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Islamic Lifestyle
Newcomer Durioo to launch two Islamic-themed cartoon series in 2022

The founder of globally popular Islamic cartoon series Omar & Hana has launched a new venture, Durioo, to create more Islamic-themed children’s content and games.

 

Sinan Ismail has been the public face of Didi & Friends since 2014, and Omar & Hana since 2017. As the founder and CEO of Digital Durian, the company behind the Islamic cartoon series, Ismail took the shows beyond a largely Malaysian audience to a global one. This year, Omar & Hana reached over 3 billion views on their YouTube channels in 50 countries.

This week, Sinan said goodbye to Didi & Friends to announce the launch of his latest venture, Durioo, which is to produce its own Islamic-themed children’s content and games under Durio Plus and Durio Games. 

Durioo’s team of 38 members is largely from the Digital Durian house. “They are the creative minds behind Omar & Hana, and Didi & Friends. We are not sure yet if Omar & Hana will join the world of Durioo. We want to do it because we love making the content, and the fans love it,” said Sinan, Durioo’s founder and CEO in Kuala Lumpur.

While Omar & Hana was about the eponymous four and six year old siblings, the new cartoons will focus on ages below four and above six. To be launched in 2022, Little Ammar is aimed at pre-school children. “Omar & Hana was not really suitable for under four years old. Kids of that age should be listening to songs or rhymes. They’ll also be learning alef ba [Arabic alphabet], shapes and numbers,” said Sinan. 

Little Ammar is a “CoComelon for Muslims kids,” he said, referring to the popular Netflix sing-along series. Ammar has a pet rabbit and twin sisters, with the content related to Islamic values. Each episode is to run for three minutes and the audio is recorded in-house in Malay, English and Arabic. International partners have signed on for dubbing into Uzbek, Russian, Tajik, Urdu, Mandarin and French. 

The second show is aimed at five to nine year old girls, a segment that has not attracted much focus in Islamic-themed cartoons. Mina & Mila is based on Little Ammar’s sisters. “The show is about identical twins with different personalities going through their daily life. They understand that life together is better, even if they have differences,” said Sinan.

Little Ammar is to be launched first on streaming platform Youtube. The language dubbing companies will be business partners with the ability to generate revenues from the intellectual property (IP) rights. Durioo is in discussions with investors and venture capital firms for further funding and is planning a bigger investment round in early 2022.

“We have a huge market and huge potential, with 400 million Muslim families worldwide with children between one to 12 years old,” said Sinan.

With the Durioo team having a strong production track-record, the firm has inked merchandising licences and publishing rights for books and is “almost there” with a deal in Britain. 

“We have the experience and the relationships with our previous partners, which has helped us to kick-start revenue from day one. Signing before the content is out is a good sign,” said Sinan.

Durioo may not launch Mina & Mila on Youtube, but its own platform Durioo Plus is slated to cost around $4 per month. Revenues generated on the US streaming platform have been impacted by US privacy and tax laws. Earlier this year, the US introduced a tax deduction of 30% of earnings on Youtube; advertising is split 45% for the platform and 55% for the content creator. 

Durioo aims to work with other animation companies on co-productions and is developing its own line of digital games. “The Muslim community is underserved in games that benefit the kids with high quality content that reflects Islamic values,” said Sinan.

“Ultimately, we want to reach as many Muslim children around the world and have a subscription model. Hopefully, if we do that, it is a win-win for parents and the company and we can create more content.”

 

© SalaamGateway.com 2021 All Rights Reserved

Islamic Lifestyle
Modest fashion giant Modanisa lays out its global expansion and market strategy 

Turkey’s textiles and clothing sector contributed a whopping 17.2% share to the country’s total export volume in 2019 and Istanbul-based e-commerce platform Modanisa is taking the lead in modest fashion exports, featuring over 1,000 brands and designers for clients in 140 countries.

Modanisa has signed an exclusive two-year agreement with Somali-American supermodel Halima Aden, known for becoming the first hijab-wearing woman on a Vogue cover. Halima will act as Modanisa’s first global brand ambassador, as part of a broader strategy to use influencers to increase sales and exposure. 

Having produced a collection of 47 headscarves together in 2019, Modanisa’s brand ambassador agreement with Aden also includes the design of two new collections. The retailer will launch the Halima x Modanisa shawl designs and the latest Ramadan collection at a fashion show in the UK next year.

Modanisa collaborates with about 300 influencers a month and up to 600 in busier periods, Havva Kahraman, the firm’s associate marketing director, told Salaam Gateway

“We try to add new names every month, which also helps with our commitment to diversity,” Kahraman said, adding that the engagement of some influencers goes beyond their specific geography. “A British Muslim woman of colour whose ethnic roots are, say, North African will appeal to women beyond just the UK.”

