Al Mangam by Yasmeen Badawy Is Here with a Story to Tell!

Al Mangam

Yasmeen Badawy is an AUC Psychology graduate who decided to turn her newfound passion for making and designing jewelry into a reality. It all started with her visits with her mom to Khan el-Khalili, which was the first spark for Yasmeen when it comes to jewelry. Then, a year before Covid19 hit, Yasmeen Badawy stumbled upon a jewelry-making course and she decided to take it, a while after, Yasmeen Badawy started Al Mangam. 

Al Mangam Jewelry
Photo Credits: Abdulrahman Sabry

Al Mangam’s jewelry is nothing short of a passionate tale told through the beautiful local artisans’ work and Yasmeen’s designs. 

We sat down with Yasmeen Badawy to know the full story! 

Have you always been passionate about jewelry design?

I can’t say that I have always been passionate about jewelry design, but I had a great interest in jewelry for a while.

When I started the course, I immediately loved it. At the time, I wasn’t thinking of starting a business. I bought things to have a small studio at home where I can design and make jewelry for myself and my friends maybe. Then, I started practicing at home and learning through youtube. It felt like a door has opened for me both in terms of creative expression and self-realization. 

How did you start AlMangam? 

I started Al Mangam after a year of working in my studio at home. My mother suggested that I sell my designs since I had made a lot of pieces. My mother and I went on a hunt for an artisan in the Khan El Khalili/Al Azhar area and after a long search, we found Am Yasser. He’s the artisan I’ve been working with from the day I started. Then I found another artisan for the polishing and plating process. 

During that process, I brainstormed a name and an identity for the brand with my friends. One of my close friends came up with the name “Al Mangam” meaning “The Mine”. I worked with another friend on the logo, packaging, and content. Another friend of mine was the photographer. One of them was styling and some of them were modeling. My friends were really supportive throughout the first shoot for my brand. I wouldn’t have started the brand without the help and support that my friends and my mother gave me. After the first photoshoot, I launched on Instagram and that’s when it all began. 

What challenges have you faced in your career and how did you overcome them? 

One of the main challenges was balancing my personal and professional life as well as the different jobs I had. One of the challenges I faced while running Al Mangam was finding a good delivery company. Unfortunately, it made it really hard for me to provide the level of customer service I wanted. Then, I finally settled for one that I’m currently working with and I hope it doesn’t disappoint. 

Al Mangam
Photo Credits: Camilia Kobaissy

I think I learned a lot through the challenges I faced while running Al Mangam. I established a healthy routine that would help me maintain my energy according to my interests. 

Talk to us about the importance of supporting local brands in Egypt

I think it’s very important to support local brands in Egypt especially since they’re on the rise. There is now a local brand for almost every product. It is something we should be very proud of. It’s also important for local brands, artists, and creatives to support each other through collaborations. 

The surge of local brands doesn’t only speak to the creative designers and artists that we have in Egypt. It also speaks to the wealth of local artisans who are often neglected.

How has your experience been working with local Egyptian Craftsmen? 

I work with one local Egyptian artisan, Am Yasser. He’s my main producer and I consider him my partner. My experience with Am Yasser has been phenomenal. He’s such an integral part of the jewelry-making process and we work together to reach the best outcome possible. 

Am Yasser is patient and puts up with my long process of experimentation. He also teaches me a lot about jewelry making. So, I spend hours at the Warsha making jewelry and brainstorming with him about how we can make the piece practical while preserving my design elements. I like to think that we have a symbiotic relationship where we both are willing to learn from each other and care about producing the best quality. I am very grateful to work with an honest and helpful artisan like Am Yasser. He has definitely made my journey a lot easier. 

Al Mangam’s jewelry is so unique, where do you get your artistic inspiration from? 

Personal experiences, people, nature, and places like Khan El Khalili and West El Balad all inspire me. I feel like my sources of inspiration have varied throughout the collections, but I always find myself designing pieces that give a feeling that is nostalgic and dreamlike. 

So, I guess that this feeling is my main source of inspiration. In my second collection, a lot of my pieces were inspired by the mysticism of nature and the way I experienced it. The third collection is coming soon, and it’s inspired by our human ability to create using our hands.

I am constantly changing, and so are the pieces I’m creating. 

What has been your favorite and least favorite part of this journey? 

My favorite part of the journey is being able to explore myself and my creative abilities in a way that I never have. I found Haret El Salheya and Haret El Yahood which have now become like an escape for me where I can create pieces and get out of my head for a while. I appreciate the people I’ve met like Am Yasser who have helped me on this journey. One of my favorite things is seeing how my customers feel about the pieces as well.

My least favorite part has to be everything related to finance and keeping track of sales and pricing. This part of running Al Mangam has definitely been the most stressful especially since I don’t have any background in business at all. My friends also helped me out a lot with that but if there’s a way to run a business without having to do the financial part, I would definitely enjoy it a lot more!

What hopes do you have for Al Mangam? 

I really hope that I’m able to establish an audience worldwide and expand in terms of collaborations with artists as well as a designer myself. As much as I want Al Mangam to go big. I also want it to keep that intimate quality where the pieces are produced in a slow, deliberate manner and I’m still able to develop a relationship with my customers. 

You can find Al Mangam’s latest collection here!

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