Ibrahim Shams started out as a Materials Engineering graduate, but he decided to make a career shift into the corporate world of sales to follow his passion for business. After moving up the career ladder, he stepped into the social entrepreneurship scene and started a company that directly impacts people’s lives. After the birth of his first daughter, Ibrahim and his wife, Noha El Taher, noticed that they were unable to find a handmade and authentic decorative item for her room that reflected their cultural heritage.
This is how Kiliim started, an Egyptian social enterprise and a lifestyle brand that aims to revive and sustain the local craft of handmade kilim making in Egypt, by introducing modern designs to a time-honored technique.
They manufacture their kilims in Fowwa, a small village situated along the lush Nile Delta, with craftsmen that come from a long line of kilim artisans who consider the craft as part of their soul and heritage.
WHAT WOULD MAKE YOUR SOUL SING? WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
Being surrounded by family, friends, and seeing my daughters happy. Traveling & exploring new places & cultures. Seeing our company grow & impact lives.
A CHILDHOOD STORY THAT ANNOUNCED THE CREATIVE PERSON YOU ARE TODAY
Actually I was never a creative person nor had an interest in crafts until I started joining student activities in the university. I then got to know my wife, who sparked that interest me and inspired me to pay more attention to design, crafts, and culture, which later resulted in us starting our business together.
BEST CONTEXT EVER FOR INSPIRATION WAS
I always looked up to athletes and their achievements, but after attending RiseUp summit 2015 and seeing the entrepreneurship movement in Egypt gain momentum, it pushed me to try and start my own venture.
THE PROJECT YOU LOVED MOST
Doodle Factory: A company that changes children’s drawings/doodles to patterns. They then create products out of these patterns and its sales help fund social causes like operations for diseased children or building schools.
THE BEST THING ABOUT EGYPTIAN CREATIVITY IS
It has no limits and never seizes to surprise you. You would find donkeys driving motorbikes and humans sitting behind them!
BEST STATEMENT OF EGYPTIAN HUMOR
“We are Egyptians, we understand everything”.
ADVICE FOR INTERNATIONAL HEADHUNTERS, RELATED TO EGYPTIAN CREATIVES
I believe that some of our decent university programs coupled with our culture, spirit, and history produce amazing talents.
BEST PLACE IN CAIRO
Old Cairo & Moez Street.
BEST PLACE IN EGYPT
Aswan: A perfect mix of relaxation, culture, tranquility, and pharaonic history.
MOST DISTURBING CLICHÉ ABOUT EGYPT, IN THE MEDIA OUTLETS OF THE WORLD IS
That Egypt is just Cairo. Egypt is heavenly outside Cairo.
EGYPT SHOULD BE KNOWN FOR
Its amazing tourism – Beaches, Pharaonic & Islamic history, Modern History – and its welcoming and warm citizens, especially outside Cairo.
YOUR VIEWS ON SPIRITUALITY
I’m a believer in God and the blessings he gives us every day that we sometimes take for granted. Just by looking around and thinking you can see how blessed we are and merciful God is to us so that should be paid back in thankfulness and belief.
YOUR VIEWS ON MONEY
We should persevere to earn it, but it shouldn’t be the ultimate goal. Here in Egypt, we say “Money comes and Goes”.
AN INSPIRATION SOURCE YOU RECOMMEND FOR A YOUNG CREATIVE
I’ve always been inspired by Muhammad Ali, the professional boxer. He’s the most self-confident person backing it by working extremely hard, he used his mind to think, observe, and decide how he worshiped God and treated society so to me he’s a true inspiration.
AN EGYPT BASED FEMALE TALENT THAT DESERVES TO BE PROMOTED AT INTERNATIONAL LEVEL, AS EXPONENT OF LOCAL CREATIVE SPIRIT
I’m a bit biased here, but I would choose my wife and work partner Noha El Taher & my Senior designer Nada Atalla. I believe they’re both two of the best designers in Egypt and aren’t recognized enough for their amazing work and creativity.
Kiliim has a variety of products, including multi-colored wool pieces. Their collection include all kinds of patterns, inspired by traditional motifs of oriental and geometric design, even with floral elements, for a vacation feeling. You can browse through all these beauties and purchase them, by clicking right here.