When stepping into a gym or a sporting club, the domination of international brands is quite obvious even to those who cannot differentiate labels and names.
Over the past two years, the world’s finest sportswear brands have opened multiple stores and outlets around Egypt. Few brands have taken that one step further and invested in the local market through tailored campaigns.
BelBalady, which means in slang, is a local brand that is set to change one of oldest fashion-related stereotypes. With the expansion of local couture labels and international ready-to-wear brands, the local fashion scene has been divided into two solid sides; one that constantly shows great support to international names and another that demonstrates an intensive interest in local designers’ fancy creations.
The new brand aims to venture into the other side of the fashion scene through providing a local equivalent to international labels.
Daily News Egypt met with one of the co-founders, Omar Khaled, to find out more about the progressive brand as well as plans to change local stereotypes and positively affect the economy.
Why did you choose to establish a sportswear label?
Our label is not only about sportswear. It just happens that our first product is sports related. With the huge hype in the fitness market, we decided to use this to our advantage and create a stylish item that people can wear during their workouts.
However, we are looking to add more products in the near future that are not necessarily related to sports. It is a fashion brand with a vision (with the right design, quality, and price we can compete) and a concept (we can create a fashion trend that has a local flavour).
What is the main concept behind your label?
The main concept behind our label is to create an Egyptian product that is trendy and communicates our local identity through its design, hence the Arabic calligraphy and slang words.
Egyptians usually like to wear products that are manufactured abroad and that have all sorts of English prints. We like to mimic certain designs common in western fashion.
We believe that we can manufacture our own products in Egypt with the same quality, if not better, and even make it trendy with the use of our own language and words.
We are also aiming to expand our sales to include GCC countries as well as other Arab cities, which will help us bring in foreign currency.
We know that we are currently small but we will hopefully grow and become a lot bigger. With a few more brands and ideas like ours, we can effectively help our economy.
What are your main materials?
The material we used for the leggings is technically called Nylon air-covered with Lycra. We now name it Skin-Feel, which is our own version of Nike’s Dri-Fit and Adidas’s Clima-Cool. It is locally manufactured as well as the leggings themselves.
We plan to locally manufacture all of our products. We want to prove that we can manufacture our products locally but still maintain high quality.
With that said, manufacturing the first collection was a challenge. We had to switch from one factory to the other in order to reach the quality and the price range we were looking for.
We still need to find different factories for our future products, which will still be a challenge.
What items do you offer and how can customers buy them?
At the moment we only offer leggings [sports pants] but we are looking to add two more items before the end of summer.
Furthermore, one of our key characteristics is our extraordinary packaging. We do not just want to sell our products in a plastic bag that will be thrown away, even though this could be cheaper for us. Instead, our packaging is a stylish waterproof bag that comes in four colours.
This waterproof bag is designed for the leggings solely to keep them sealed after the workouts. It combines both style and function.
We use our own personal facilities [houses] to stock up at the moment. As we grow larger, we will definitely get our own warehouse. People can only purchase our products online.
How do you plan to compete with international brands?
We are targeting a specific niche audience. We believe that by offering the desired quality and the adequate price along with our creative designs, we will be able to compete.
We are selling an idea that international brands cannot sell. We know our people better.
How would you define your target audience?
Our target audience is comprised of people between the ages of 15 to 50. We are currently focusing on the A and A- segments.