Faces of Ellie
What Is Ellie Without Its People?
It’s been a record-setting year and a half for Ellie despite all odds!
We’ve been nothing but fortunate to have experienced some of our highest highs during this time. We’ve achieved a lot of important milestones and reached sales numbers as we’ve never seen before. And as a result, we’ve been repeatedly asked by others in the industry: “How did you do it?”
The answer is simple. We did it TOGETHER.
We’re Better Together!
The difference between success and failure is a great team. And therefore, it’s said that “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” A team made up of all the best players working together toward one common goal is unstoppable.
It’s taken time to find this perfect combination for us, but the team we have assembled at this point continues to produce incredible results regardless of the challenges put in front of them. Every member of Ellie’s team is singularly focused on our brand’s mission to give the best product and service to our clients.
As simple as this mission may be, keeping it at the core of our efforts has resulted in the best year for us. Looking back on what has led us to this point in what is a relatively short amount of time, we’re reminded of what a team effort it’s truly been.
We’re Different & We Love It!
Ellie champions diversity and fosters a culture of inclusivity. Our team members always manage to come together—while celebrating all of the things that make us different. Our focus on diversity is deeply embedded in the company’s culture. There’s a lot to be said for getting to know people from all different backgrounds and walks of life – and we at Ellie see the value in that. “The diversity and backgrounds of the people here lend themselves to ensuring you have a full experience at work, and that naturally reflects on your experience as a client when you visit or buy from Ellie,” says Nahla, Founder & CEO.
The Faces of Ellie
And having said all that, we’d like to invite you on a little journey to meet the Faces of Ellie! Get to know us a little better, and get to know the people behind Ellie from their founders, their artisans, their managers, and executives. Every employee plays a critical role, from who puts pen to paper to design your mug, to who throws clay on the wheel to handcraft it, then who wraps and delivers it.
Read along and know more about who we are, what we love, and what Ellie means to us…
Founder and CEO
Who inspires you the most and why?
I get inspired daily by a lot of things, but what mainly inspires me are consistent people who have goals and work hard to achieve them. One thing I’ve learned is that reaching the top of the mountain is not an easy journey. It’s a journey full of challenges, failures, and hardships, but it’s a rewarding journey, if you’re consistent and keep trying without giving up, you will eventually reach the top of the mountain! No matter how long it’ll take or how hard you’ll try, there will come a point where you’ll make it and watch as your dream come true. People who reach their mountain top or who are trying to just light up my curiosity and make me want to know their story. And believe me, their stories are never boring. I’ve got to say that my number 1 inspiration is my father. Started from scratch and built himself up without the help of anyone. And after reaching and achieving everything he hoped for, seeing him still work this hard and with so much passion and love makes me aspire to be like him one day and inspires me to work harder every day.
What pushes you to continue your journey in Ellie despite the difficulties you face in the field?
What pushes me the most is the amount of potential I see in Egypt. This is one of the major reasons why we as Ellie started 8 years ago. I believe that Egypt has amazing potential and talents that we have to take advantage of. I always say that we’re able to change the dust into gold. The potential that Egypt holds should not go to waste as that much potential cannot be found in any other country. Especially now I’m very optimistic about Ellie’s further as a local Egyptian brand, as Egypt now is in a very strong position. For a country to move from where it was after the revolution to what we're reaching now counts as a huge success and that gives us a lot of hope every day to keep going and to grow. In Ellie’s journey, I always like to look at the small steps we are achieving because I believe that the small steps we’re taking are the key to success in Ellie. I always try not to overwhelm myself by looking at the big picture but by measuring the small steps we’re taking until we achieve our goals.
Founder and CPO
What’s your absolute favorite phase in the whole process of creating a collection or piece?
The most exciting part of the production in general for me is the shaping of each piece. I can sit in front of the wheel for hours watching our craftsmen do their magic. I work with them on finalizing the sizes and perfecting each piece. Going through the design process and visualizing any piece we do, only gets 10 times more exciting when you see it getting formed right in front of your eyes! The second most exciting part is opening the kiln after the final firing especially if we’re working on a new glaze technique. I always get butterflies in my stomach, when I turn the handle of the kiln to check the final look of new pieces or collections. Seeing the final product after going through so many experiments and a long process of trials and errors gives me goosebumps. It’s just an indescribable feeling, a mix of fear and excitement!
