Head of Kuwait-based site thouqi.com Linda Darahim discusses how she is supporting local and up and coming designers to make it on a worldwide platform.
Middle East based e-commerce site Thouqi.com is supporting regional designers. Head of the site Linda Darahim oversees the sourcing of local and upcoming brands. When she joined in 2013 it was a two person team and Linda was responsible for everything from photoshoots to contacting new designers to marketing. Over the five years the sites popularity has grown hugely and so two has the team.
Today Linda focuses on supporting the platform’s designers and evolving its overall strategy. Thouqi currently stocks over 90 luxury brands from the region and it is growing fast. Here Linda gives us an insight into the Thouqi brand.
What do you think makes Thouqi so popular?
We launched the website with one goal: be the best at what we were doing. And to achieve that, we needed to be surrounded by the very best. The early adopters were truly trendy people; people who travelled a lot had social events and needed to find clothes that matched their traditions. We have the chance to be in touch with creative designers and close to customers that are real influencers in the region. We also have worldwide fixed delivery cost and we have a very experienced customer service and logistic team.
Who is the Thouqi customer?
Women who are aware of fashion, regional and international trends. She knows what she wants.
As a customer why would we visit Thouqi as opposed to international sites?
We have a very unique selection and style coming from regional designers that understand the Middle Eastern women lifestyle and needs.
Which designers are you particularly excited about at the moment?
Haa Designs as she’s growing so fast! And she’s asked to collaborate with influencers and multinational companies.
How do you think Thouqi is empowering up and coming designers?
Thouqi.com is the first of its kind and we are very proud to support up and coming Middle Eastern designers. Our team scours the Middle East from Dubai to Cairo, Kuwait and Riyadh, to find the latest and greatest in luxury fashion. So many creative designers were coming up across the region and they weren’t getting the attention they deserved. Initially, most of these designers were only known in their country or within their limited circle. We are very fortunate to work with and provide this platform for incredible creatives and even stock some of them exclusively.
What’s the one piece of jewellery every woman should own?
Instead of jewellery I would say the Panthere de Cartier watch.
What about clothing?
A black suit.
Are there any areas of the site that are particularly popular with customers or not so popular?
Homeware is growing very fast, there is a real demand around gifted products that have an Arabic touch.
What do the buyers look for when selecting designs for the site?
We look at the collection, the finishing, the quality, their communication (social media).
The shoots and editorial content are great – how as a team do you go about compiling that?
We want to make sure that what we display on our website is exactly what our customers will receive. We want to show how beautiful the collections we have are, so we make sure to choose images that deliver this purpose.
How do you feel about the growing e-commerce market in the region?
Happy to see how fast the e-commerce is growing in our region and excited to see new concepts rising as Thouqi.
What do you think is the future of this market in the next few years?
Regional brands will be seen more and more outside of the Middle East region. I believe that the demand for such designs will be trendy all over the world (NY, Paris, London and more).
What do you love most about your job?
Working with creative people.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
What does a designer have to do to catch your eye?
Be consistent in her work. Have a vision, good finishing and be committed.
What are your thoughts on the fashion industry in The Middle East?
The market is a laboratory for anyone interested in Fashion. People are so stylish they impress me sometimes. Anyone would expect some kind of “conservatism,” but it is just the opposite. When I go back to Paris I even find myself telling my friends that people are getting much more stylish than some of them.
Who are your personal favourite designers both locally and internationally?
Locally: Haa Designs, AKStheLabel, 43Artisans. Internationally: Pheobe Philo for Celine, The Olsens for The Row and APC.
What would we find you doing on the weekend?
Spending time with my daughter and husband, catching up with friends and shooting sometimes.
Where is your favourite place to travel?
My city Paris, to visit my family and friends.