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Commercial Entrepreneur Fashion & Apparel Global Technology Entrepreneur

Technology Becomes Fashion at Telekom Fashion Fusion Awards Ceremony in Berlin

I had the pleasure of being invited to Telekom’s Fashion Fusion Challenge closing ceremony in Berlin. And what I have discovered later to be more of an honour was spending time and enjoying a thoughtful conversation with Hans-Christian Schwingen, Chief Brand Officer at Telekom who won the CMO of the year award in 2016!

What was most impressive for me as an entrepreneur is seeing Antje Hundhausen of Telekom, being introduced as the Founder of Fashion Fusion – I know how sensitive companies are in calling a staff a “Founder” of something, so it was good to see an example where “Intrapreneurship” goes beyond lip service.

The same also happened with the Founders of “Electronic Beats” despite being staff on Telekom payroll, they maintained a long term “Founder” status of the business division. It also seemed like they had to “compete” internally for Telekom resources which was pretty close to how my world of “entrepreneurship” works!

You can find more information about the impressive projects that won everywhere, but I’m sharing my personal reflections and time spent at the event.

Network Nerves

I like to start at the end, that’s why Network Nerves landed most of my attention, probably also because it was the most visually active project – and if I want to be more honest,  probably because it had the most attractive project owners as well! – Network Nerves uses “Smart Textile” to empower performers to express themselves on stage, the idea is great, the team intended to use a liquid for illumination but ran into “Mechanical” challenges so ended up using leds – the team didn’t seem to be happy about how it turned out to be. As an Engineer, I promised to look at the issue and offer support on resolving it, the market is niche and tricky, but this could be something.

Project Love

Project Love left me in awe, at the beginning it seemed very simple and basic business model of providing “PLus Size” with wardrobe options with a better fashion taste, but I was impressed to see their 3D scanner technology, where they can produce a 3D version of you through just an App and a scanning booth, then, you are able to pick the items that would fit it through the app, making it easier for them to identify specific size and fashion needs. On a proper scale, this project could be a winner too.

Smart Orthosis

How about you get a vibration everytime your posture is not right? Sounds a bit creepy, but Smart Orthosis offers a vest with a digital neuro-network that analyzes your posture through bluetooth connection to your phone and upon detecting a harmful posture, you get a vibration to adjust your posture. It seems to have benefits in theory, I’m not sure in practice whether you’d like to be vibrated into when your posture is not alright. Probably I would like to try that for a day and judge by the level of comfort later.

The sweetest thing at the end of the ceremony was that my friend and DJ from Canada, Sarah Barrable, managed with her smooth diplomacy and leadership skills to take over the DJ table and produced some awesome dance Music for the whole crowd! For which all our group, event staff, attendees and remaining Telekom staff enjoyed sharing and connecting..

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Commercial Entrepreneur Entrepreneur Fashion & Apparel Part-time Mother

PoshShop, the marketplace for pre-owned authentic luxury goods is making it safer to shop for original items online

It was actually tailored to my late grandfather” this was my response to a colleague commenting on my grey wool suite, one of my all the time favorite pieces of wardrobe during cold winter days, today I could hardly find something as thick, well-tailored and a perfect fit anywhere.

Using pre-owned items as part of our wardrobe is not a totally foreign concept to Egyptians, items are often carried on by family members and occassionally gifted to close friends, special pieces of wardrobe carries stories, authenticity and meaning  beyond its monetary value.

It’s not very different for shoppers for luxury items, often quite expensive and very occassionally used, the market for pre-owned luxury good has been nothing but expanding and with its expansion comes the risk of falling a prey for counterfeited items. Stories of high-value purchases of seemingly original items that turns out to be copies gets plenty of people to hold back from purchasing pre-owned originals.

The risk is realized by Daria Ilina, her over a decade of experience in the luxury fashion industry and the experience of her friends falling a prey to counterfeited items has inspired her to start Posh Shop to be the destination to buy and sell pre-owned authentic luxury goods.