What's one of your favorite memories from the past year?
I know it’s crazy, but surprisingly my favorite memories of the past year were during the lockdown. When natural disasters or global pandemics happen, we are all being reminded of what little power we have, it’s also a big lesson on what matters in life. Of course, I was terrified during the first wave of the Corona Virus, however, after a while, I honestly couldn’t resist seeing the positive outcome of it. I got to spend time with my close family, I got to appreciate the many blessings I had, including health, and most importantly I got to SLOW DOWN! Something I haven’t done in years! Finally, I wasn’t expected to be anywhere, I wasn’t running around doing a million things all at once. WHAT A RELIEF! Finally, a time when every single person on Earth was taking a break... taking a break just like me!
Co-Founder of E Studio
Describe to us your idea of the most relaxing place.
The most relaxing place is where the sun is. Surrounded by daylight and nature. I love natural colors like plants, and wood and l feel comfortable once my eyes see minimalism. I once visited the Swiss Alps during winter and I’ve never been more comfortable in my life. My only view was white snow and the blue skies.
How did your studies in Florence affect your ways of thinking and problem-solving when it comes to E Studio?
Every single thing in Florence is made with a concept behind it. From paintings to sculptures to their magnificent architecture. This taught me to ask a very important question before working on any project, big or small – Why am I designing this space? Thinking of a concept way before investing time to create a design or thinking of ideas for it, changes the results completely. It not only saves a lot of time and effort, but it also automatically creates an original and unique design, a design that you’ll never find anywhere else. And most importantly, it makes me deliver a design that is on-brief, which ultimately results in a very happy and satisfied client.
Co-Founder of E Studio
If you could be an expert in anything other than interior design what would it be?
I believe that pictures are the gift of memories. I love phone photography and color editing. Especially landscape, architecture, and street photography. I feel like every place has its uniqueness and beauty, so I always choose to document and preserve the beautiful moments happening around me.
Who from the local or international interior designers are you most inspired by to follow their work?
If I chose one, it would be Ilse Crawford. Isle Crawford is a British interior and furniture designer. I love her simplicity in designs. Her designs are not only simply beautiful but also perfectly functional. She’s always keen to create a relationship with her clients to understand all their needs and to create the most comfortable and stunning interior for them. I also love her book “A Frame for Life”, which talks about simplicity in designs and the right spacing affects our quality of life and comfort.
What are you passionate about?
I believe I have multiple passion disorder, I’m passionate about a lot of things in life but mainly storytelling, cooking, sewing, and most importantly my puppies, I’m passionate about my puppies a lot they mean the world to me.
What was your first impression of Ellie and how did it change after working there?
At first, I was one very loyal customer, I loved all of Ellie’s products and was surprised that Ellie was an Egyptian brand. From day one I see that Ellie carries huge potential and has amazing room to grow and when I worked at Ellie I found out that this business truly holds great opportunities as every member of the team has a high sense of ownership seeking better and new opportunities on their own which always makes the soul’s brand alive and fresh. I’m proud to be part of this team.
Who do you aspire to be like?
I wouldn’t say I’d aspire to be someone else; I’d rather just be a better version of myself. I’m a person that usually acknowledges their mistakes and bad traits and constantly works on them to try and be a better person.
What do you love most about Ellie?
What’s not to love? I’ve been there since Ellie’s birth, literally. I attended the making of the initial logo and the name picking all through Ellie’s first official breakthrough. I’ve seen it grow to a successful brand, from having only the founders to now almost 30 members on board in different departments. What I love most about Ellie is that it makes me proud every single day!
Social Media Manager
What’s the best advice someone has ever given to you?
The best advice someone has given to me was: “After every storm comes a rainbow”. This advice had made me a more optimistic person. It gives me a sense of comfort and an uplift for bad situations or difficult days. It always makes me hopeful for tomorrow and gives me patience while waiting for the better. So I learned to accept that storms are inevitable, but we always have to keep our eyes open for the rainbows that come right after them, because they’ll spread the positivity and cheer we need to pursue our goals.
What encouraged you to join Ellie?
When I first saw Ellie’s work on social media I was surprised by the great talent and beauty this brand has and I was sure that it has many more. Ellie caught my attention from day one. Not only the products but the whole vibe and when I joined Ellie’s family I was fascinated with the love and positivity that this team holds.
