Time Capsule in the Heart of Zamalek
If you happen to be into old school art, then you’ve probably been directed to “Hamada Mazzika”. Hamada runs a shop which specializes in everything vintage that relates to music and film. From old Egyptian movie poster, to priceless vinyls, record players, typewriters, and pretty much anything you can think of. His interest in what he is selling goes beyond it being his trade. When you walk into his store, you’re immediately transported to a simpler time. And as you spend hours browsing through his invaluable merchandise; Hamada will talk to you about music, entertainment, and history, over a cup of tea. We sat down with him to discuss his journey in this business.
How did you start getting into this business?
I used to work as an accountant, and the company I worked in went bankrupt. So I started working with a man who sold antiques. I worked for 3 months with him then moved to a shop that sold things that are more art related.
And that’s now your shop.
Well, when that shop closed, I opened my own shop in the same place.
Why did you go for art-related antiques
I liked it more. It’s a lighter field to be working in, both figuratively and literally. And when you’re trading in movies and music, you’re dealing with a bigger fraction of society. Everyone from all walks of life loves movies and music. So this gives you a chance to meet more people and learn more things.
Were you ever advised to seek a “normal job”?
Did you consider it?
No, I like what I do more. I’m more valuable to people now than I would be if I worked an 9 to 5 job.
You deal unique merchandise to unique people, do you have any funny stories that happened to you at work?
There are many. Once, this regular customer of mine who always came for vinyls was going through a new collection I just brought. Then he realized that those records belonged to his aunt; they had her signature on them. She had left the country and sold her house. And the new owner sold her things. My customer and his aunt had the same taste in music, so he ended up stumbling onto her vinyls.
You sometimes provide props for television series. What’s the difference between that and your normal work?
When props are requested, their value doesn’t really matter. The only thing that matters is how the prop looks. If they want to have a library, they wouldn’t care what’s in the books, they just want stacks of books on the shelves. They want décor, not data.
Even though everyone likes music and movies, you are dealing a unique product and not many are into that. How did you end up forming your database of those who sell antiques and those who buy them?
For sellers, I’ve built a reputation over the past 17 years. For buyers, basically people who have the same interests come together. If you are into buying vinyls you will find that you, and all your friends, know everyone who sells them.
The economy isn’t at its best. Has that affected your business?
That’s the difference between my work and working in heavier antiques. Antiques are a luxury and therefore are affected by any economic crisis. However, my field is light and fun, and it’s quite affordable.
How is the competition in this field like in Egypt?
Very little. What controls it is that those products are no longer being made in Egypt. There are record players and vinyls still being made outside of Egypt, but not here.
Your prices are quite reasonable even though sometimes vintage items are overpriced. Why is that the case?
It’s purely commercial. I like the cycle of products in my store to be faster. I can sell a vinyl for 500LE, but not many will be able to buy it at that price, so it will take longer to sell.