Interview with Hanan Ibrahim
Hanan Ibrahim never intended to become a champion for the time-honored craft of Egyptian jewelrymaking. But with Hendamy, that’s exactly what she’s done: create an opportunity for Egyptian artisans to become known to a global audience.
Her journey from fashionista to businessperson is fascinating, and we were delighted to be able to speak with her about her adventure for Fashion Week Online. You can find out more, and shop Egyptian designers, at Hendamy.com.
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Q: How did Hendamy begin? What is its genesis? Who founded it, when, and why?
Ever since I was young, I had a passion for handmade jewelry and it just stayed with me. I love collecting unique jewelry pieces whenever I can. Ever since I moved to the US I haven’t been able to fulfill this passion; I couldn’t find handmade jewelry pieces that I could connect to and when I found something nice, it was unrealistically overpriced.
when I found something nice, it was unrealistically overpriced
On a visit to Egypt I got acquainted with several Egyptian jewelry designers and I immediately fell in love with their designs. These designers have been very successful building a reputation for themselves locally in Egypt and to me they were ready for the global challenge but needed support.
And this is when the idea behind Hendamy was born, which is creating a bridge for Egyptian jewelry designers to make their fabulous designs attainable in the US for women like me. Women who are looking for unique artisan jewelry that they can connect to without having to spend a fortune.
My name is Hanan Ibrahim, an immigrant originally from Egypt, a wifey and a mom of two amazing angles. I am a Computer Science bachelor and I’m a fashion and jewelry fanatic. With all my passion for jewelry, my computer science background as well as my beloved husband’s support, Hendamy became a reality. I believe that technology should connect us with our passion and Hendamy just did that to me and to all my customers.
I’ve been thinking about the idea since 2016. It took me about a year to perform the market research, and communicating our idea with the designers to get their support. They all loved it at once and they were very cooperative. I started my online store with only one designer brand whom I’m very grateful for her support and in several months I now carry collections from 4 jewelry designers.
It took me about a year to perform the market research
Q: What makes Egyptian jewelry unique?
Well, the history of handmade jewelry is traced back thousands of years ago and according to history, jewelry crafting started at the heart of the earliest known civilizations on earth and, in particular in Ancient Egypt, so jewelry crafting runs deep down the Egyptian DNA.
jewelry crafting runs deep down the Egyptian DNA
Throughout history and until our modern age, Egypt has been renowned for its opulent culture and profound history that has greatly influenced and inspired designers and artists not only from Egypt but also from around the globe. This amazing influence appears greatly in the Egyptian designers’ aesthetic as they marvelously incorporate the Egyptian culture, history and heritage into their contemporary, modern conceptual designs.
All of that is backed up with the astounding and prodigious talent of the Egyptian craftspeople and artisans to finally create state of the art exquisite jewelry pieces; all handmade at reasonable prices to indulge a wide range of our passionate customers.
all handmade at reasonable prices
Q: Why did you choose the name Hendamy and what does it mean?
Hendamy is Arabic for (tidy or well-groomed) … all precisely describing people who like to make a statement about what they wear — whether it is their cologne, shoes, outfit or jewelry. I think the name is very interesting and it becomes even more interesting when you know its meaning. It perfectly aligns with the concept of the store.
Q: How do you find your talented designers?
We are always scouting for new talents by extensively researching fashion events and gatherings. Good designs speak for themselves and don’t actually need effort to be found and recognized. We also get requests from new designers to join aboard Hendamy. So it’s basically a two-way process that we are excited about.
Good designs speak for themselves
Q: Your items are all ethically sourced. What does this mean to you, and why is it so important?
Ethical sourcing is a core value at Hendamy.
To handcraft a unique jewelry piece that truly reflects your inner soul, it is indispensable that it is sourced ethically. The materials have to be unadulterated and environmentally responsible. In addition to that, the jewelry piece has to be created by the hands of a passionate craftspeople, who are artists themselves. Every artisan has to have a connection and passion for the jewelry he/she is creating. It is basically adding life to sketched designs on paper.
Ethical sourcing is a core value at Hendamy
Without respecting the worker’s talent that jewelry piece won’t have life and won’t be unique. At the end of the day, the designer along with the craftspeople are creating a piece of art, and art makes the world a better place. It should never warp the universe or people.
Q: What makes jewelry purchased from your artisans unique?
The designers at Hendamy are renowned for their ingenuity. They design jewelry pieces that are contemporary, perfectly incorporating absolute functionality, uniqueness, modernity and spirituality ,in a fashionably yet timeless aesthetic concept.
All designers at Hendamy produce their jewelry pieces in limited numbers, all handmade; no jewelry piece is identical to another. It is almost like a fingerprint. There’s no mass production involved, thus adding to their value and uniqueness. The fusion of quality materials such as 925 sterling silver, precious stones, genuine leather, and other materials creates unique designs.
each piece is like a fingerprint
Q: How does Hendamy create opportunities for craftspeople and artisans? And how do you support this vanishing group of artists?
Through promoting the designer’s labels in the global fashion market, Hendamy aspires to aid with creating job opportunities for craftspeople and artisans who work really hard to build better future for their families and themselves. The designers also contribute to the community by holding workshops across the country to educate more people and provide them with hands on experience on jewelry crafting. This also aids to conserve this ancient profession that is slowly diminishing.
Hendamy aspires to create job opportunities