What’s your favorite way to unwind after a busy day?
What I usually do after a long, busy day, especially if it was a hard one, is break my routine. If I usually go home after work, shower, eat then sleep, then I just break this routine and do something else completely. If it’s a weekday I would probably hang out with close friends, something that I know will require little effort from my side. Or my absolute favorite thing to do is spend time with my nephew, Noah. He’s sunshine and just the best cure after any stressful day!
What did you discover in yourself during your time working at Ellie?
I discovered that my social skills are better than I thought! I never thought that I would be able to work within a diversified team. From artisans to managers and everyone in between. To be able to work closely with different people, learn everyone’s terminologies and speak their language. Not only that but to grow closer to them and create friendships that I cherish is something that I was really surprised to discover in myself. I also discovered that I can work under pressure. I’d like to add that working at Ellie taught me to be a multi-tasker, which I think is a crucial skill!
If you could open your own business what would it be?
My dream is to open a restaurant. I’ve always been passionate about cooking and food styling, I believe that the eye eats before the mouth, therefore I always care to make the food look visually appealing first.
From your point of you, how would you describe Ellie?
In my point of view, I see Ellie as a brand with huge potential and it holds a great future ahead, for a small business to be able to transform the world on pottery in Egypt is truly amazing. I’m sure that Ellie will keep on developing and the team behind it are not only hard workers with a great sense of ownership of the brand but also our family.
Tell us one thing you’d like to change in yourself and another trait you’d love to keep forever.
Two thoughts have always been at the back of my mind about this. The first one was to enjoy and celebrate the tiniest of achievements and stop worrying about what is next; having the ability to stop and breathe for a second before thinking about the next big thing I am set to accomplish, simply the ability to enjoy the little things in life. The second habit I hoped to adopt through the past year, and I think I did a bit, was being more transparent, with the people I love, about how I feel and what I want to communicate exactly. I think I did a pretty good job there. The one trait I want to keep is my freaky obsession with neatness and the small details. I can’t help it, but to be honest it’s something that I like about myself.
What exactly do you do at Ellie?
I am a digital consultant. In a nutshell, I am involved in everything digital, whether it’s web development, user experience, e-commerce management, digital marketing, and a bit of sales. I come from a tech background but I love pottery and everything else that we do at Ellie, so I am always trying to learn more about what can drive our business forward, whatever it is; jack of all trades if you will.
How does teaching pottery make you feel?
I believe that I was gifted by God with the gift of spreading my knowledge and teaching other people about clay. Teaching for me is a passion. I’ve been teaching for 15 years now and my passion for teaching grows day by day. I always feel accomplished when I pass my knowledge to my students, especially students who learn pottery for the first time. I love to teach them all tricks and techniques so we can pass this craft from one generation to the other. Moreover, My favorite part of teaching is carving on vases or lamps, it always gives me a sense of relaxation and peacefulness.
What does Ellie mean to you?
For me, Ellie takes a huge and very important part of my life. I always feel like I’m with my family, the amount of love, honesty, and friendliness that I receive from this team is huge. We’re all always keen to help one another to have a perfect work environment. I also admire Nahla and Nour’s talents, passion, and courage to be the pioneers in this field and come up with the best work, therefore I’m always making sure to work up to their expectations.
How did you learn this craft?
I entered this industry from a very young age. I used to monitor the craftsmen and during the time I was watching my mentors doing their magic, I fell in love with this craft beyond words. So I started by waiting for the artisans to leave the workshop and I started practicing at night so that every day I learn something new. There was no electricity! Just me, the moon, and the clay. Until artisans that I owe a lot to discover my talent and asked me to work with them. Then I started to seriously work on this craft and my skills started to develop.
How do you perceive Ellie Home?
I started working in Ellie as I felt the family vibe from the day I visited the workshop. I’m very proud of this place and I hope my kids grow up one day and learn this craft and develop their skills to even be better than their father, but most importantly to find a place where they are appreciated and well taken care of.
How did you learn about this craft?
My story is kind of long, but to cut it short, I have inherited this craft from my grandfather in Syria. I always used to train as he had one of the biggest pottery workshops in Syria after my father acquired my grandfather’s job, I started working with him starting the age of 16 years and started creating and selling pieces with my own hands and that made me very proud of myself and my love and passion for pottery started here and I’ve been mastering it since then.
