorette party has engraved itself in the minds of young brides who yearn for the silly, and sometimes naughty, playfulness that comes as part of the package. So what it truly comes down to is this: where can one find appropriate merchandise, especially to suit each bride’s unique vision?
Old friends, Nina El Alfi and Nada Soliman – a graphic designer and an artist respectively – began to see a pattern with many of their own friends getting married. Unable to stock their desired bachelorette parties with the appropriate props, such as sashes, feather boas, tiaras, etc, they often found themselves putting items together themselves, as well as bringing them in from abroad. It didn’t stop at bachelorette parties though; the twosome have even provided accessories for actual wedding days, sometimes dealing with the wedding planner directly. Eventually, seeing the necessity in what they were doing, the two came to establish The Knot.
“We strive for individuality” El Alfi and Soliman say, proudly. Taking into account the bride’s character, they encourage face to face meetings so as to personalise the event as best they can. It’s the give and take that occurs in these meetings that makes the outcome that much more memorable and suitable to the bride. Roughly eighty percent of their merchandise is customised and this is regarded as a major selling point in their business.
Said merchandise includes everything from customised veils to ‘Bride-To-Be’ sashes and t-shirts; bridesmaids are also given customised t-shirts and sashes with personal messages, as well as headbands, flowers, feathers and more. According to the team, their aim is “to make a statement” and their collections are what could be regarded as ‘fashion forward’ – they like to see their collections as being spring/summer and fall/winter ones. They will accommodate all and any of the bride’s needs and this even means going as kinky as desired.
In providing brides with their very own customised merchandise, the team are often asked to help with planning the actual wedding, too. They don’t offer this service, but as the duo gleefully says, “when a bride asks for ideas or tips of where to throw her party or how to decorate, we are always happy to help.”
Running a business is not an easy task, especially when the concept is relatively new and the local market untapped, so through experimenting with a variety of materials and supplies, The Knot have found their groove with what works and what doesn’t. In being perfectionists, El Alfi and Soliman find the biggest struggle is in realising exactly what their clients have in mind, especially considering the difficulty of articulating the ideal result using visual language. On the other hand, providing exactly what the bride wants and seeing her and her bridesmaids happily adorned in their finished products is what’s most rewarding in the end.
Dealing with brides can be a sensitive affair at times and the girls behind The Knot often find themselves involved in more than just party planning; a faulty dress, issues with the house or a groom that’s “just driving her insane” are all conceivable scenarios, but they assure us that they don’t mind. “We truly do become friends with almost every bride, so we never mind going off topic” – a statement that led us to a very important question: do bridezillas really exist in Egypt? While the girls behind The Knot admit that indeed they do, they are diplomatic enough to concede that it’s all part and parcel of the process. “We know it’s a stressful time and understand that they just want everything to be perfect.”
Although many have seen the revolution crush their businesses, The Knot are luckily in a field that is timeless and ultimately unstoppable; marriage. Where would they like to see themselves go in the future? Through word of mouth, the business has expanded and being featured in Martha Stewart Weddings Middle East has gained them recognition in the region and they hope to introduce their business in Dubai.
To all the brides out there, The Knot tells you: just relax and enjoy yourself!
To get in touch with The Knot you can email them at email@example.com or call them on +2 01222443254 or +201227721505. For a sneak peak of their products, visit their Facebook page