Modanisa has worked with influencers from over 37 countries in target regions such as Europe, North America, Africa, the Middle East, and the Far East. By working with brand ambassadors and influencers, the Turkish retailer is following a global trend. According to the California Management Review Journal, influencer marketing was worth $10 billion in 2020.

Muslim spending on apparel will reach $311 bn in 2024, forecasts research firm Dinar Standard in its latest State of the Global Islamic Economy Report.

“Marketing accounts for about 20% of Modanisa's overall budget,” Kahraman said. She looks after Modanisa’s influencer marketing channel, which, according to her, is now one of the most important strands in the company’s marketing strategy. 

Marketing budgets, typically measured as a percentage of revenue, have been declining over the past two years. In the US and Europe, the allowances dropped to 6.4% of company revenue in 2021, from 11% in 2020, according to the research firm Gartner after surveying 400 chief marketing officers.

Modanisa’s influencer programme offers a 10% commission on sales, paid out monthly via Paypal. While Modanisa doesn’t disclose the sales the partner programme contributes to its revenue, Kahraman revealed it is in the double digits and climbing.

Since October it may grow even more as Instagram allows users with less than 10,000 followers to share links via the Link Sticker feature, and Modanisa will align its marketing programme to monetize the social media channel’s adaptation.

Expanding to new markets

Since Modanisa’s establishment in 2011 with the help of private capital, the firm has raised a total of $25.5 million in funding according to the investment and funding database Crunchbase

The latest round took place in 2019. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Wamda Capital and Goldmann Sachs invested $15 million to finance Modanisa’s global expansion. The EBRD’s €6.7 billion ($7.5 billion) Turkey portfolio is the largest among the 38 economies where the bank invests.

According to Modanisa’s founder and CEO Kerim Türe, the firm’s secret to success is learning about and understanding the market. A way the company acquires knowledge is through conducting focus groups, a research technique that entails interviewing demographically similar people. 

Market intelligence drove the expansion into Southeast Asia and the selection of local dropshipping partners. This means selling products without keeping them in stock by passing sales orders to a third-party supplier, who in turn ships the order to the customer.

“Since our market entry in 2020, sales grew by 420% within a year,” Samim Surel, Vice President of Marketing and Brand, told Salaam Gateway. 

The retailer also added regionally used payment systems to the platform and Bahasa –a language spoken in the Muslim-majority countries Indonesia and Malaysia – to localise its service.

“We’ll also be a gateway for the Indonesian and Malaysian designers to reach out to Europe and the US, hopefully starting from next year,” CEO Türe said. This ties in with plans to activate marketplace functionalities on the site in 2022. 

“We’re planning to hold our first Modest Fashion Week in London in five years,” said Associate Marketing Director Kahraman, who also oversees the production and promotion of the modest fashion shows, a concept the company debuted in Istanbul in 2016.  

In the future, the addition of new categories like cosmetics and home textiles will add to Modanisa’s revenue stream and change the business from a platform selling modest fashion into a Muslim lifestyle brand.

“Right now, we’re getting heavily into halal-certified cosmetics,” said Surel. The cosmetics category currently adds less than 10% to Modanisa’s bottom line. “We've seen a huge potential and a great response as we increase the selection,” he added.

According to the Dinar Standard’s State of the Global Islamic Economy Report, Muslim cosmetics spending will grow at a five-year CAGR of 2.9% to reach $76 billion by 2024.

Surel, who previously has worked with Nike, Timberland and other global brands as Group Head of Marketing for the Dubai-based Gulf Marketing Group, and his 140 people strong marketing team is motivated to make the shift happen.

“In 10 years, Modanisa will dominate Muslim lifestyle not just modest fashion.” 

 

© SalaamGateway.com 2021 All Rights Reserved

 

Islamic Lifestyle
Avenue of Sphinxes restored after 2,500 years as Egypt boosts tourism

Published 25 Nov,2021 via Bloomberg Politics & Policy - Egypt unveiled a restored 2,500-year-old processional way that’s flanked by ram-headed statues and sphinxes at a glittering ceremony Thursday, its latest step in reviving a tourism industry recovering from the pandemic.

Hundreds of performers clad in ancient Egyptian garb took part in the tightly choreographed evening performance, parading and dancing on the 2,700-meter (2,950-yard) sandstone Avenue of Sphinxes, which links the famed temples of Luxor and Karnak in the ancient city of Thebes on the Nile River’s eastern bank.

