Tell us about yourself and your organization/company.
I took courses in Europe and New York in photography, though I studied electrical engineering. Once I graduated, I worked for about seven years in professional photography, specialising in the commercial field. Eleven years ago, we created our very first event, which was ‘The Scorpions in the Pyramids’, and that’s when ‘Events Plus Egypt’ took off. I’m the co-founder of the F&B venue ‘1925’ and ‘Pepenero’ restaurants, both of which provide fine dining and often target an over 35 crowd, while ‘Soirée’ is our famous new year party brand.
Give us a brief about your previous most famous events/projects.
‘The Scorpions in the Pyramids’ was a very successful event, although it was not financially successful because we were not yet familiar with market prices and ended up paying a lot more than we should have; however, it was a challenge for us to give it another shot to do it right! We’ve done Tiesto in the North Coast, seating 12,000 individuals. We have hosted Hocus Pocus, a family show at the Cairo Conference Centre with talented people from Asia, Vegas, and Europe, all put together in one show. The Julio Iglesias, Samy Youssef and Kelly Roland concerts were a huge success. We have planned Carles Puyol’s recent visit to Egypt that was sponsored by Heineken Egypt as a promotion for tourism. Aly & Fila was also one of our most successful concerts that we planned at the pyramids with 3,000 people seated.
How do you manage to stay on top?
I consider my company to be in the top five event planning organizations in Egypt -none being better than the other. We invest in calibres; we make sure we hire the right person for the job, who’s not only smart, but also compatible with our tricky field. I personally socialize with all my employees from the office boy to the general manager and create a comfortable atmosphere for them. No one personally takes credit; we’re a team with very good chemistry.
What separates your brand/services from the competition?
We’re specialized; we don’t do weddings or private parties, we solely specialize in corporate events, music festivals, special events, or events with our own brands like ‘Soirée’, but we don’t accept any briefs that have nothing to do with the core of our business.
What’s your philosophy?
I’m an ambitious person. I decided event planning was exactly what I wanted to do, and that’s what I sought. I’ve never dreamt of hitting it this big, but with hard work and dedication, I managed to achieve it. My motto would be “respect to be respected”, and that’s something I live by. I never accept pitches that have been offered to my friends, because I don’t pitch against friends... normal competition I do and 95% I win it.
What trends do you think are emerging in the nightlife scene lately?
I’m not particularly crazy with the trending clubbing scene, so I like how the new trend is now fine dining rather than just obnoxious music and pill popping! What’s missing with fine dining is the dancing part, and that’s what we’re trying to do in ‘1925’, so that you get the exquisite cuisine, the calming atmosphere, as well as fine dancing -like it’s done in modern Europe.
How do you reinvent your identity?
I’m in the process of doing just that. I plan to invest in social media because our events are rarely press-related, and I want to promote our events as well as others with a well built website and proper social media managing. That’s how I will catch up, and add a bit to my “identity”, rather than entirely recreate it.
How has nightlife in Egypt evolved in the last five years and why?
We’ve seen a lot of ephemeral venues. Startups create a brand without thinking ahead, so they disappear into oblivion before even gaining any exposure. The problem is that they do not know how to pick their crowd. Every location will draw a specific crowd, and that’s something startups rarely keep in mind.
What is Egypt’s nightlife missing today?
We’re missing live entertainment! There are perhaps bands that play for a few hours, or a belly dancer but that’s as far as it goes. We have no international performances and acts put together under one roof, and that’s something we really need to work on in the nightlife scene.
What’s new this summer?
We’re throwing a very exclusive concert for Aly & Fila this October in Luxor at the Karnak temple; many of the people are coming from abroad just to see them! I’d also like to announce that we’re finally introducing a new brand, but I cannot tell you what it’s called yet. However, I will have you know that we’re going to employ Hollywood stars to host events planned by this new brand.
A successful part is/includes…
Venue, timing and crowd.
What are three things that must be in your bag at all times?
My phone and music; don’t care about a third!
If stranded on an island, what are three items that you must have with you?
If people, then my family and friends! And I also want enough food to survive.
What are three products that you love the most?
I-tech gadgets, high-end watches, and my Grand Cherokee!
Anything you would like to share with our readers?
I’d just want to advise your readers to have a bit of a more optimistic look on life. People are constantly mocking Egypt and how the currency’s value is declining, but instead of doing that, we can try being productive and try to change things for the better.
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