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Reported on:
Fri, 2018-06-08 19:00
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Designers Struggling to Swim

Saifi Village might have started out as a prime center for local Lebanese designers, but now, every other store front has a “for rent” sign, and beyond the dusty windows

Local Lebanese designers in Saifi Village speak their minds on the rises and falls of business and how they cope.

“Saifi Village opened up as a center for local Lebanese designers, and although it’s a beautiful and quiet family oriented residential area, business is slow,” said Nivine Maktabi, owner of Oumnia, where she sells her carpet designs.

Less sales means less creation and less possibility for progress; especially for designers.

“I’ve been here since the beginning, in 2005/06, and we survived the 2006 war, and even through the political turmoil people still came, but now no. Tourists are coming much less. It’s quiet. I’m always positive, but as a designer its disappointing and frustrating because I love to design new things and create,” she said.

Due to the political climate in Lebanon, people are not really looking for novelty or luxury items. “In order to survive, we rely on exhibitions outside Lebanon and online purchases.”

Caline Chidiac, Sales & PR representative of Nada Debs, furniture designer, explains that they have been there since the beginning as well. Nine years and lots of international sales later, the rent is still high but they are fine. “She [The designer] is a world renowned designer and so she is based. Some people can hold on more than others,” she said.

What is being done to help these designers? Nobody really knows. The construction in Saifi Village is said to be a 5-year project with more buildings, bringing more residents as well as spaces for shops and restaurants, so everyone, hold on. Till then? Keep swimming.

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2013-07-30

Saifi Village might have started out as a prime center for local Lebanese designers, but now, every other store front has a “for rent” sign, and beyond the dusty windows

Local Lebanese designers in Saifi Village speak their minds on the rises and falls of business and how they cope.

“Saifi Village opened up as a center for local Lebanese designers, and although it’s a beautiful and quiet family oriented residential area, business is slow,” said Nivine Maktabi, owner of Oumnia, where she sells her carpet designs.

Less sales means less creation and less possibility for progress; especially for designers.

“I’ve been here since the beginning, in 2005/06, and we survived the 2006 war, and even through the political turmoil people still came, but now no. Tourists are coming much less. It’s quiet. I’m always positive, but as a designer its disappointing and frustrating because I love to design new things and create,” she said.

Due to the political climate in Lebanon, people are not really looking for novelty or luxury items. “In order to survive, we rely on exhibitions outside Lebanon and online purchases.”

Caline Chidiac, Sales & PR representative of Nada Debs, furniture designer, explains that they have been there since the beginning as well. Nine years and lots of international sales later, the rent is still high but they are fine. “She [The designer] is a world renowned designer and so she is based. Some people can hold on more than others,” she said.

What is being done to help these designers? Nobody really knows. The construction in Saifi Village is said to be a 5-year project with more buildings, bringing more residents as well as spaces for shops and restaurants, so everyone, hold on. Till then? Keep swimming.

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