It all started with a list. A short list that, over time, continued to grow. As resident fashionista, Bibi Al-Falah, came across jewelry brands she liked, their name went on the list; something she, at the time, did for fun. The more she looked at the list and added to it, the more she realized her endeavor should be turned into an online jewelry boutique in Kuwait. From coming up with a name to doodling sketches of the logo, a year and a half later, www.thevelvetpouch.com is finally live.
When did you first become interested in fashion?
Since university I found myself extremely interested in fashion and the retail industry in general. Luckily, I managed to get an internship with AlOthman Fashion as soon as I got back to Kuwait and it turned into a full-time job offer. After two years at AlOthman I started slowly working on a jewelry website and getting a list of brands together.
Why ‘The Velvet Pouch’?
Whenever I think of jewelry I imagine the packaging, which often brings up the image of a velvet pouch. The name actually went through so many different phases that branding guru Noaf Hussein of Pretty Little Things Q8 helped me with! We finally settled on The Velvet Pouch and the logo and packaging designs followed soon after, also thanks to Noaf.
As a first fashionable business venture, why did you choose accessories?
Personally, I love classic colors and cuts when it comes to clothing. From a styling perspective, accessories are so much easier to play with and change up. Even when it comes to sizing you can’t go wrong unless it’s a ring! I love the special touch that accessories add to personal style and it could be anything from a dainty bracelet to a large pair of statement earrings. By specializing in accessories I have more opportunities to increase brands and styles, keeping the focus on one area of dressing up.
Would you consider expanding your business to include more categories?
At the moment I want to give it a chance to grow as an accessory based website. There is an abundance of local and regional jewelry designers that haven’t even been tapped yet and I would rather have a concentration as a business and give it everything rather than spreading it over different categories.
What should we expect from The Velvet Pouch?
You should expect an expansion of different brands. My next phase will highlight regional and local designers since we have so much talent around us that need an online presence in Kuwait. I also want to add more international brands on my list, all in good time!
What’s the hardest part about starting your online boutique?
The hardest part was gaining the courage to actually do it and start. When anyone wants to start a business whether it’s online or not there is always a fear that could easily stop you from just doing it. I read a quote on a basketball poster once that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. This is absolutely true and applies to everything in life, so if something is within your reach you should at least take the shot and see what happens.
Who has influenced your style?
Honestly I am not really influenced when it comes to style, I have always been drawn to basic modern fashion and it is difficult for me to dress too over-the-top or flashy. There are certain celebrities that do have a sense of fashion that I absolutely love and sometimes I will save snapshots of certain outfit combinations they pull off. These include Olivia Palermo and Kate Moss.
In your mind, what’s going to be the IT trend in accessories for 2013?
Accessories are now blossoming into more edgy trends and are going beyond the scope of what we used to think of. For example, rings used to be thought of as individual pieces of jewelry but have now merged into a whole new category which includes connected rings, bracelet rings, knuckle rings and so much more. I believe this innovation will continue and we will start seeing more fashionable pieces in the coming year. Elaborate ear cuffs and head pieces will probably take center stage in 2013 as we have already seen on Resort runways.
What’s your favorite thing about fashion?
My favorite thing about fashion is how incredibly personal each person makes their own style. You pick and choose which trends you want to follow and make them your own, which prevents us from all looking like clones!
What are your next plans for The Velvet Pouch?
Currently my main goals are to grow the brand base on the website as well as grow the social media following for Instagram (@thevelvetpouch), Facebook (facebook.com/TheVelvetPouch) and Twitter (twitter.com/TheVelvetPouch).
Social media also helps me by giving customers easy communication options to provide useful input; I’m always happy to get new brand suggestions and requests. Also, there is no feeling quite like a customer being happy with their purchase and sharing a picture of it online.
Last but not least, how soon do we receive our goodies after ordering online?
I work with a local delivery company who take a maximum of 2 business days to deliver orders. If something needs to be rushed, however, I can easily request a same or next day delivery and will do anything possible to accommodate customers. Hopefully this business will expand to the region and not just Kuwait.