June 02, 2015 12:00 AM | by The Fustany Team
A Chat with Roula Ghalayini About Re-launching Her Label and Female Entrepreneurship
A couple of months ago, fashion designer Roula Ghalayini re-launched her handbag label Poupée Couture under a new name; Rula Galayini. Following the success of Poupée Couture over the past years, Rula Galayini was recently introduced as a new line of accessories with a real life edge.
As we knew that Roula Ghalayini became the first ever Middle Eastern fashion designer to receive crowd investment for her business, we had a little chat with her about re-launching her label and female entrepreneurship. Read along to know why Roula Ghalayini decided to create Rula Galayini and get inspired by her success story. Also, scroll down to see Rula Galayini's debut collection.
Re-branding a fashion label can be risky. Why did you decide to re-launch Poupée Couture as Rula Galayini?
Poupée Couture has seen fantastic success since I launched it in 2007, and has amassed a loyal following across the region, and internationally. But over the years I have evolved as a designer, and my designs have also evolved. I felt that, whilst Poupée Couture was very much inspired by the modern Arab woman, I also wanted to design for a more international audience too. Poupée Couture is still very much a part of me and my brand, and the designs have a strong place as I re-launch as ‘Rula Galayini’.
Besides changing the name and logo, how much is Rula Galayini different from Poupée Couture?
Poupée Couture catered to the modern Arab woman, being mindful of tradition, whilst embracing what our multicultural society has to offer. This is maintained in the Poupée Collection line of ‘Rula Galayini’, but with the additional lines I am also able to explore different avenues of design. Art and architecture are huge influences on me and my work, and this is evident in the ARTiculate collection. I also like to ensure my pieces are practical and serve a purpose, as well as looking aesthetically pleasing. The removable insets, laptop cases and clutches in the Chrysalis Collection, which can be personalized by the owner, allow each piece to be unique and ever changing. Overall, I feel that ‘Rula Galayini’ offers edgy, yet functional pieces which become an extension of the woman and her personality.
Rula Galayini was introduced through crowd-funding, can you tell us more about this experience?
Crowd-investing shows credibility and confidence on the entrepreneur’s behalf about the potential of the company. Crowdfunding involves accepting donations for an idea but then not necessarily being accountable for it. I wanted the message to be that I have a clear business plan and was dedicated to the growth of my business. Accepting to be held accountable gives investors confidence. And likewise, by giving investors a share of the company, you gain mutual interest and they become dedicated to facilitating or accelerating the growth of the business.
What are the fundamentals that a fashion label needs for a crowd-funding campaign?
What a fashion designer needs to keep in mind, is that when they bid for crowdfunding or crowd-investing, they are doing so to people that have no previous emotional attachment to the brand. Beyond showing a distinct design aesthetic, designers need to show a strong commercial track record, and a more promising growth. They really need to articulate the business side of their brand. They really need to speak the same language that their investors speak.
From a designer's point of view, what makes a home-grown fashion label successful internationally?
In order for a label to be successful anywhere, it needs to have a strong, fresh and distinct design signature. However, in order for the brand to enjoy international outreach, it needs to be fully aware of the various cultural sensitivities and lifestyles. Often it is a matter of small tweaks on the designs that makes the overall collection have more universal appeal. Fair pricing is also another important factor. Designers certainly need to have faith in their work but they also need to have the maturity to adapt when needed.
Does your design process start with a certain woman in mind? If yes, what is she like?
I design for the woman that has a beautiful mind as well as appearance. I design primarily for stand out women who continuously challenge the status quo, are not afraid to speak their mind, and strive for progress in every way possible.
What are some of the challenges that face emerging design talents nowadays?
The biggest challenge faced by emerging designs is the large fast fashion high street brands, primarily those that imitate the renowned fashion labels for a fraction of the price. The only way these designers can really create a niche for themselves, is if they have a strong story that accompanies their creations. They need to be able to create that strong emotional bond with their consumer, and the only way to do this is by creating an impactful brand within which their creations are showcased.
Share with us three tips for female entrepreneurs.
Study the market, make sure you are bringing something new to the current landscape and take criticism constructively.
Tell us about the debut Rula Galayini collection.
The evolution of the brand has given me an opportunity to further explore the brand aesthetics, and create inspired accessories with a real life edge. Poupée Couture was inspired very much by the modern woman, and ‘Rula Galayini’ brings a fresh, international feel that still retains the roots of Roula’s inspiration. Rula Galayini comprises four lines each addressing the needs of the modern woman: The Cuff Collection – hybrid clutches that serve as both bags and items of jewelry; The ARTiculate Collection – bold statement pieces, inspired by art and architecture; The Chrysalis Collection – inspired by change and interactivity, the pieces in these collection allow the owner to customize and adapt the piece with different color options and choose the best way for the pieces to work for them; The Poupée Collection – iconic pieces inspired by Poupée Couture which incorporate metal filigrees, patterns and material layering.
What's next for Rula Galayini?
International distribution is our main point of focus now at Rula Galayini. We have spent years really perfecting our products and refining our brand language. We are now fully confident on living up to international standards are intent on becoming a global brand, proudly made in the Middle East.