If you haven't yet heard of KARKOOSHA, there is no doubt you will hear of it in the coming weeks. Karkoosha is an online exhibition platform that provides virtual space for exhibitors all over the world. Their services are one of a kind, providing clients with product photography, display, sales management, marketing, packaging AND delivery of the product. Basically, Karkoosha makes life easier for exhibitors by acting as their online boutique.
KARKOOSHA was founded in 2009 by Suad Al-Ghanim. After graduating with a finance degree and working in the dealing room of one of the best banks in the Middle East, Suad decided to move on and create her own venture. She was inspired by the number of creative designers in the Gulf region. Most of them didn't have the capabilities to establish stores or take part in exhibitions. "Many designers either didn't have time to do an exhibition, or didn't want to handle customers, deliveries, and calls, or couldn't afford a boutique and employees.." says Suad.
We chatted with Suad about her keen business sense, her genuine concept, and about that curious yet very cute name…
KJ: So tell us, where does the name of your business come from?
SG: I wanted a Kuwaiti/Arabic word to represent my business. The number of words we came up with was amazing but KARKOOSHA was the catchiest. It was also easy to pronounce and spell. KARKOOSHA is an Arabic word for a tassel, which we have also used on our logo.
KJ: How did you start KARKOOSHA? Was it hard to do?
SG: Since KARKOOSHA is an online exhibition, the base of my business is the website. The website wasn't an easy step at all; turning my idea into reality was a hectic process that took more than 8 months especially because it was a new concept. Then comes the logo colors, the packaging, the employees, the office location, etc. Overall, even though it was a process that I didn't expect at all, KARKOOSHA became a project that I look forward to develop and enhance in any way I can.
KJ: How do you manage your business amidst all the hardships, and when did you finally realize that this is going to work?
SG: KARKOOSHA.com is backed up by an amazing team of talented people who are as excited as I am to work on such a unique concept. My breakthrough moment was when I finally decided to share my idea with the people around be to get any feedback. The reactions and comments I got put even more pressure on me; I had to really prove myself. Having all the support I was offered from them was enough to keep me striving to reach my goal, which made me even pickier with the website design and programming!
KJ: Is Karkoosha a fashion-only online shop, or do you sell other things besides fashion items?
SG: KARKOOSHA.com is a virtual exhibition; it can include fashion, furniture, art, books, etc.
KJ: I noticed that Kuwait has a lot of emerging online shops, selling all sorts of things. Are you limiting yourself to Kuwaiti designs or are you accepting international ones?
SG: Kuwait does actually have many emerging online shops with lovely collections. The difference is that we are not an online shop; we are something totally different. KARKOOSHA.com is an online exhibition that provides virtual space for exhibitors from all over the world.
KJ: What or who inspires you?
SG: My grandmother; her willpower inspires me.
KJ: Moving on to more materialistic issues, who are your favorite fashion designers?
SG: Christophe Decarnin for Balmain, John Galliano for Dior, and Christian Louboutin.
KJ: Where are your favorite shopping destinations?
SG: The fashion capitals: Paris, London, NY, and Milan.
KJ: What are your fashion must-reads?
SG: Vogue, Vogue, and Vogue.
KJ: Do you read any design, art or fashion blogs?
SG: So many; they're all so talented; I feel guilty naming some and leaving out others.
KJ: Finally, since we're a young magazine ourselves, any advice to young entrepreneurs who have talent and aspirations?
SG: If you believe in an idea you have, no matter how many people stand in your way, nothing should stop you from getting to your goal.
– Alya Al-Othman