In a relatively short time period, Gata Events and Promotions has become a household name in the field of organising exhibitions be it in Lebanon or the region. ArabAd met with Sandra Ghattas, the woman behind the brand, to learn more.
How did it all begin?
After spending years working for an international exhibition organisation company, I decided to branch out and create a niche event management company specialised in organising targeted conceptual events throughout the region. So, in 2011, the company was created and gained swift recognition for quality work, which spread like wildfire among industry professionals. However, our real milestone came in 2013, when we organised the first edition of Designers’ Week in Zaitunay Bay, the success of which turned Gata into a high-recall brand name.
What is Gata’s field of expertise?
We mainly organise conceptual exhibitions for different categories with special emphasis on the design and fashion sector. We start by creating the concept, setting the targets and finally implementing the process, which includes heavy, yet targeted promotional campaigns, on and off line.
What were some of the memorable events to date?
Our first and biggest event was Designers’ Week in Zaitunay Bay, which is considered the ultimate Lebanese designers’ platform. The first three editions attracted more than 150,000 visitors and introduced more than 150 brands to buyers, end consumers and the press. The event not only promotes up-and-coming Lebanese designers, but also supports fashion academies and universities as well as features fashion shows and lives workshops.
The second event we’ve organised will be held this December in its third edition, entitled Christmas at the Villa at Villa Linda Sursock, Ashrafieh. The event provides a refined indoor setting where luxury and jewelry brands can present their latest creations and offers an exclusive variety of exquisite Christmas gifts. Christmas at the Villa welcomes more than 10,000 high end visitors every year and features several cocktail receptions aimed at providing funding for NGOs.
After gaining the designers’ trust in Lebanon, we decided to expand our operations to the region and launched theindesigner, a roaming regional exhibition. The aim is to introduce the works of Lebanese designers by showcasing their local designs and introducing them to new markets. theindesigner’s first edition was held in Dubai in 2015 attracting the city’s trendiest crowd. Soon, it will be held in Cairo.
And in the past six months, we’ve managed to launch three new events. Beirut Christmas Village in Fakhry Bey Street, Solidere, is the first open-air Christmas market animated by ongoing entertainment activities. It featured the first-ever 100 Santa Claus Parade, a spectacle that left thousands of children and parents dazzled. The second event was Bloom in ABC Dbayeh, a designers’ exhibition that celebrates the spring season and mother’s day through special themed collections, lifestyle workshops by industry experts and a cocktail party dubbed “Me.My Mom” attracting more visitors to ABC Dbayeh than the mall had welcomed during an entire year! Our latest addition is The Knot Bridal Market in ABC Ashrafieh, scheduled for this coming May. The event revolves around the “Bride” concept and showcases everything a bride needs for her wedding.
How do you choose your exhibitors for every event?
Depending on the exhibition’s theme and concept, we start by drawing a list of potential participants and sponsors and then launch our sales campaign. For Designers’ Week, we like to give a chance for rising designers to showcase their work and test their popularity with the wider audience, which will determine the brand’s future. That’s how we proudly launched several designers who have presented their first collection through this event, which has since been growing bigger, better and more popular.
With all the exhibition organisers around, how do you differentiate yourself?
Our events are home incubated and we always deliver what we promise. We seek to do better by adding new and fresh elements to every edition. All of our exhibitions turned to be successful from the get-go. We try to choose exclusive venues that have never been used for exhibitions. Our media coverage is massive and we differentiate ourselves by the quality of visitors we attract. Very often our shows benefit charities and enjoy the support of governmental as well as eminent social figures.
What’s coming next?
A large-scale summer festival, but we’ll keep the details for later!