The Insider’s Guide on Hacking into the Realm of Fashion

Dubai’s entrepreneurial culture has a long history. Before the oil period, its residents were able to make a living by diving for pearls and trading products as far as India and Africa in one of the world’s toughest conditions. The abundance of small and medium-sized enterprises, fashion and beauty in particular, that call the emirate home, reflects this mentality.

However, is it the right move for everybody? Opening a fashion and beauty business isn’t always sunshine and rainbows. Let’s hear from Sandaly, a well renowned fashion business, to give us more of a perspective on this topic.

Born from the words “sandals” and “Italy” – Sandaly is a footwear brand that brings the highest quality of Italian craftsmanship in the form of versatile and high quality sandals for women. Sandaly aims to bring to the Middle East the best of the Positano sandals tradition, made using certified Tuscan leather, durable and resistant, handcrafted by expert artisans working the traditional way, pair after pair, with love and care.

Agropoli – Sandaly

Q: Should I open a fashion or beauty business? 

A: Both are business niches which attract the attention of younger demographics among the wannabe entrepreneurs, niches that are generally welcome to new competition, to the newest, the better ingredient/fabric, the better design, etc… Fashion definitely has a higher entrance ticket compared to beauty, while beauty has more potential health-related dangers, so choosing the right suppliers is key not only to have a great product, but also to avoid any issue once launched. 

Q: Name the biggest challenge you faced while trying to expand your fashion or beauty business.

A: For me it was getting the name out, being recognized by our target market, and building a trusted brand-customer relationship that will benefit the business in the long run.

Q: What is some advice you would give to someone who wants to open a fashion or beauty business?

A: Work the numbers in advance and get funds in excess of what you think you’ll need in the first 2 years of operations. Identify and get the right people to join your team in essential fields like marketing, sales and IT, which are more and more important every day.

Q: In your opinion, is there room to offer more unique products in the fashion or beauty scene? 

A: Yes. Fashion is by itself a synonym of change, improvement, or something that works today but might not work tomorrow. It’s an ever-changing business which welcomes all types of challenges; same for beauty, a sector which sees consumers always looking for something new, different, unique. 

Q: At what point in the business would you say the business can start generating income?

A: The thing is, in fashion and beauty there is always room for expansion. In most cases, more money means more budget for marketing campaigns, stock production, to improve logistics, finding new suppliers, etc…, so essentially money rolls over to the company benefit, not to the shareholders’.

Q: What is an essential resource required to succeed in this type of business? Kindly name one and let us know why it’s the number one priority.

A: Grit. You could be in town for 10+ years, know a lot of people in the industry, set up the website perfectly and still fail as you just landed, have a great idea, work hard and consistently to make it happen and succeed. Grit is essential to succeed, to not give up, even to get considered and listened to by your customers and by people whose opinion counts and can make you grow faster.

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