Meet the Chief- ASK Magazine sits with one of the main organizers of “The Furniture Show” Mr. Ihab Derias
What’s the goal of The Furniture Show and how is it unique to the previous fairs that the EFEC organized?
It’s more of a tradeshow than a design show which seeks to showcase Egyptian furniture to local buyers and potential international buyers as well. The idea behind the Design Hub, a small venue for young entrepreneurial designers with small businesses, was that so that there will be two things exhibited alongside another instead of just one, so it would suite both commercial as well as aesthetic purposes. The idea behind “The Furniture Show” is to use City Stars, as Egypt’s most attractive commercial venue, to serve both Egyptian furniture exporters as well as local producers so that we can promote Egyptian products in the market, rather than leaving the
common furniture shopper in Egypt to buy imported furniture. Egypt currently faces the problem of imported products from abroad flooding retail outlets, cutting local Egyptian producers
off from scoring profits in the local market. If you go to any supermarket here in Egypt, you’ll find that many of the products from Turkey and many products anywhere else in Egypt are from China. Hence, “The Furniture Show” serves to promote Egyptian furniture products to an Egyptian market. In addition, I would to thank City Stars for offering us the whole floor for free as this is a great favor they did to promote the Egyptian furniture sector to the local market.
What’s the story behind “The Furniture Show” and why
has this fair taken place rather than Furnex?
It began when we were forced to call off Furnex last October. We always used to have Furnex and we had to conduct an extensive global marketing campaign and there used to be a lot of international participation in the fair. The last time we did Furnex was November 2012 and after that we were not able to organize it. There was an opportunity that we could do it last February but due to much ambiguity about Egypt’s political and economic plans, in addition to issues with the government we had to cancel it. Furnex is part of government-led initiative which aims to fund local fairs to promote Egyptian exports. The Egyptian state provides financial support to organize fairs, and we can only organize Furnex with the funds from the state. Every year they decide which fairs will be provided with funding and we were cornered to the end of October to receive their decision. Eventually we were forced to call off Furnex because we were not given a clear government confirmation as to whether Furnex will be approved for funding or not.
What did you do to convince local exhibitors to participate in “The Furniture Show”?
To convince local exhibitors to participate in the fair, we told them that our estimates indicate that if we use the momentum of City Stars, being the Egypt’s main commercial center, to promote their furniture products so that the return will be just as if they had exported. We also invited all companies in the Egyptian furniture market, both exporters and local producers, to exhibit their products, aiming that around 60% of the furniture displayed would be modern/contemporary. We also started an extensive marketing campaign inside Egypt to attract shoppers at City Stars to come and buy.
From an exhibitor’s point of view, they would spend 30% less exhibiting at “The Furniture Show” then at a 4-day fair in Egypt and they would have the venue for over a month. So in terms of time and money, this is a significant advantage.