Entrepreneur Shaymaa Halawa, a Touch of Art, History, Culture and Contemporary Style

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Since early childhood, her parents emphasized the importance of arts and culture. They taught her how to appreciate painting, sculpture, music and history. Wherever they traveled inside Egypt or abroad, visiting museums and historical buildings was their main concern. This was also underlined by the variety of activities and hobbies that were offered at the German school. As she was fascinated by design, she attended the Faculty of Architecture Cairo University and worked afterwards as an interior designer and later on as a creative designer. 
In the year 2000, she participated as an amateur in a competition organized by the World Gold Council. She designed a whole set, which won an award for the “Soiree” section. 
This was the start, as it motivated her to design a ring for herself. People who saw it liked it a lot and they asked her to duplicate it for them, some asking for a matching pendant or earrings. As she noticed a considerable demand for her designs, Shaymaa decided to pursue it more professionally. Accordingly, she took gold smithing, stones and diamonds so that she could have the skills to provide a good supply. In parallel, she organized exhibitions and open days. “Architecture helped me refine my design skills, as I studied the history of architectural art and got proper training for design”, Shaymaa proudly points out.
Shaymaa Halawa’s jewelry has an artistic unique character, as it reflects yesterday based on our strong historical and cultural heritage, today and tomorrow. This is how she derives her inspiration. Whenever she needs to come up with a new design, all she has to do is roaming around in our rich country, visiting museums and monuments. She points out that “We’re a blend of multiple cultures, Pharaonic, Coptic and Islamic. I try to interpret our culture in a modern language. We all appreciate history and cannot ignore its effect on our personality, but it might not be what we need in modern life. It is not practical for a modern woman, who goes to work in suits or goes to the club in jeans to wear the old Yashmak and Habara anymore. The same goes for the heavy jewelry associated with this style. We have a different lifestyle. However, we cannot deny that this is part of our identity.” Many designers just copy the old style of jewelry as it is. However, this does not fit our modern way of life. Shaymaa believes that the ladies in Egypt and the Middle East are characterized by being unique, sexy and having this “mysterious flare with a lot hidden inside”. Therefore, she tries to make her jewelry have a special character so that the woman wearing it would feel “This is truly me”. A lot of people buy jewelry made by famous foreign designers. This definitely reflects status, but it does not portray our identity. “We are different, somehow warmer”, underlines Shaymaa. Using gold, silver and stone additions and relying on various techniques, colors and composition, Shaymaa’s products stand out. “I care most that my pieces come out artistic much more than being commercial”. She beautifully describes her jewelry as “a unique effort of experiences and culture that cannot be duplicated. It’s not just about jewelry. It’s about artistic philosophy”.
In addition to the creative, extraordinary designs, Shaymaa Halawa carries her product differentiation a step further. Giving extra emphasis on quality, she pays the finishing of her pieces concentrated attention. Products are always tested for durability. They should not be breakable under any circumstances. Reflecting good value for money, the packaging is given special care to demonstrate the high product quality. Moreover, Shaymaa regards good customer service as high priority. In order for her products to remain unique, she limits the quantity sold of each design to four or five pieces maximum. Usually, each piece of this limited quantity is different from the other by changing some variables like stone, color or size. “Altering minor details like making an earring with a hook instead of a pin gives the design a totally different flare. In this way, each woman feels that she is wearing something unique reflecting her own identity, and nobody else has it”, explains Shaymaa. Accordingly, she is one of the fewest people if not the only one in Egypt who works within lines based on inspiration. Firstly, she transforms her inspiration into a unique piece and then, through adaptation, she expands it to a whole line based on a certain idea. Examples of the lines or inspirations that she created are the "Mashrabeya", fragile delicate feminism, warmth within families and hidden beauty. This diversification with such a high quality is not easy to achieve. It requires tremendous time and effort considering the fact that the craftsmanship in Cairo is not that reliable. 
Since the jewelry market in Egypt is still immature, there is no copyright to protect the designs from being imitated. That is why their exposure should be well-planned and calculated. Nevertheless, Shaymaa Halawa’s jewelry succeeded in attracting not only Egyptian, but also foreign demand. Her products got excellent feedback among Europeans. They perceived it as a special brand, a trendsetter. Even in the Gulf, they were very well-received despite the fact that one might think that they are bit too delicate for women’s taste there. Nevertheless, Shaymaa thinks that she still has a lot to accomplish. She wants to be more available for the customer through a point of sale location in addition to having a higher number of exhibitions per year at various places. Accordingly, she can spread more awareness of her products so that more initiators, who appreciate art, can buy them and appreciate her as a special and unique brand. Well done Shaymaa and best of luck! Another great example of female entrepreneurship.
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