Louise and Claire Alves launched Lulu Bare, a fashion company that sells dresses all year round, in September.
The sisters' business was born out of frustration that it was impossible to find suitable clothes in Dubai in the winter months.
Louise, who is based in the UAE, explains how a hobby became a business.
"I've got nothing to wear." I've heard that expression before.
I moved to Dubai in 2008 with my husband and I couldn't find any clothes during the winter season that were appropriate to wear in Dubai. I thought it was ridiculous there was so much winter stock in - like fur coats. It gets a little colder here but not that much colder. So I had a few pieces made with an independent tailor and the next thing I knew friends were asking to get things made for them too. It was the jersey material that they loved: light but [easy to] layer up in the slightly colder months. Then in November 2008 I went on a trip to visit my sister in Singapore. She had the same problem there. We decided we should do something together. What was supposed to be a holiday turned into a work trip.
So you decided to set up a dress company? What happened next?
We made two collections that we offered to friends and family to see what people thought. It was a hobby so we wanted to see if we were on the right track before we set up properly with a manufacturer.
But the feedback was good?
We put together a business plan last year and set up legally in Singapore. Our first proper collection has just come out on our online site: lulubare.com. The clothes are made in China … and then they are shipped to Singapore, where we have a little warehouse.
Do either of you have a fashion or business background?
My sister worked for Chanel in London and I worked for DKNY - we were both in PR and events. But I did a degree in finance and economics - the business and accounting has certainly come in useful the past year.
Sisters working together - is there any creative tension?
Luckily we tend to know what the other is thinking. We design together but we split the work in other ways. I do the social media and online stuff and my sister deals with the manufacturer. Once a day we have a Skype call, to pool ideas. The time difference isn't too bad. We meet three or four times a year face to face.
So what next?
We are a small brand and online is the first step. We had our first order from the site 10 minutes after going live so that was an exciting highlight. Friends of friends of friends have been ordering. Now we are starting to get orders from people we don't know. I would love to collaborate with an artist to create a print - something completely original.