Times have changed – and the business of fashion has changed more quickly than most. As we continue to lead ever more time-crunched lives, the pressure on us to keep up with the latest has intensified hand-in-hand with an exponential growth in the amount of information we need to absorb. New fashion brands arrive on the market like shooting stars – if you’re not looking at the right area of the sky, they’re pretty easy to miss.
We’re all for finding an easier way to stay on-trend, and we’re big fans of letting someone else do the fashion leg-work for us. But who’s going to do this for the Middle Eastern market AND make it fun at the same time? Styleee.com – that’s who.
Jumping from one branded website to the next in search of that perfect dress for New Year’s Eve or the ideal new season’s jacket is time consuming at best and, before you know where you are, you’re going around in circles and making a decision too often based on scant research or an overload of information.
The solution? E-aggregators. They’ve been gaining traction globally recently but, until now, there’s been no site focusing on the Middle Eastern shopper. These sites serve as the ‘Trivago’ of the fashion world. Instead of finding the top options for ‘5-star hotel, Paris, with great view of the Eiffel Tour’, they’ll deliver to your screen options for anything from ‘green velvet blazer’, through to ‘Armani leather driving shoes’ with a whole world of style in between.
Recently launched from its Kuwait base – but reflecting the global tastes of its Middle Eastern market – Faisal Al Essa’s styleee.com has an impressive roster of over 100 international partners and more than 1,000 fashion brands – and it’s already making waves. It aims to become the largest and most innovative fashion portal in the region.
To Faisal, the inspiration to create styleee.com came from the frustrations of personal experience shopping online. It wasn’t that the current sites were lacking, but more that they weren’t focusing on the uniqueness of the region’s shoppers and addressing the variety he wanted nor giving the opportunity to create his own personal style.
“With styleee.com we’ve taken a whole new fresh approach”, Faisal reports, adding “and we’ve carefully selected the partners we work with. Most of them are already doing business in the region – but none for the region”. Readers will be familiar with many of the partners Faisal is collaborating with, and they’re no small fish counting the likes of leading online style destinations Farfetch and ASOS amongst them, as well as with iconic department stores including Bloomingdales.
WE’VE SEEN THE FUTURE OF MIDDLE EAST FASHION E-COMMERCE. AND WE LIKE IT.
What’s styleee.com’s signature? What’s its USP? Faisal is clear on this: “Our signature is simple – it saves the shopper time. They can now just go to one place and can compare products, prices and styles”.
E-commerce is a growing market in the Middle East. According to Faisal, “A recent study by PriceWaterhouseCooper reported that there were over US$30 billion in e-commerce transactions last year. But even then, there is still huge potential for growth when things are done the right way. We want to bring great brands under one virtual roof, and pair this with an engaging connection to the shopper with some extra features that you won’t find anywhere else”.
One of styleee.com’s first non-commercial features to be rolled out was Styleee Radio – a 24/7 live stream of the hottest hits, it’s online now.
“Every day we’re adding new brands and new lines. Our customers can think of us like a search engine for the latest in global fashion. There’s always something new on styleee.com and,” he adds “we’re working on exclusive collaborations for the future too” – leaving us hungry to learn more.
FAISAL AL ESSA’S INNOVATIVE NEW ONLINE SHOPPING PORTAL IS ABOUT TO CHANGE THE WAY THE MIDDLE EAST DRESSES ITSELF. FIND IT AT STYLEEE.COM AND @ITSSTYLEEE
Promoted virally by its own users during these early stages (who doesn’t love to be a first-adopter and discoverer of the newest way to shop styles), Faisal’s plans to move to an agressive social media marketing and promotional focus are freshly underway.
“We’re working with a digital agency and going down the routes of Facebook, Instagram, Google marketing. Using our own database, we’ll be able to target shoppers and give direct recommendations. This is another way we’ll save our customers valuable time. We need to show the consumer the real value in coming to us.
“We’re constantly working on product development. Everything we do will always be based on regional customer’s needs and desires”.
“At the end of the day, we want to make the experience fun. You can listen to music at styleee.com. There will be editorial and stories. We’ll add games and competitions. We want the shopping experience to be more fun than merely shopping and then leaving. Everything in life should be fun – why be boring?”
Interaction is the key to styleee.com’s future success. Whereas shopping online has been seen as the ultimate in impersonal shopping, Faisal has set about making his style portal a highly personalised experience.
He makes a bold claim for styleee.com – We are the future. Bold, yes, but not overhyped. For Faisal, “The future is about making things easier for the shopper, about making things better. We can guide the shopper according to price-point, we have a huge variety of choices for customers to select from. We’re looking at the most useable way to include the benefits of virtual reality shopping – it’s like being in a Mall, but from the comfort of your home or office. We’re involved in many directions VR and the internet are evolving – far more than we can talk about just now”, he smiles.
Faisal’s impressive approach to styleee.com is two-fold. He’s set himself the toughest of challenges… to be at the forefront of fashion AND at the forefront of technology at the same time. Although still in its initial launch phase, styleee.com is already exceeding Faisal’s expectations. Take a look yourself, be engaged, and style yourself up.
Further reading; This is… Faisal Al Essa. Startup Briefing with Faisal. Coming from a solid background within his family business – one of Kuwait’s most highly renowned – he moved to Aiwa Gulf and made it the number one value added service in the Middle East. He had contracts with most of the mobile operators in the Middle East and would create content based on subscription. A model of success, it did well and he sold part of the company for a healthy price.