LONDON — Maison Pyramide, a Cairo-based sales showroom, has set up shop in Harvey Nichols’ London flagship in Knightsbridge.
The company, which now also operates as a content creation and talent agency and a traveling retail concept, is looking to introduce some of the emerging labels it works with to the London market — where Middle Eastern brands have already been enjoying traction.
The showroom primarily works with brands based in the Middle East, as well as a host of international emerging names like Magnetic Midnight and Robert Wun.
“The U.K. with an emphasis on London, counts as our second-biggest market after the MENA region, across all channels, from our social media following to our wholesale business. There are also similar traits in consumer behavior and retail experience between the two regions. Middle Eastern clients are being taken into consideration by the local retailers within the seasonal buying and as a market itself, the U.K. is more receptive to new brands,” said Giovanina Atieh, who operates Maison Pyramide alongside Nathalie Mroue and Maria S. Munoz.
The pop-up, which will operate until July 14 on the department store’s fourth floor, will feature brands such as the Cairo-based handbag company Okhtein, which is known for the brass work on its bags; straw accessories label Yosuzi, and ready-to-wear firms Nafsika Skourti and Nadya Dzyak.
The idea was to offer “fresh summer finds” and an edit that was aligned with the contemporary price points of Harvey Nichols’ fourth-floor brand mix, which ranges between 60 pounds and 800 pounds.
For Maison Pyramide, offering its brand partners commercial opportunities outside the traditional wholesale environment is key to ensure growth in an oversaturated market.
“While [our brands] do have the advantage of offering high-end products at competitive price points, they also are faced with the challenge of visibility and recognition. That’s why our showroom model offers an untraditional approach to brand development. We remain sales-driven, but marketing and p.r. play a fundamental role,” Mroue said. “Those who choose the wholesale path need to ensure brand visibility within each market in order to maintain retail clients. Our platform is built to offer as much exposure as possible on a B2B and B2C level as we believe they go hand in hand. Our pop-ups are designed to penetrate or reiterate brand presence in new markets amongst targeted high-spending consumers.”
The company has so far been hosting a series of pop-ups across the Middle East, which highlighted high net-worth customers’ growing appetite for more niche, up-and-coming brands. The London pop-up will be its first European retail venture, while the U.S. is the next goal.
Such initiatives are even more necessary for Middle Eastern labels, added Atieh, given the lack of a dedicated fashion week to champion local talent, unlike other emerging markets like Seoul or Tbilisi.
“The growing trend and demand for sustainable and ethical fashion in Europe and the U.S. has also helped spark interest in Middle Eastern talents who still choose to work and support local artisans within their hometown. Okhtein and L’atelier Nawbar are two examples of brands that work with local female artisans. L’atelier Nawbar just launched a space in Harrods’ new jewelry section, making them amongst the first Middle Eastern jewelry brands to sell at Harrods,” she added.
The company has also partnered with Elisa Sednaoui’s charity project Funtasia and plans to donate part of the sales from the pop-up to fund its educational projects in Egypt.
In turn, Sednaoui will cohost a party to promote the Harvey Nicholas pop-up on June 5.
“People are now looking to wear brands that aren’t as mainstream, they are looking for items that are special and tell a story. It’s fantastic that Maison Pyramide does not only enable Middle Eastern brands to expand internationally, but also brings together brands from all over the world,” Sednaoui said.