MAHA AL SHAMSI FOUNDER OF HOUSE OF MC EXPLAINS HOW SHE IS HELPING WOMEN TO LOOK BEAUTIFUL AND FEEL FABULOUS FOR ALL OCCASIONS.
House of MC is a brand new concept offering customers the opportunity to rent couture and ready-to-wear pieces as well as the full concierge experience to aid preparation for events and red carpet occasions.
This includes styling, hair and make-up, wardrobe, driver hire, anything you need to reduce stress and ensure that you attend any occasion in style.
The founder is Maha Al Shamsi. Originally from Al Ain, Al Shamsi has grown up immersed in the UAE’s event scene and knows the needs for any women in the UAE to be dressed in style at all times. House of MC opened its doors in Dubai Design District (D3) just this month and is already attracting hype thanks to the exclusive and one-of-a-kind pieces it is offering. At House of MC clients can choose from creations by Michael Cinco, Christian Dior, Charbel Zoe, Walter Mendez and many more, including exclusive brands that aren’t available elsewhere in the market.
Jewellery and a selection of accessories are also on offer allowing clients to complete their look. In-house hair and makeup experts as well as image consultants will work to create the perfect look for the evening while the clients will arrive in style using the House of MC fleet of luxury Bentley vehicles to ensure guests make a memorable entry. A&E spoke to Maha Al Shamsi to find out more about this unique concept.
Tell us about the inspiration for House of MC, where did the idea come from?
House of MC came about by my own experience as a busy family woman and entrepreneur with an active social life who not only lacked the time to get ready for an event but was also spending too much money on dresses that would end up hanging in the closet.
Who is your customer?
House of MC is a multifaceted concept with a selection of seasonal gowns to suit a variety of budgets. The more elite segment of our client base will be catered to by one-of-a-kind gowns and statement pieces available through our subscription model – an annual fee model that includes not only exclusive styles but also additional benefits such as image consulting, gown hire and exclusive jewellery styles in addition to the inclusive hair, beauty and personal shopping concierge services.
What do you think today’s woman is looking for in an event outfit?
Irrespective of the event, women look for individuality, comfort and of course to look appropriate and their best.
How would you explain the concept of House of MC?
Most women will set aside a budget for a new dress for a special event, be it a wedding or a party – the question is how often they will need that and if it is worth buying a dress to wear once for such occasions and not fully utilise it rather than rent one. House of MC offers an alternative to all those women so that they can hire a gown for a fraction of the retail price – this also allows them to be more adventurous and perhaps try a style they would not normally wear which would suit the occasion.
What do you think is the pressure on women to always have something new when it comes to her clothes?
The UAE is a cosmopolitan country with a close knit community – there is always a reason to celebrate an occasion among both the local and expat community so you always end up being surrounded by the same people which is why women prefer to be seen in a different light than before.
Why do you think the concept of House of MC will work?
There are notable dress rental services that offer a wide variety of clothes from past seasons across different categories. I want to offer occasion wear consisting of seasonal products and services – our styles follow current and future trends and we want you to unwind while we take care of every detail of your appearance including your hair, makeup, jewellery, shoes and bags if required.
What can you tell us about the types of dresses you are offering and the designers you are working with?
We try to cater to all women with different styles, aesthetics, body types and budget. Our current selection for Winter 2018, includes ball gowns by Michael Cinco and exclusive cocktail dresses by Dior while I’m extremely proud to be bringing Charbel Zoe back to the UAE and exclusive gowns and jumpsuits by Walter Mendez from Los Angeles. As we follow the fashion calendar and since we are only just launching we shall soon be receiving our SS19 deliveries with a wider variety of styles and designers.
What can you tell us about the one-of-a-kind pieces?
We all have very special moments in our lives – moments we will treasure for many years and of course we want the clothes or experience associated with them to be equally memorable. It has been very interesting to see during our soft launch that there is high demand for the one-of-a-kind pieces as people recognise the craftmanship and quality and directly associate it with their special moment.
What do you look for when you are choosing pieces for House of MC?
I look at the versatility of the piece. The ability to be worn by clients at different occasions and to give them pleasure and of course the ability of the dress to flatter their figure.
Can you explain a little about the rental process?
The rental process is quite straightforward – clients have the option to visit our Maison in Dubai Design District for a private consultation with our styling advisors where they can see and try on our styles to select the one they like. We have also taken the gown rental experience online for those women who are pressed for time. We also offer a subscription model.
This issue we celebrate the UAE – as an Emirati woman what does the UAE mean to you?
The UAE is my home; it’s where my family and friends are and it’s where I was educated and found the opportunities to start my career under great guidance and support to realise my dreams and objectives.
How do you think being Emirati has helped you with your business?
I believe the best way to phrase this would be that it definitively helped me understand the market and our target client better so we can adjust our product and services to suit the UAE consumer.
What message would you like to give to the people of the UAE and Emirati Women?
Speak up and voice your opinion – we are lucky to have been offered this opportunity and it is our civic duty to contribute and support our country for all of us to grow and progress.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Do your due-diligence and research carefully your project. Every successful project needs to have a strategy in place with careful execution. Work hard and you shall reap the rewards.
How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors?
As I mentioned earlier we operate a different service than only dress rentals as our focus is on the experience for the client. We work with our clients to give them a memorable experience and tie together all those elements that will make this happen. This is what differentiates us from the existing concepts out there and this will remain at the core of our business.
What is luxury to you?
Luxury is all the things I don’t get to do very often and it is not quantified by monetary cost. It’s all about unique experiences and creating happy memories for me and my family.
What is the motto you tell yourself each day?
All you need is a plan, the roadmap, and the courage to press on to your destination.
What makes you happy?
Spending time with my family and my two adorable boys as well as working hard to grow my businesses.
What makes you sad?
People and my loved ones hurting.
What is the future or House of MC?
The future is bright as we are launching now and I want to take the time to explore the potential for growth outside of this market for when the time is right to execute it.
House of MC operates by appointment at Dubai Design District, Building 3, Suite 601 and with online rental services at houseofmc.ae