Monday April 22nd, 2024
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KikaXCult: The Marriage of Two Matriarchies Brings Fashion to F&B

Local coffee-and-bagel business Cult and fashion label Kika announce an unprecedented partnership that promises to be a match made in retail and refreshment heaven.

Layan Adham Ismail

KikaXCult: The Marriage of Two Matriarchies Brings Fashion to F&B

In a vast ocean of male-dominated ventures, an increasingly large army of female-run initiatives manages to backstroke, sidestroke and butterfly its way to the top of the food and fashion chains. In the F&B world, local coffee-and-bagel business Cult, with an arsenal of gastronomical inventions at its disposal, is making a splash. Not too far away, in the fashion universe, Malak Hady’s affordable creations aim to transform a throng of women into modishly-attired debutantes, a quest, which has helped her brand, Kika, garner attention over the past year.

Yet, it’s not enough for these two matriarchs to break into their respective fields. To the delight of epicureans and fashionmongers alike, these two rapidly expanding forces have decided to band together, fuse their brands and commemorate this partnership with a fitting betrothment ceremony: a lavish launch party. 

With the container-chic The Drive by The Waterway in New Cairo acting as the venue for their nuptials, the two matriarchies tied the business knot, colliding in a pink-infused ceremony, attended by industry juggernauts, à-la-mode socialites and your average fashion-zealous and food-enthusiastic neighbourhood guys and gals. 

Both developing enterprises in their own industries, Cult and Kika have more than just their success in common - they share a deep-rooted underlying ambition to embolden their female companions. 

“As soon as the idea behind Cult came to me, I immediately started seeking out the most bold and forward-thinking women around,” Habiba Hany, founder and owner of Cult, tells CairoScene. “Most of us, from the content creators, to the graphic designers, the baristas, the marketeers, never had any real experience because we were such a small business that was just starting out. So, we had to really fight to make it big in an industry with so many existing crowd favourites.”

Blessed with an entrepreneurial mind from a young age, Hany’s culinary escapades started with her displaying her baked goods at local cafés, a move that garnered her a loyal clientele that followed her to her first pop-up shop inside Core gym. Bagel by bagel, she branched out, unveiling pop-up shops in New Giza, then Playa. 

Having dabbled in various diverse fields such as journalism, law, and sales, Hany adopts a well-rounded approach to running her empire, rendering Cult, an establishment frequented by those looking for an ambrosial cup of matcha, a welcome new staple in the world of refreshments and breakfast cuisine. 

“Once we’d successfully established ourselves in the F&B world, we were on the look-out for a unique collaboration that could give us an edge, and that also aligned with our goal of empowering women and helping them break into the market,” Hany recalls. “So, when I met Malak, who had successfully launched a fashion label, Kika, that employed and trained women, there was an instant spark.”

Engaged in the pursuit of curated accessible fashion, Kika takes on the challenge of catering to all dress senses, occasions, and bank account balances. 

“The idea behind Kika is to provide women with curated items of the highest level of quality and at the lowest price possible,” Malak Hady, the founder and owner of Kika shares with CairoScene. “We’re always trying to offer customers a large selection of on-trend pieces, while also making sure that Kika stays affordable, so that anyone can own our creations. I’ve always said that the most important thing for me is that when you enter my store, you always come out with something.” 

In the current retail world of increasingly daunting price tags, Kika is celebrated for its goal of helping fill a glaring gap in the market and a void in our dwindling closets. 

Having spent the majority of her life in Canada, Hady’s social network in Egypt hadn’t been established or cultivated by the time she returned to her homeland. With a suddenly vacant social calendar, Hady embarked on a quest to make use of her free time, which led to her launching a swimwear brand - Kika’s humble beginning. Several trials and tribulations later, she set off to make a name for herself in the realm of event planning. And finally, as fashion took its rightful place at the forefront of her priorities, Hady decided to open a workshop in Mokattam. 

“In the beginning, it was just me. I was doing it all alone, the producing, marketing, meta-buying, making sure we had a price advantage. Once I realised this wasn’t a one-woman show, I started looking into hiring a team,” Hady says. “At first, only men were interested in working with me, and it went on like that for months. Until suddenly, these girls, 15-, 18-, 20-years old, started knocking on my door, telling me they didn’t want money, they just wanted to learn. I began teaching them and eventually hired them all. Together, we turned Kika into the brand it is today.”

Nowadays, Kika has morphed into an all-encompassing fashion label by making a name for itself in the industry of online shopping. However, despite Kika’s gains, Hady’s appetite for adventure is far from satiated. 

“When our online presence finally took off, I barely took time to celebrate, I immediately started planning the next steps,” Hady says. “I decided that for Kika to really reach its full potential, we needed to have a physical presence. So, I wanted to open a store but I also wanted to make sure it was unconventional. That’s when Habiba and I collided out of nowhere.”

A match made in retail and refreshment heaven, Cult and Kika both share a fondness for perfection and pink, a commonality that translated beautifully into the sleek and rose-coloured design of both spaces. With Cult occupying the bottom floor, and Kika welcoming guests right above it, the stores’ pops of pearl-white, smooth metallic surfaces and modern finishes make this two-storey container stand out from its surroundings. 

On par with the female-led story of KikaXCult, Hady’s mother, Rasha Omari, a certified interior designer and matriarch in her own right, aided upscale design studio yam² with the execution of the design of Kika’s upper-level store. For her, it was of vital importance that she “help out in any way” and now, after the unveiling of the final product, she “can’t believe how beautifully it turned out.” 

“Ahmed Mady, Yasmine Abbassi and Nada Mansour did an incredible job,” Omari gushes to CairoScene. 

On top of the vibrant design, diverse guests, and glamorous garments, the launch party also featured fresh-out-of-the-oven buttery treats, morning yoga classes at the Cult Studio, a third industry waiting for this pairing to take it by storm, and DJ-spun tunes. 

Oh, and just as the devil wore Prada, so were the Cult members clad in Kika. 

If the KikaXCult launch party is anything to go by, it seems like this pairing is off to a powerful, palatable and, of course, pink start.

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