From despair to hope, Egyptian mother and former marketing professional Rania Ahmed has managed to bring her long-time dream to fruition, despite the struggles she has encountered over the last few years.
Rania is the founder and creative force behind TAYET’s, a project producing natural handmade rope products. It offers various natural rope products and goodies, including bowls and jute rope baskets, wall art collections, summer bags, as well as wall hangings and mirrors, among other products.
The 33-year-old mother left her job in marketing to fulfil her passion for handcrafting. Starting entirely from scratch, she decided to carry out a passion she inherited from her father.
Rania studied Business Administration and graduated from the Modern Academy in 2008, before going on to work in several fields, including marketing, and as an online radio anchor. She then found herself finding joy in handcrafting with rope.
Before launching her new project, TAYET’s, in June 2020, Rania took her time to test other materials, such as plastic, before she found herself discovering the wonders of handmade rope products.
Reviving an old passion
Rania started to make handmade rope products in 2015-2016, though at this time, she said, such local handmade items were not popular in Egypt.
“At this time, no one was doing anything out of ropes in the handicrafts field,” she said, “All such products were imported, but I started to make items for my house, for my friends and acquaintances, and little by little the circle expanded.”
During her pregnancy with her daughter Farida, Rania started to revive old hobbies and to discover her passion towards handcrafting and carpentry.
“I am proud of my role as a mother, but I wanted to be a successful role model for her, and also for myself,” Rania said, “Motherhood is a great thing and Farida is all I have in life, but at the same time, you have to do something for yourself.”
She added that at the beginning, she had wanted to go into carpentry, a passionate pastime of her father’s. This was put to one side, however, due to her pregnancy, so she instead turned to recycling things and testing making products with various materials such as papers, plastic and others.
After giving birth, Rania found the chance to, for a while, give workshops and courses to children on recycling materials mainly papers. These handmade items produced at these workshops were indented to be sold or exhibited. Alongside workshops and training, Rania was enhancing her skills in making
handmade rope products, but on a small scale.
She spent months reading, researching, and experimenting with different types of rope. She kept heading to markets that sell the types of ropes she needed, in order to explore materials and to get an idea of good sources for the materials she needed.
Because some of the species of source materials she needed for the ropes are unavailable in Egypt, she found it difficult to find some of the materials in the country.
“People thought I was crazy, but I believed in myself and in what I do, and kept discovering what could be created through rope material,” Rania noted, “For the materials, I kept searching in several cities, and I even took my husband on a holiday to look for the materials for the ropes!”
Rania added that she uses cotton, Jute and silk ropes, each of which has a different pattern that matches with the specific styles of handmade products. She noted, however, that she is more passionate about Jute ropes, due to their similar smell to sawdust, which reminds her of her father’s carpentry works.
Over the past few years, Rania has faced several periods where she felt unable to continue with the project, only making handmade rope products to satiate her passion and hobby.
These down periods did not, however, stop her from beginning studies towards a decoration diploma, to help her in her work. She also kept selling handmade rope goodies in small quantities, and from time-to-time received orders from customers through her Facebook page, on which she exhibits her products and designs.
In 2019, Rania wrote a post on a Facebook group, and on the back of this received an offer to cooperate with a prestigious company which wanted her to supply batches of rope basket products as part of its new line.
Although the two sides parted ways after a while, this opportunity was the first real opportunity for Rania to gain greater publicity and awareness of her talents and products.
Rania, with the support of her husband Khaled, who is also a marketing manager, started their joint project TAYET’s and launched it in June 2020.
The couple created a website and launched their brand, also renting a nearby spot as a workshop for making the products. Later, they hired several workers to help Rania in making the products.
“We chose the name ‘Tayet’ because it was the ancient Egyptian goddess of weaving and the patron of weavers,” Rania added.
The couple began to expand rapidly, and are now cooperating with hotels and companies both in Cairo and on the North Coast. The project’s rapid success has not stopped there, as they are also reaching more and more customers across Egypt.
“I cannot believe that over just a few months we have achieved this much,” Rania said, “As we started during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we had only two options, to succeed or fail, but we did it, we succeeded.”
Rania noted that she was lucky to have the support of her small family and her parents, who all helped her to achieve her dream throughout her journey.
She pays particular tribute to her husband, Khaled, not only helped her in launching her new project, but in many other things too.
“Without his support, I could not achieve this success, as he gave me time to work, a space to experiment and test,” Rania said, “He takes care of Farida and encourages me to go on. I am really grateful for him.”
She added that making rope products has helped lift her out of depression, which she had previously suffered from. She said that no medicine or physiatrists had helped her, only handcrafting with rope “gives me life.”