After graduating from college, my cousin was looking for ways to supplement her income while looking for a job. She started by arranging flowers and organizing children’s birthday parties for her acquaintances – and her friends loved it. Soon it morphed into an event planning company and floral boutique that catered exclusively to children’s parties and small events.
But when business slowed, especially around Ramadan and in the summer, she had to think of another service to ensure cash flow. With piles of furniture and home accessories, she started offering a furniture rental service.
My cousin uploaded professional photos of her stock to her website and started an Instagram page dedicated to rentals. She also used Instagram ads and promoted her page to a targeted audience. The business was immensely successful and sales exploded. Most of his profits now came from renting furniture rather than hosting events. As her business grew, she rented space to store her growing collection of furniture.
Just like my cousin, an online presence, especially on Instagram, has helped many young fashion designers across the region grow their businesses at a lower cost. Targeted ads on Instagram have also helped them reach new audiences. E-commerce platforms, such as UAE-based Ounass, are also helping to put regional designers on the fashion map.
But a UAE-based e-commerce company takes things a step further by equipping new and established fashion businesses with everything a fashion start-up would need.
Founded in 2018, Boksha’s website and mobile app offer over 800 shops and 15,000 products, including abayas, kaftans, dresses and accessories. Think of it as Netflix for regional fashion designers. Ninety percent of the designers featured on the platform are UAE-based designers between the ages of 18 and 35.
But what sets Boksha apart from other e-commerce fashion sites is its 360-degree service offerings: it offers designers everything from customer service, to photo shoots of their products, to deliveries and even access. to events.
Customers also benefit from having access to hundreds of designers and thousands of products in one place and not having to worry about the hassle of contacting individual designers.
Photoshoots, building a website, and investing in customer service can be expensive for new designers. But the rise of e-commerce platforms like Boksha can help reduce the stress and costs they face during the early stages of their entrepreneurial journey.
Over the past 11 years, it has been easier for designers to start a fashion business compared to the past when a bigger investment was needed to start a business. This has deterred many from pursuing their dreams.
Here are some tips fashion designers should keep in mind to achieve online growth:
Configure your digital presence. The first place potential customers will look for you is probably on social media. Platforms like Instagram can help you set up your Instagram store. Make sure your page includes high-quality images of your products, product details, your address, and the best way(s) your customer can reach you.
Familiarize yourself with digital ads. You can boost your page with as little as $5 a day with a targeted post. Over the years, a small investment in advertising has helped my clients reach a wider audience.
Finally, approach e-commerce platforms to showcase your work.
E-commerce penetration in the fashion industry is expected to reach 50% by the end of the year, according to Statistical. It’s never been easier for regional fashion designers to establish their digital presence – and success is just a click away.
Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati journalist and entrepreneur who runs her marketing and communications company in Abu Dhabi.
Updated: October 17, 2021, 3:30 a.m.