The Inspiration Behind Okhtein’s Success

Date: 2017-10-01

The Inspiration Behind Okhtein’s Success

In 2014, AUC graduates Aya and Mounaz Abdelraouf launched their fashion accessories brand Okhtein. It literally means “sisters” in Arabic. Unlike other brands, Okhtein stands apart as a luxury brand committed to supporting the cultural value of Egyptian craftsmanship through promoting innovative designs on an international scale while also collaborating with local NGOs that provide assistance to skilled female workers who face financial hardship. The sisters create “timeless pieces” inspired by the style of their grandmother who owned a boutique in Kuwait. Years ago, she used to travel the world with their Syrian grandfather buying rare fabrics and used to dress the Kuwaiti royal family. As Okhtein has quickly become a hit on social media in Egypt, the young sisters now aspire to dress the world, particularly the US and Asia, with their growing line of products.




HE Questions Okhtein:


Your name, age, and educational background:

Aya, 25, Communication and Media Arts, Digital Arts and Design

Mounaz, 26, Integrated Marketing Communications and Art


When and how did you come up with your design’s business concept? How did your education and your family help?

In 2013, we wanted to start a fashion accessory label together. It took about a year of research to finally launch it in 2014. We were inspired by many successful emerging designers in Europe and the US who started at a young age and made it globally. Our background in marketing, communication, and design helped our brand substantially. It gave Okhtein a strong presence on social media and from there it grew.  


What was your inspiration, and who was your role model?

We are very inspired by our grandma. She used to own a boutique in Kuwait. She would travel around the world with my Syrian grandfather, who would buy the rarest and most unique fabrics. They used to dress the Kuwaiti royal family. We like to create timeless pieces inspired by her style.


What are you each responsible for? Do you both do the same job and share the same business responsibilities?

We share all work equally. This includes the design, production, public relations, and more.



What fueled the growth of your business idea to get to where it is today? Who funded your business, and who helped you to make it come to fruition? Who is your team?

We believe that being true to ourselves as designers has helped fuel the growth of our business. We offer unique designs to the market that left people feeling intrigued. Okhtein is what it is today because of our strong brand identity that was blatant from the start. Family members funded the business but with a very limited capital.


What are your marketing strategies and challenges? 

Our online content is very important because Instagram is our means of communicating with our clients globally. Each image uploaded on our account has to connect with our clients. They need to feel like Okhtein is personal and approachable, and this automatically converts into sales.


What are your hopes and dreams for your business and and for yourselves in the short and long term? 

We are looking to expand and improve our business and to penetrate new markets like the US and Asia. Hopefully, we want to add more products to our range, including shoes, belts, and wallets.