The black market is so profitable so sellers of fake products, sometimes purchase original receipts of boutiques, dust bags and packaging from people who have original items in order to manufacture the high copy with corresponding serial numbers, model number, color and sell it with boutique invoice. In this case the only chance to spot the fake is to inspect the item itself.” Said Daria

The verification process of these luxury items doesn’t go far from Sherlock Holmes investigations. Unless you follow a pre-defined process of testing several variables, you’d fall victim to fake copies even if you own similar items from the same brand. For this, verification can only be handled by professionals. The shop uses a verification consulting services that requires a quarterly visit and more than two dozen photos taken on a very specific manner – the angle, the lighting, the focus all affects the verification process.

And as she settles down with her Egyptian family, Daria sees the business through the goggles of sustainability.

 

“We are sustainable.  We are doing our small part to be environmentally responsible. Giving opportunity to re-sell what it is already manufactured, extending the lifecycle of luxury goods, we reduce polluting effect from fashion production. Which greatly affects Oceans’ flora and fauna.   Another issue, when people re-sell their unwanted designer items to somebody who will treasure them again they feel good knowing that they are part of the social responsibility program and making the good things not just for cash in return.” Says Daria Ilina, Founder of Post Shop

 

 

The Posh Shop has also created a luxury selling and exchange community, through which members can consistently update their items without the need to purchase each individual item. Daria’s passion for style also allows for member’s personal styling needs to be met with notifications of availability of suitable items.

To learn more about The Posh Shop and what kind of items are currently available visit their website www.poshshop-eg.com and join them on Facebook and Instagram

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Fashion & Apparel Stories

Abayology: How harmony and balance can be your best companions while starting and growing a business.

While I was not the typical guest to this type of delicate showroom in Nasr City, the aroma pleasantly hypnotized me that I became even more curious about the story of this business.

Abayology is a 6 year old fashion brand started in 2011 by two friends Maye and Heba. The business inspired by their own passion and talent in designing their own edgy “Abaya(s)” – an oriental robe-like garment, often considered too classic.

Ladies from their society started inquiring about the source of  their abayas which provided enough reason for them to turn their passion into a business with the motto of “change your abaya style”.

Started online, the business had been growing steadily and today, the partners manage not only a showroom and two sales outlets but they were also able to start their own factory to support their business and aspiring fashion-designers in Egypt.

So far, it seems like a classic success story of mature partners, steadily growing a business that they are very passionate and enthusiastic about. But what ready made it outstanding is that the two co-founders managed to maintain a successful marriage and a strong family with 6 kids.

I started digging in for answers and after getting as much information as I get, I think I’m discovering the secret ingredients to building a business while maintaining balance and harmony in different areas of our lives.

1. Maintain a Collaborative Attitude

A primarily ingredient in the success of Abayology, is that from the outset the partners have maintained a collaborative attitude throughout their journey, D’Factory, created by Abayology is serving aspiring Fashion designers to produce their vision the same way the partners has done years before.

With a belief and focus on building a better environment for the emerging fashion design industry in Egypt, the collaborative attitude has also came to be very helpful to support Abayology’s expansion and future projects.

2. Managing Expectations

One of the traps of starting and growing a business steadily is conveying overly optimistic expectations, Abayology manged to reflect their state, capacity, availability and delivery time clearly to their customers, partners and designers they are working with. Building a sustainable long term relationship, a solid community and many returning customers.

3. Balanced Exchange

What I found wonderfully inspiring is how the partners while enduring the responsibilities of sustaining and growing a business in challenging economic conditions managed to also maintain a successful relationship with their spouses, kids and expanded family.

4. Clear Communication

One secret for maintaining a balanced relationship turned out to be Clear Communication on each party’s responsibilities and expectations and consistent review and open communication on what needs to change.

Maintaining clear communication also have supplied the partners with enormous support from their partners when the going gets tough, the reality and openness in communication made it easy to access support when needed.

4. Sharing the Journey

The partners also managed to integrate different areas of their lives, they didn’t draw a wall between their work and home life or tried to manage them separately, furthermore their active engagement in work and home life didn’t hinder their ability to contribute to their community through inspiring other young ladies to venture into starting their own business.

This integration of home, work and community lives provides the needed fuel for self fulfillment and enjoyment of the journey that while being tough at times, can be enormously enjoyable for those who know how to survive the challenge of inducing harmony and maintaining balance.

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Learn more about the journey and stages of starting and growing your own business from Egypreneur’s Survival Guide, check more details and request an interview from:https://www.egypreneur.com/survival