Fireworks lit up the night sky accompanied by a soaring orchestral score as the event in the Upper Egyptian city of Luxor attended by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and key government minsters came to an end.

Construction of the original avenue was finished during the reign of Nectanebo I (380-362 BC), one of Egypt’s last native pharaohs whose armies sparred with Persian invaders. It was then renovated by the Ptolemaic Queen Cleopatra, and later used by the Romans.

A 3,000-year-old ‘lost city’ may be new boon for Egypt tourism

The restoration’s one of several projects undertaken by Egyptian authorities in a bid to win back the legions of tourists who used to flock to the country’s ancient treasures before post-Arab Spring turmoil and then the coronavirus took their toll. In April, Egypt staged a grandiose parade to move 22 royal mummies to a new Cairo museum that celebrates the country’s ancient heritage.

Foreign visitors provide one of the North African nation’s main sources of foreign currency. But as the global health emergency froze travel, income dropped by half in the fiscal year that ended in June, falling to $4.9 billion from $9.9 billion in the previous 12 months, according to the central bank.

Latest government figures suggest a recovery is underway, with the hospitality sector expanding 182% during the July-September period.

Luxor, known as ‘The City of a Hundred Gates’ among other names during ancient times, is considered an open-air museum because of its extensive cultural riches.

Thursday’s performance partly recreated a ceremony from ancient times, when the avenue was used during the annual Opet festival and Egyptians paraded statues of Amun and Mut in a symbolic re-enactment of their marriage. Once at the Luxor temple, Amun was transformed into Min, the god of fertility.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P. All Rights Reserved

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Islamic Lifestyle
Saudi Arabia to lift ban on direct flights from Pakistan

Published 26 Nov, 2021 via Dawn - Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry on Thurs­day announced that Saudi Arabia had decided to allow direct flights from Pakistan from December 1 after lifting a ban.

In a tweet, Mr Chaudhry said the Saudi directive would become effective from Wednesday.According to reports in the media, Saudi authorities have decided to withdraw a ban on flights from six countries — Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Egypt, Bra­­zil and Vietnam — and passengers from these countries will no longer be requ­ired to undergo a 14-day quarantine in a third country.

Saudi Arabia had issued temporary restric­tions on travellers from the six countries who had not received two doses of Covid-19 vaccines in the kingdom.

A directive, issued by the Saudi Arabian General Authority of Civil Aviation to all airlines operating in the kingdom’s airports, said: “Allowing direct entry to the kingdom from the Republic of Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Pakis­tan, Federal Republic of Brazil, Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Arab Republic of Egypt, (and) India, without the need to stay 14 days outside these countries before entering the kingdom.

“Institutional quarantine procedures must be applied for a period of 05 days, regardless of passengers’ immunisation status outside the kingdom, with the continued application of exceptions issued regarding some groups in this regard...”

Copyright © Pakistan Herald Publications (Pvt.) Ltd

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Islamic Lifestyle
‘Brush and Cause’ art exhibition shows solidarity with Palestinians

Published 22 Nov,2021 via The Jordan Times - The Mobile Atelier Society, in cooperation with the Kudsi Association Knowledge for Heritage and Culture, has launched an art exhibition titled “Brush and Cause” to show solidarity with Palestinians, according to the general coordinator of the society, Omar Bdoor.

The Mobile Atelier Society was founded in 2014 as part of the Ministry of Culture’s efforts to support art and artists in Jordan.

The opening ceremony took place on Sunday evening at the Royal Cultural Centre.

The ceremony showcased the work of 16 artists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Algeria, Tunisia, Syria, the UAE, Iraq, Egypt, Russia, the US and Taipei in addition to 14 Palestinian artists and 42 Jordanian artists, Bdoor told The Jordan Times.

The “Cause” in the exhibition’s title is the Palestinian cause and the “Brush” is that of the artists, he said.

“That’s what we, as artists, can offer for the Palestinian cause. We show our solidarity using our brushes and paintings,” Bdoor added, noting that “an image can say plenty without using any words”.

Emily Shih, a formative artist from Taipei, told The Jordan Times that art must always be used to support good causes.

“As fellow humans and witnesses to the repeated violations Palestinians face, it is our duty as artists to use our work in order to represent their cause and communicate their suffering,” she said.

The Algerian formative artist Baghdadi Bedndahmane was also among the artists participating in the exhibition.

“I portrayed Palestine in my art through the story of an affectionate elderly woman hugging a barren olive tree and knowing deep inside that its roots are here to stay and its branches will some day yield fruits,” Bedndahmane told The Jordan Times.

Fayez Elhasani, a formative artist from Gaza, said that ever since the beginning of his career as an artist, he made sure to portray the Palestinian struggle in his art.

