I am Hannah, Nevin's niece.
I'm currently studying Journalism at the American University in Cairo and decided to base one of my projects on the brand "Nevin Altmann" and how it started. In particular, for an audio production class.
And I recently started working with my cousin Tamara, the shop owner of "Nevin Altmann". It's fun to be part of this team :)
In this documentary I interviewed my aunt Nevin, her daughter Tamara and my father Nihad, who is Nevin's brother.
This is how it started: A few months ago I stumbled upon the story of how Nevin started creating dolls. Her daughter Tamara was explaining it to me, and a couple of clients at the shop in Zamalek. So it triggered my attention.
This documentary sheds light on a new and personal aspect of how it all started and how Nevin's passion for tradition evolved.
You can listen to it here!
Today, we went to the German School Christmas bazar in Dokki, Cairo.
We had a lot of fun and want to share some of our moments with you:
This was our stand.
Shimaa, our shop manager was looking pretty while being in control of everything.
Eman was very shy :)
Our mannequin Folla (she has a name), was there as usual. We NEVER leave her behind!
Hannah was busy, too. (Yes, Folla changes outfits several times during our events)
During the day we saw a lot of our friends and family and we also got to meet lovely people.
Nevin was sitting with our friend Amira...
... and then she hung out with me :)
Nihad (Nevin's brother) was promoting our weekend bag.
This is an inspiring young woman :) She read our blog and came looking for us at the event today.
Madonna, I am flattered by what you said about Nevin Altmann and am very happy that I got to know you.
(P.S.: You have wonderful friends and I hope you like the gift they bought you) :-)
And this is how we wrap our gifts this season! :)
If you missed being part of this event, don't worry. We have another one coming up on the 13th of December at the Fishgarden in Zamalek, Cairo.
Thank you for being part of this!
I would like to share with you how Nevin Altmann went from being a single mother to the brand she has created today.
I’m going to introduce myself first, I am Tamara Altmann, Nevin’s daughter, and apart from her being an incredibly creative and inspiring person, it all really started with me :)
At about the age of three, she would take me to a friend's house for sleepovers and after the first night when she came to pick me up, I told her that I had missed “Nevin”. So before organizing another sleepover, she sat down and created her first ever doll called “Nevin” that looked just like her at the time: Ponytail, red lipstick and cute earrings.
When it was time to go again, she gave me the doll and told me: “There you go, this is Nevin, now you have me with you. Enjoy your time with your friends!" I had a fun day and night with my new doll, but when the time came to be with my mother again, I had another issue: “Nevin was a bit lonely!” I said. “She needs a friend!” So my wonderful mother created her second doll whom I named “Semsem” (Translation: Sesame). And from there, little Nevin started having more and more friends, until -25 years later- we had a huge group of dolls!
"Nevin" the first doll!
Not only is my mother incredibly creative, but she is also adventurous. So, when I was still very young, she drove us to Siwa (Oasis in the western desert of Egypt) in her Toyota pick up truck and we would stay there for months at a time. Some of my first friends were Siwi children and we spent a lot of time in the fields and running around, while Nevin got to know their lovely mothers.
The Siwi women showed her the hand embroidery their mothers used to make and told her that they were embroidering less and less. It was getting easier to buy ready made and decorated products from Marsa Matrouh (the closest city to Siwa). Nevin encouraged them to keep making the embroidery with the promise, that she would then buy their work. She asked the mothers and grandmothers to teach the younger generation how to keep their culture alive.
She bought many pieces of embroidered fabric from the women, and transformed them into desirable and unique products for the women of Cairo. She made cushions, bags and some of the embroidery was used to dress little Siwi dolls in traditional attire from Siwa.
Picture of my mother and I. Making tea in the desert on our way to Siwa.
This wonderful mother of mine didn’t just stop after she explored Siwa, but she travelled to upper Egypt, other Oasis along the way, north of Egypt and Sinai. She met women there who have their own traditional embroidery and got to know Bedouins and locals.
Today, I am a co-owner of Nevin Altmann (the company) and I feel very privileged to be part of this creative journey.
We work with about 300 women who do their crafts from the comfort of their home and at their own pace. We get to travel a lot around Egypt and thanks to the incredible people we work with, we feel at home everywhere.
Our products have become a blend of modern fashion and tradition. We hope you like it!