How do you perceive Ellie Home?
I love how organized this company is. My father always told me that organization is the key to success in any place. In Ellie, every step throughout the ceramic process is very organized. An organized workplace encourages us to be more productive and saves time. Moreover, I love every one of my team. I also love seeing this business grow step by step and I’m proud to be part of this amazing team.
What is the best thing you love in this craft?
The thing I love in this craft is the challenge. There is always a new challenge in everything related to creating glazes. I love playing with colors to create new glazes and new techniques. In this job, I learn every day something new as I keep trying once and twice until I reach the result I want in the end.
How did you start working in pottery?
I started working in this field 20 years ago, I loved this craft to the extent that I used to go every day after school to watch how the artisans create pottery starting from the wheel until it reaches my favorite part, the glazes. I was always amazed at how colors can be mixed and every time it creates a unique glaze. I first started by helping the artisans but after that, they started relying on me and trusting me with a lot of work.
What is it like having a large family?
I am the father of 7 wonderful children. While it may sometimes sound like war, having kids is truly rewarding. They are my greatest achievement and most incredible teachers. Supporting a large family is difficult, but I try every day and will continue to, no matter what!
What exactly do you do at Ellie?
I am mainly responsible for preparing the clay. It’s a part of the process that is extremely important, as it requires a lot of patience. Correctly preparing the clay ensures that we get a successful end product. And because I’ve been working in this field for a long time and I have a certain amount of expertise in wheel throwing, sanding, and more. I’ve been trusted to assist in other parts of the process of pottery making too. Which has been great for me!
Quality Control Supervisor
What is the thing that you love the most in the world?
My family. My family means the world to me. As much as I love my work, I always feel excited to come back home and find my daughter Karma and my wife waiting for me to spend time together.
What exactly do you do at Ellie?
At Ellie I work as the quality control supervisor, throughout my journey I was involved in all the processes, starting from preparing the clay to the glazing. When I mastered the processes I was able to access the quality of the work and make sure all items are coming out of the oven with high quality.
What is it like being a working mom?
Being a mother and working in a place that is mentally relaxing is honestly the best I could wish for. Doing both jobs is hard but it’s very rewarding. The feeling of going back home and seeing my daughter after a long working day is honestly the best in the world.
How would you describe Ellie?
Ellie for me is like my second home, I always feel like I’m empowered and always learn new things every day. I currently work at sanding the products, but I aspire to grow in this place and learn to glaze one day because it is my favorite. I believe that in this place that is run by two successful women like Nahla and Nour it will go places.
How long have you been working in pottery and why did you choose this field?
I’ve been working in pottery for almost 20 years now. I chose this field way back as I was fascinated with the idea of transforming a piece of clay into a beautiful masterpiece.
What is the one thing you love about Ellie the most?
What I love the most are the trust and encouragement, I’m always given. All my life I used to work in glazing, however when I joined Ellie I was allowed to be exposed to all the different stages of ceramic making starting from wheel throwing, trimming, sanding, and improving my glazing skills, here at Ellie we have all the resources that we need, and we’re always encouraged and trusted to explore other aspects of the process.
How did you start working in Pottery at a young age?
I always dreamt of working in pottery when I was young when I saw my grandfather producing handmade beautiful pieces. So my passion for pottery started from there and I aspire to continue working in this field and make unique ceramic products.
What do you currently do at Ellie and what do you want to learn the most in the pottery process?
My current job at Ellie is sanding the pieces after the bisque stage to ensure a smooth surface and then I use water with the sandpaper. I always wanted to create clay on the wheel. Transforming clay into different shapes on the wheel has always been the most interesting part for me, so I’m always learning from my colleagues so I could be like them one day.
How did you know that pottery was your passion?
Pottery is my passion. I feel like I’m connected to this craft. I tried to try new jobs and change my career but I always find myself coming back to this craft. My love for pottery is unmeasurable.
What do you love the most about Ellie?
It’s not only one thing that I love about Ellie, working at a place like Ellie gives me a lot of strength and power to work and produce the best that I could do. The amount of support and harmony we have as a team always pushes me to continue and to work with passion.