By Hana Kotb
We had the pleasure of meeting Riva Moussa, one of Alexandria’s leading ladies of her generation in the social scene. A graduate of the Arab Academy for Science and Technology (AAST) with a Bachelor’s in Business Marketing, Riva used her studies to become the founder of Riva Special Events, an event organizing company in Alexandria; the founder of The House of Furnite, Alexandria’s Biggest Furniture Fair; the founder of Special Christmas Party for Kids, an annual holiday party fun for the whole family; and a co-founder of Peekaboo, a kids’ play area located in Designia Mall. We’ve been told that she’s the “Legend of Marketing,” with over seven years in the field, so we sat down with Riva to find out just how a woman can do what she does, to fill in on some of her secrets and advice, and to know what’s coming next.
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How did your career as an event planner start?
I’ve always had a passion for organizing events. Even for smaller events, as a mother, I would go over and beyond with themes for my children’s birthdays. I would volunteer at their school to lead the decoration efforts for school events. I enjoy planning everything from A through Z, as I do now with all my events to this day. My first main event was the Special Christmas Party for Kids back in 2013. Last December, we celebrated our 7th annual Special Christmas Party for Kids. After the success of this event, I expanded into furniture and organized Alexandria’s biggest furniture fair, The House of Furnite. Our upcoming one will be the 6th annual faira. Alongside these projects, I enjoy co-founding Peakaboo, especially when I get to decorate birthday parties for the kids. I founded Riva Special Events for organizing private events; I chose this name because every event is truly special. Just like every client and every occasion is unique, every event is accordingly unique. Our core activities are organizing exhibitions, corporate special events and conferences. I use what I learned in university to optimize my events, using new marketing tools and continuously think outside the box.
What can we expect in your next furniture fair, The House of Furnite?
The House of Furnite will be held in Hilton Green Plaza for four days, the 10th of March through the 13th of March. I love getting creative with the invitations, and since it’s a furniture fair, the giveaway is always home-related. Last year, the invitation included a customized wooden clock, the year before was a large frame, and the year before that was a chair. Attendees should expect special offers from fifty of the best furniture brands from both Cairo and Alexandria. We’re appealing for both newlyweds and renovators—there’s something for everyone!
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What challenges do you face as an event organizer?
When I first started The House of Furnite, I had a very clear vision of what I want. I pictured a certain standard that I refused to go below. I found it challenging finding exhibitors that embody the criteria I had. I was not willing to compromise my vision for an easier route or for more exhibitors. I am proud to say that I believe that all the exhibitors in The House of Furnite offer high-quality products and have superb taste.
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What would you describe as your most prominent achievement?
I’m proud to say that most of my exhibitors in The House of Furnite are repeat brands, which signifies to me that my event is a success because they would not have returned if they did not experience a positive outcome as a result of this fair. It also means my attendees favor the brands displayed, or else they would not have bought from them.
Besides your career as an event organizer, you are a mother of three. How do you balance motherhood with your busy schedule?
Yes, I have three kids: Adel and the twins, Ghalia and Dalida. Many working mothers agree that there simply isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done. Even the most organized working mom can become stressed out when short on time. This is why I believe that the key to being a successful working mother is time-management. Equally as important is having a proper support system. My family is very sympathetic. My mother and husband help me juggle everything, making all of this possible.
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So many young women want to begin a career in event organizing. What advice do you have for them?
First and foremost, take a risk, and just do it. You need to truly believe in what you are doing. A woman in this career must be self-confident and assertive. Most of all, she needs to be persistent and to have perseverance, no matter how difficult it is to achieve success.
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What are your dreams moving forward?
I wish to take The House of Furnite nationally, to other cities in Egypt, as well as internationally eventually. I also plan on creating more event types.
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What are your words to live by?
Trust yourself. It’s as simple as that. If you don’t trust yourself, then who would believe in you? So if you’re going to trust one person, let it be yourself.