Aiming to revive the handicrafts industry in Egypt and open a market for Egyptian craftsmakers to sell and market their products internationally, Al-Ahram Advertising Agency in cooperation with Egyptian Exporters Association and Handicrafts Industries Chamber organised the first International Handicrafts Show from 18 to 25 November. The event is hosted by the Cairo Fairground in Nasr City and open for exporters and public audience.
“The main objective of this fair is to bridge a gap between local craftsmakers and international companies that are interested in Egyptian products,” said Mohammed Saed, the publicity and marketing manager for the fair.
“We never organised a local fair like this before. The previous ones have always been smaller with limited publicity and few interested buyers. This year, we hosted 120 companies and individual manufacturers. All the products are made from Egyptian raw materials and by Egyptian workers,” Saed added.
The main sponsor of the exhibition is “Ebdaa Men Mesr” (Innovation from Egypt) initiative which was launched by Bank of Alexandria (AlexBank) to support a number of small Egyptian craftsmakers over the past years.
“Ebdaa Men Masr aims to empower localised communities contributing to the preservation of the heritage of Egyptian crafts and original artwork, by improving their connections with the open markets” said Dante Campioni, managing director and AlexBank’s CEO.
“We want to support skilful Egyptian artisans to boost their entrepreneurial opportunities, enabling them to deliver to the market the beauty of their original handcrafts. The expression of centuries-old traditions can certainly be appreciated not only domestically but internationally as well” Campioni added.
The exhibition itself is divided into several parts, with each type of handicraft on display in their own section.
“Each company or individual was provided a partition inside the fair whose space is determined according to the kind of the products they show. Similar products were exhibited alongside each other to give buyers a chance to compare between the quality and prices of the different products and manufacturers,” Campioni explained.
The opening day attracted dozens of visitors who came to buy different types of handicrafts including carpets, pottery, mosaic, glass, clothes, home accessories, portraits, and many other handmade products.
“The first day was so crowded and we were so surprised that we managed to reach our target audience. Thus, we had to move our advertisements from the last page in Al-Ahram to the internal pages to decrease the number of visitors,” he added.
In his opinion, the show is considered an effective way for developing the handicrafts sector in Egypt as it attracts many different kinds of people. The show provides products at various prices that can suit different buyers.
“Until now, the participating companies managed to achieve great success and make high profits and sale rates. Every day, representatives from the invited international importing companies make tours in the fair to make contracts with the best sellers. This is considered an unprecedented success in this field,” he noted.
Although the organisers proposed a plan to hold the handicrafts show yearly, visitors asked them to organise it every three months. “We don’t want the show to lose its importance so we plan to reach a common ground and hold it every six months. This will keep people interested in exploring its new products,” he concluded.