- Tell us a little bit about you
I’m a wife and mother of two boys… I try to balance between two careers, an investment manager at a healthcare investment company and managing my boutique, GRAIN. AlthoughI had a technical background (engineering major in college), I always loved fashion. So after 6 years working at an investment company I finally decided to take this step and open a multi brand boutique.
- How did you get into fashion?
- When and how did the idea of opening up your own boutique come up?
The idea started in 2012 when I realized that the Kuwaiti market was saturated with either high-street fashion labels or traditional luxury brands. There was an opportunity to explore designers who are young, innovative and have something different to offer to the Kuwaiti market than what is already available. Most of these designers don’t follow the trends dictated to us by the media or the traditional luxury brands, but offer more unique and distinct pieces.
- How long have you been a boutique owner?
GRAIN was opened in March 2013. So it’s almost 3 years now.
- In a competitive market, what differentiates GRAIN from the rest of the boutiques in Kuwait?
Individuality. We offer our customers something unique and different. Over the past three years we were able to find new exciting designers early on in their careers who grew with us and are now stocked at the coolest concept stores like Colette in Paris and Browns in London.
- What were the challenges that you faced?
It is challenging to always offer something new and different yet appealing to our customers in this competitive market. Also, when we first opened the store, it was a bit tricky to identify professional and reliable young, emerging designers who consistently deliver the same high quality product. But with time and experience we were able to identify such designers who grew with us over the past few years.
- Do you have any plans on expanding across the Gulf region?
Not in the meantime. However we launched our online store (www.grainkuwait.com) last year which ships worldwide so that we can reach our customers outside of Kuwait.
- How would you describe your personal fashion style?
Although my schedule and lifestyle restrict me from spending too much time on dressing myself, I do make the most effort I can to dress in something in a way I think is both practical and contemporary. I think style is intuitive and it is not about concentrating on luxury brands and logos. It’s a day-by-day thing.
When buying for GRAIN, I try to select items that are bold and reflect the style of a young, fashion savvy customer. I try to choose structurally beautiful pieces. I also like to work with designers that experiment with unique materials and prints to present something unexpected.
- Who is your favorite designer?
It’s so hard to choose as there are many inspiring people I admire. But I like phoebe philo’s approach to style and her work at Celine. It represents a powerful, independent working woman who makes daring choices without being too stale.
- Why have you chosen these particular designers to sell their pieces?
They think outside of the box and don’t follow any trend that is “dictated” to them by the industry. They have their own style and always present something bold and unexpected.
- What is the current trend for the upcoming season?
We’ve seen many different trends in 2016 runway shows and my favorite are:
Eccentric minimalist pieces, off the shoulder tops and dresses, tops with voluminous sleeves, feminine lady like dresses, Latin looks, ruffles and striped tops and dresses.
- What advice can you give someone who is interested in becoming a boutique owner?
Try to reflect your own style in your business and always try to be unique because that will give your store its character and will distinguish it from the rest.