As a DIA-BOUTIQUE.com loyalist, I’ve always admired founder Rasha Khouri for her entrepreneurial spirit and vision towards bridging the gap between our Middle East and the rest of the world. With DIA-BOUTIQUE, we find an online haven where unique and independent fashion designers from the far corners of the globe come together. In her latest launch of DIA-style.com, she pioneers the digital scene with a luxury fashion portal in both Arabic and English languages.
What’s the inspiration behind starting DIA-style.com, and how is it different from DIA-BOUTIQUE.com?
The inspiration came from my love of fashion, the Middle East and technology. I saw we were reaching a ‘tipping point’ for e-commerce in the Middle East and that people have become more comfortable shopping – therefore it was the right time to work on a project for our region.
Both DIA-style.com and DIA-BOUTIQUE.com are complementary online fashion businesses in Arabic and English. DIA-style.com is a luxury shopping site that combines community with commerce. We have 50,000 on-trend, on-season items from over 1,200 of the world’s leading designers including Alexander Wang, Burberry, Christian Louboutin, Givenchy, Gucci, Martin Margiela, Peter Pilotto and Saint Laurent. DIA-style.com is specifically for the Arab fashionista. DIA-BOUTIQUE.com is a shopping site for independent designers from around the world, including many from the region – brands like Dina JSR, Fyunka, Liwan, Poupée Couture and Sarah’s Bag. DIA-BOUTIQUE.com has an audience in the US, Europe and Asia as well as the Middle East.
What does it mean to Shop, Play, and Talk with fashion?
DIA-style.com is a multi-dimensional site with three fashion-focused facets. Not only a place for shopping and browsing the best luxury fashion online, it’s also a place where users can ask our stylists questions and chat with other fashionistas in our ‘TALK’ section. In our ‘PLAY’ section users can express their fashion creativity by putting together different outfits and sharing them with friends. They can discover new brands and designers in this area too via our fashion themed lifestyle quizzes.
What makes DIA-style.com different from other fashion community websites?
It’s the variety of features that make the site an interesting place to visit for followers of fashion. Most fashion communities do not offer a shopping capacity. As our site is specifically for the Middle East we make sure everything on the site can be shipped to Kuwait, or anywhere in the region in a couple of days. We take care to communicate frequently with visitors to the site and give them the service they would expect to receive face-to-face in a store. We have stylists and customer service available over the phone or email in Arabic or English. They can help with any questions about the site or provide product and styling advice. We send out weekly newsletters which cover key global fashion trends, hot new designers to watch and or seasonal themes like wedding season outfits. We also are very active on social media letting our followers know about new in products and key trend items.
As a shopping website for the Middle East and translating content into Arabic, has that made a difference in sales to your partner e-tailers?
Our partners on DIA-style.com are the best online fashion stores Harrods, NET-A-PORTER, mywardrobe, Boutique1, Matches, Browns and Stylebop. We’re the first site to cater specifically to the region and we have given these partners access to a new audience, which has helped their sales.
DIA-style.com is the first luxury shopping website in the Arabic language. Why do you think this has never been done before?
E-commerce is in its initial growth phase in the Middle East. Even global luxury brands like Burberry or Ralph Lauren, who are major players in the e-commerce space, have concentrated launching e-commerce sites for the Asian and European markets and do not have sites in Arabic.
What are some of your most favorite brands on the website?
It’s a difficult choice, but a few of my favorites are Chloe, Lanvin and Jimmy Choo.
What’s the most challenging part of your job, and what’s the most exciting part?
Fitting everything into the day and the reward is watching new developments to the site come to life.
DIA-style is now a fully-fledged fashion community; can you let us know what’s next?
We’ll be adding different product areas to the site as well as collaborating with more luxury retailers to bring even more great fashion online.