EN editor Saul Leese continues looking into the growth of community events, this time looking at London EID Festival, Muslim Shopping Festival and the Halal Food Festival – organised by Algebra Events.
Tell us about your events
Our events were created as platforms to showcase the best of what the community has to offer. We were always confident that the products and services our community had were world class, it was just a case of bringing them to wider audience, an audience that could experience them.
It was our aim to create a wider understanding of what the community had to offer to those outside and break down social misconceptions. We were sure that our events could be connection points between mainstream brands and our community, in order to benefit each other.
The events are a unique blend of both business and culture, and we bring that mix together in iconic venues. For five years we have focused on food, fashion, finance and travel. We have exhibitors from all over the world, creating a platform for the Halal community to showcase its offering and raise awareness of what is now readily available in many sectors. The Halal market is emerging as a potent force and this presents massive opportunity for future growth.
There is something special about our events but we’re not sure how to describe it, sometimes we call it a ‘positive vibe’ or ‘feel-good factor’. Whatever it is, there is a positive mood from visitors and exhibitors alike.
How many people attend them?
On average, two of our events welcome over 20,000 visitors over the course of two days. The EID festival is something else and we have nearly 200,000 over the weekend. Over the last four years the community has supported us, massively.
Where did the idea come from?
There are two perspectives here, from a Muslim one, personal experiences, growing up in the UK, and the feeling that there were more things that made us the same than different. From a non-Muslim point of view it was very much around trying to understand the culture and those connection points.
How have they grown and where are they held?
Our events have grown hugely over the past five years. We tend to use familiar, large venues which add to the aesthetics of the event. Some of our most well-know events include: London Halal Food Festival, held at the historically rich Tobacco Dock, East London; London Muslim Shopping Festival, held at London’s best-known exhibition and conference centre, Olympia London; and London Eid is held at the prestigious Westfield London. Westfield is the ideal location because it’s popular and there’s a strong Muslim community that visit the centre regularly and to some extent there is a captive audience.
Tell us about your team?
Our team are a family. Like any other event organiser, we are evenly divided into three critical elements – sales, marketing and operations. We have a very experienced and dedicated team, that has a breath of experience of a wide range of different events.
How are community events growing in the UK?
Community events have grown massively in the UK. We are now a multicultural nation with a vast number of ethnicities to cater for. For us, a huge part is to celebrate uniqueness and understanding. There’s a shift in the way people think; family comes first, then community and then country. There’s a need for belonging and the Muslim community is brilliant at looking after one another. Essentially, trade shows operate in a similar way. They bring together an industry, people learn from one another or through seminars, and there’s a need to for recognition and the chance to network.
What are your UK and global plans?
We have grown at such a rapid pace over the past five years, but we’ve been careful not to lose focus. We understand what our basic business model is, and it is cloneable internationally. We are now looking at four countries where we’d like to grow our event into international brands.
What other gaps in the market exist around these sorts of events?
There are many gaps yet to fill. We have only just scratched the surface of the F&B and shopping arena. Similar events could be organised, which focus on other lifestyle-orientated products and services that are aspirational and appealing to the Muslim consumer. Mainstream brands how figured out how to market products to the Muslim community. It’s obvious to us that brands that work with us, have an immediate connection through trust and understanding.