Glass Style

Glass Style


Profile of CONTIGO´s partner Glass Style


Handmade tableware and home decorations made of glass


Cairo, quarter Heliopolis, Egypt – distance to Europe: 3,000km 

Founded in 1992


  • Walid Onsy is a glass artist and professor at the faculty of Applied Arts in Cairo. He is well known and attends many national and international exhibitions
  • 1992: Foundation of a studio for handmade glass art in “Fusing” technique, at the beginning in the range of room decorations. Walid Onsy developed the glass melting process himself
  • 2002: Restructuring and expansion of the studio, specialisation in functional and artistic glassware and objects such as statues, lamps, glass windows
  • Since 2010: Focus on export by participating in various trade fairs, new international customers can be won
  • From 2018: Glass Style applies together with 19 other Egyptian companies for membership in the WFTO (= World Fair Trade Organisation)

Cooperation with CONTIGO since 2018

Structure of the business

Number of employees:

  • Management: Walid Onsy and his wife Suzan Bahaa
  • 19 full time employees (11 women, 8 men)
    • 12 permanent employees in production and quality control, women predominantly design the glass
    • 2 management (see above) und 1 senior designer
    • 4 sales and marketing
    • All employees can be employed all year round

Organisation of workforce: 

All production steps are completed in their own workshop.

Work steps:

  • Material: simple, non-recycled glass plates with a thickness of 3-8 mm; either only one layer of glass is used or two layers of glass are fused together
  • Production of raw glass moulds from refractory material can be used between 150 and 300 times
  • Cleaning of the glass
  • Cutting of the glass according to the planned shape
  • Painting of the glass: designs are hand-painted with food-safe colours
  • Preparation of the melting process by adding a glass separating substance (kaolin, white clay) to the mould to prevent the glass from sticking to the mould during the melting process
  • Furnace melting (between 800 and 880 degrees) between 8 and 10 hours
  • Cooling of the glass to avoid cracking takes another 24 hours
  • Finishing processes, e.g. cleaning, grinding or polishing, so that the end product becomes transparent, semi-transparent or covered
  • Quality control

Work equipment:

Glass Style is the only workshop in Egypt with a melting furnace for large products.



  • Exports (40%) to Europe, Middle-East and the U.S.
  • Home market (60%), amongst others: sales via their own gallery, hotels, public institutions


  • To further develop the Egyptian glass craft and to preserve a centuries-old cultural asset
  • To move to a larger production site with better equipment

Special features

Why does CONTIGO with Glass Style: Ambitious couple, focus on design and quality, family business


Fairtrade classification

FTP = Fairtrade in Progress


Fairtrade aspects

Glass Style complies with the following Fairtrade Principles:

No child labour

No discrimination

No discrimination due to gender, disability, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political orientation, or infection with HIV

Fair wages

  • Minimum wage in Cairo (handicraft sector): EGP 1,200/month (EGP=Egyptian Pound)
  • Fixed salaries at Glass Style:
    • EGP 2,000 – 2,500/month for un-skilled employees (in the training and induction phase)
    • EGP 3,500 – 4,500/month for skilled employees
  • Salaries are paid out in cash monthly
  • Bonus payments
    • Annual bonus: 15% of the monthly salary is paid out as a bonus per quarter
    • Holiday bonus
    • On important religious holidays (begin and end of Ramadan)
  • Overtime is paid in double the normal pay per hour

Humane working conditions

Working hours:

  • 8 hours/day
  • Regular lunch break
  • 6 days/week

Social benefits:

  • Paid holidays (one week of recreation leave + paid national and religious holidays)
  • Continuous payment of salary in case of sickness or accident
  • Contributions to health insurance are paid
  • In case of need: payment of further medical expenses
  • In case of need (e.g. for family affairs): loans or advance payments are available, individual reimbursable plan

Occupational safety

  • All safety standards are met
  • Working uniforms, protective clothing and safety glasses are provided



  • Payroll is available
  • Pay slips are available
  • SAR (Self Assessment Report) was duly submitted to CONTIGO



The Egyptian Alex Bank support the preparation process for WFTO membership


Country information

See Encyclopaedia Britannica: Egypt

Author: Janina Lange on 9. January 2019

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