As you walk into the store, you feel a wham-bam electric shock of none other than amusement has smacked your fashion senses. From the decor, the music, the glam, and the little pretty things that need an oversized shopping cart to fulfill your ultimate shopping pleasures; Amuse defines its genuine identity. We decided to talk to the three musketeers behind the concept store which is unquestionably what modern Egyptian women want.
Vivienne Abdel Messih, Gailan Fahim and Dina El Batal are the masterminds behind the store. The three of them had decided to build up a contemporary concept empire in a niche market, with very few customers exposed to such new wave trendy concepts. In the boom times of Fashion Made in Egypt, our three women had decided to delve into fun, chic and quirky items that aren’t found in the country and bring them all home “We travel each season and see what’s out there, what’s going on, we pick and choose and search what is available in the market and what isn’t available. What our customers want is very important, but we must research first how our market will respond”, Vivienne tells us. Since the store is one of a kind, you feel that there is a perfect plan set from the minute they select the brands, to the minute the products are hanged or scattered on the cash counter in a ‘buy me’ fashion, “If you look at this store, you’ll see that we run a proper retail operation. We make sure that you walk in and you have a proper shopping experience. We didn’t’ want to be the three girls, who like clothes and wanted to start a fashion business”, says Vivienne.
An acting studio turned concept store, you’ll feel that art still haunts the place with everything that surrounds it, from the concepts of the brands to the concept of the business plans set behind the scenes “We wanted everything to fit together, the finance, your shopping experience, the brands; it is a well put plan. The standards that we put is we like to work with brands that doesn’t exist in the market, we don’t like to provide things that are everywhere just like everybody else, we want to go that extra mile and we search and dig, and everyone stays until 3:00am in the morning until our eyes pop out”, Vivienne said. The three partners come from different backgrounds and lifestyles, the thing that paved the way for them to explode with such a genuine idea. Vivienne studied Fashion Promotion in Milan and worked at Al Tayer group doing communication for Gap, Armani and Gucci. Dina still works at Biscato, her own Biscuit Factory and Gailan used to work at Al Tayer Group and handled the marketing operations for many multinational companies before.
The Amuse girls are so tuned in to the basics of doing a ‘proper’ fashion business, “The chances are if you go into a boutique and you don’t like the direction you won’t come again, but change is important, so at Amuse, you wont find the same thing everyday”, Gailan said. “Fashion is a business, yes it has the fun and quirky parts of it, but at the end it’s a business. It’s a 123 equation and putting the right formula makes you have a proper investment return”, Vivienne says.
So what if we’re broke by the end of the month, could we treat ourselves with a little piece, to chill after some hectic working weeks? “Of course you could, if you’re bored and need something to cheer up, you could buy yourself something with 200 LE and you’ll be happy. We have kids coming in to buy little stuff for themselves!”, Dina tells us. Whether you seek the grunge trends or you’re a polished princess at heart, you’ll find what amuses you. The stores caters to all your needs from kitchen gadgets, cocktail dresses, street wear, t-shirts and various amazing accessories, that if you just buy them you won’t need a new wardrobe this season! “People meet at the Espresso Bar in Amuse and just enjoy the music and cozy atmosphere, everyone will find something to do at Amuse, we have a lot of male customers who drop buy to have a good cup of coffee or buy a gift for their mother in law”, Gailan tells us.
Really cool concepts are put into Amuse’s marketing plan. WWW team attended the book launch of Shirley Shalaby’s new book ‘Beyond Charm’ and events of these kinds are bringing the store its essential target, “Word of mouth in a nutshell does the marketing for us. We started to get approached by various designers but we have our very own identity, we’re not into the ethnic style though, so we set different standards”, Gailan says.
Of course we didn’t leave the founders without stealing some fashion tips for you, so check these out:
What’s a must have for everywoman? A scarf, a statement piece of accessory like a necklace is also important, we have necklaces that you could wear with a t-shirt or on an evening dress. A must have is also the Little Black Dress!
What should always live in our hand bags? We have this Coban bag, it’s a French brand bag in which you could put a notebook, stationary or everything you need; it’s small and you could put it in your daily bag. Also a notebook and Lipstick is essential for us.
Who are the best Fashion designers? As for Egyptian, Amina K. would be fantastic, she started doing a kids collection and she’s evolving. As for high end, Alexander McQueen is quirky and very creative. And if you could afford it, Balmain is huge!
What amused WWW:
1. Aviator style sunglasses turned necklaces from Clash!
2. Boho candles in shapes of Buddha and Skulls by Khaled Hamza.
3. Fashion advice books.
Amuse is located at 15, Ismail Mohamed St. Borg Jeddah-Ground floor, Zamalek – Cairo