Ujala Ali Khan talks to the founders of the online boutique theDRESSroom.com
It was while trying to find a balance between their busy social calendars and their at-home and professional lives that inspiration struck Dina Abdulhadi Daryani and Samantha Kayruz Chami – two friends who, in addition to sharing similar lifestyles as working mums, also shared a penchant for online fashion. Together, they cofounded theDRESSroom.com, a newly launched online boutique.
“Women in the Middle East are very hospitable and social. Parties and weddings are plentiful and we frequently need the right dress for the right occasion, at the right price, yet there are a limited number of places to find them,” Chami says, explaining the challenge that sparked the idea. “Preparing for an event should be a positive experience, but many women panic about finding the right dress, which should actually be half the fun. That’s why we set up theDRESSroom.com.”
“We’re both mothers of small children and understand that women need a variety of outfits to accommodate a variety of roles,” adds Daryani. “So we decided to turn the frustration of trying to find the right dress into an inspiration and addressed the need within the market.”
“It took approximately 10 months from the initial idea to going live with the site. We’re very proud that we accomplished this in such a short period of time,” says Chami. “It was quite a busy time for us. I had a baby and both Dina and I were moving houses and working on our other businesses.”
“We’re both mothers first and businesswomen second,” points out Daryani. “So striking the right balance can sometimes be tricky.”
Since shopping is practically a sport in the Middle East, did they find it challenging to be up against the biggest and the best? Was it difficult to carve a niche for an online boutique when customers have the world’s biggest mall right at their doorstep?
“Shopping online has many advantages,” says Daryani. “The customer doesn’t need to deal with busy stores or the hassle of finding time to leave the house, and can purchase outfits from the comfort of their own home. You can browse thousands of dresses that traditional stores otherwise aren’t able to offer. You don’t get all of that at a mall.”
The co-founders reveal that, in the short time since the website’s launch, they’ve had orders from all across the GCC, but one factor remains a constant: everyone is looking for a seamless experience and good customer service. The free tailoring adjustments and exchange policies have proved very popular.
When asked to pick their favourite dresses from the website’s current selection, both Daryani and Chami admit they’re spoilt for choice.
“I recently wore the Jovani Unique Zipper Slit Dress to a wedding and received a lot of attention,” reveals Daryani. “Nue by Shani’s unique feature of ‘built in body architecture’ is very popular. It shapes and smooths your body, creating a flawless figure and giving the appearance of being one size smaller.”
“We also recently added the Scala designer line,” Chami says. “It’s been a big hit, especially with the wedding season coming up.
“We have so many favourites, it would be difficult to choose just one. In the end, a dress that makes you feel and look good is always on trend!”
Samantha Kayruz Chami explains how a design makes the cut on theDRESSroom.com:
“There’s a team of people at theDRESSroom.com beyond Dina and I. We make collective decisions on what to add to the site, keeping ladies of the GCC and Levant at the heart of our decision. We aim to offer dresses that cater to all these different ladies and their various daily roles. There are conservative options as well as more revealing ones. Beautiful women come in different shapes and sizes, so we offer a wide size range. We’re constantly looking at new designers both internationally and locally. The majority of our current designers are based out of New York and Los Angeles, as we found it relatively easy to work with them at the time of the launch. We felt they offered the best of New York fashion, trends and quality at decent prices.”
Dina Abdulhadi Daryani explains the working of theDRESSroom.com
• Browse the thousands of dresses across 14 different designers.
• Go to the section labelled ‘What Size Am I?’ – ‘The Right Fit’ to find out how to take three key measurements – bust, waist and hips – to assess your size according to the specific designer’s size chart.
• Select the size and colour you’re looking for, add it to your shopping bag, click “check out”, choose from our many payment options and your order is confirmed.
• Should you need, the customer care team can assist you in finding the right dress for the right time via telephone, live chat or email.
• You can expect it to be delivered to you within five to seven working days.
• If you’re based in the UAE, then you can enjoy free tailoring adjustments. We’re currently looking to expand this service to other countries.
• If you’re not 100 per cent satisfied with your purchase upon arrival, you can contact us for a free exchange.
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