CEO and designer Amany Shaker has had a non-traditional path that has finally culminated into a passion to create timeless pieces of jewelry. Inspired by her Egyptian heritage and influenced by a background in psychology/conflict resolution and an extensive global experience as a humanitarian counselor, she has found jewelry designing to be a powerful channel through which the designs can be a tool to empower women to celebrate their own personal stories as well as connect with those of others.
WHAT WOULD MAKE YOUR SOUL SING? WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
Traveling, experiencing new cultures and people. It’s the journey of discovery that makes me look forward to the “unknown”.
A CHILDHOOD STORY THAT ANNOUNCED THE CREATIVE PERSON YOU ARE TODAY
My dad had several fashion stores in Egypt. Traveling with him to Europe and witnessing him go through different buying meetings and visiting showrooms and factories in London and Rome had definitely left a mark on me. I believe these experiences have helped me develop an eye for beauty, style, a sense of color coordination, appreciation for creativity and the process involved.
BEST CONTEXT EVER FOR INSPIRATION WAS
Nature and people’s stories.
THE PROJECT YOU LOVED MOST
Connecting my designs with a non-profit. I have collaborated with Funtasia, an educational NGO in Egypt that focuses on using art to teach underprivileged kids about life skills. I commissioned the kids to draw some of the jewelry designs, from Sa’maa + Sky Collection, in order to have them printed as Christmas and Thank you cards. The kids’ artistic interpretations were beautiful! We’re in the process of having this artwork made into cushions and using the profit to help support some of Funtasia programs. The weavers of the cushions are part of another non-profit in Egypt that helps young women generate income through their skills.
THE PROJECT OTHERS LOVED MOST
I’m very lucky and blessed to always get great feedback for my work.
THE BEST THING ABOUT EGYPTIAN CREATIVITY IS
Egypt has a long history of creativity. The richness of our heritage and culture provides an amazing tapestry of designs and colors to inspire creatives. We grew up around one of the oldest world civilizations which allows us this deep exposure to the many layers of accumulative creative work done for thousands of years.
BEST STATEMENT OF EGYPTIAN HUMOR
Egyptians have the best sense of humor! I think it is our way of coping with life’s challenges.
ADVICE FOR INTERNATIONAL HEADHUNTERS, RELATED TO EGYPTIAN CREATIVES
To be open to appreciating something different. To look outside the box.
BEST PLACE IN CAIRO
Khan El Khalili. The traditional bazaar in one of the oldest parts in Cairo.
BEST PLACE IN EGYPT
Luxor and Aswan. These cities have all the original temples and sites of the ancient Kingdom. It’s fascinating to be there by the Nile River bank and experience the energy of the place and the magnificent heritage the ancient Egyptians left us.
MOST DISTURBING CLICHÉ ABOUT EGYPT, IN THE MEDIA OUTLETS OF THE WORLD
Unfortunately, so much of the ideas people form about Egypt or the MENA region are shaped by the media. People assume that all women are covered, oppressed, and don’t have much of a contributing role in the progress of the country, which is far from the truth! The media only portrays “bad news” , but no other coverage in between. Success stories are never shared or displayed on any of the international media outlets.
EGYPT SHOULD BE KNOWN FOR
Its fascinating beaches and gorgeous serene areas for meditation and relaxation.
YOUR VIEWS ON SPIRITUALITY
So much for my personal journey is related to my spirituality and faith. I don’t believe in institutional religion, but in a love relationship with God. I have experienced a loving and gracious hand caring me throughout life. To me, God and faith are not about co-dependency but empowerment. I try to also transmit that into my designs.
YOUR VIEWS ON MONEY
Money is essential for living and it’s there to serve you not the other way around. I think we can master money when we learn how to live and be content when we have plenty or little… Easier said, but I try!
AN INSPIRATION SOURCE YOU RECOMMEND FOR A YOUNG CREATIVE
I recommend reading different memoirs of pioneers in whatever creative field you’re in. It’s inspiring to learn how others have done it before us and how we can learn from their process. I find that inspiring! It’s about real people, not social facades that are there to lure their audience into believing in the “perfect” image they are constantly trying to project. That’s what social media mostly does!
AN EGYPT BASED FEMALE TALENT THAT DESERVES TO BE PROMOTED AT INTERNATIONAL LEVEL, AS EXPONENT OF LOCAL CREATIVE SPIRIT
Azza Fahmy. The first female jewelry designer in the Arab world. Thankfully she has been given great recognition. She’s a pioneer in paving the road for women to follow. There are many young talents rising lately. I hope they get the exposure and support they deserve.