“I use my artwork to show the world that we have a history and a right in this land and that we will continue to fight for freedom and independence,” he added.

The three-day exhibition, which runs until November 23, will be held again in “Al Quds Festival” in Zarqa on November 25 and in the Professional Associations Complex on November 29, coinciding with the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, according to Bdoor.

© Copyright The Jordan Times. All rights reserved.

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Islamic Lifestyle
Flight-booking site Wingie releases fresh data on air travel trends in the MENA

Published 23 Nov,2021 via bizbahrain - Wingie, a Germany-based flight-booking website, released new data this week on changing trends pertaining to air travel in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The site found that the region’s most popular destinations in autumn were Cairo (11%), Dubai (9%), Riyadh (8%) and Jeddah (8%), while the average age of those booking flight tickets online stood at 36.

“This new data shows how regional air travel is changing – and growing – in the post-pandemic recovery period,” CEO of Wingie Çağlar Erol says. “With so many options now available in the MENA region, booking flights can often be difficult and time consuming. Fortunately, using novel technologies, Wingie has thoroughly streamlined the process.”

MENA’s Most Popular Air Routes
Based on extensive analysis of last season’s flight-booking data, wingie.ae also reported that the region’s three most popular flight routes were all from the Egyptian capital to the Gulf – namely, Cairo-Abu Dhabi, Cairo-Jeddah, and Cairo-Dubai. It also found that those booking tickets from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan generally fly to Dubai in the UAE.

The travel site also released information on how many days in advance users typically buy tickets online. For instance, those traveling to Saudi Arabia tend to book tickets a week in advance; those bound for Egypt book tickets nine days beforehand; and travelers to the UAE buy their tickets an average of ten days before their respective flights.

Finding Connections the Airlines Can’t
In 2019, Wingie launched its LogiConnect technology which employs advanced machine-learning technology to help travelers find the most efficient and cost-effective flight options. “LogiConnect lets users save money and time by connecting those flights that the airlines can’t connect themselves.”

Established in 2014, Wingie lets users choose from among hundreds of thousands of travel options – both in the MENA region and around the world. The popular online travel agency provides services in six different languages, including English and Arabic. In an indication of its rising profile in the global air-travel industry, Wingie now receives more than 20 million visits monthly.

“With its combination of knowledge, experience and cutting-edge technology, Wingie is set to become a major player in online travel in the post-pandemic global recovery period,” Çağlar Erol says.

© Copyright 2021 bizbahrain

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Islamic Lifestyle
Jakarta Muslim Fashion Week showcases Indonesia’s rise as a global modest fashion hub

JAKARTA – The Jakarta Muslim Fashion Week kicked off last week with new collections from more than 35 Indonesian designers.

The event is aimed at heightening consumer awareness about Indonesian modest fashion designers, hosted by the Ministry of Trade in collaboration with the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Indonesia Fashion Chamber.

Indria Miranda, owner of brand Ria Miranda, told Salaam Gateway that the event helps connect brands with customers and was an opportunity to release new collections. It is the second modest fashion event in less than a month, following the Indonesia Sharia Economic Festival (ISEF), which showcased nearly 200 Indonesian fashion designers and some 400 resellers.

“The ISEF event and now Jakarta Muslim Fashion Week (JMFW) gives us the motivation to keep going and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. During the pandemic we adapted to changing consumer behaviour by designing collections that were more relevant, as people were staying at home more. The instant bergo scarf has been very popular. The key is to be consistent (with our designs),” said Miranda.

The pandemic disrupted the industry and changed the way Miranda managed her business, from how she recruited talent to managing the supply chain and the branding strategy. The Ria Miranda brand is available in 26 cities in Indonesia through boutiques managed by its business partners.

Istafiani Candarini, founder of Kamiidea, told Salaam Gateway that the JMFW and other fashion weeks she has attended has significantly increased consumer demand.

“The fashion weeks have been a positive signal for our business. We adjusted during the pandemic, in terms of sales and marketing strategy, themes and the materials we chose for our new collections. We are balancing our offline sales channel with online sales. We are also releasing new collections like loungewear, basics and smart-casual. In term of material choices, we started to develop materials that are environmentally-friendly and comfortable for daily activities during the pandemic period,” said Candarini.

Sales have risen 20% this year on 2020, but have not yet rebounded to pre-pandemic growth rates.

Hannie Hananto, owner of Anemone, told Salaam Gateway that the fashion weeks have helped her brand to slowly recover but are still down by around 30% compared to 2019.

“Last month I attended the Malang Fashion Week by the Indonesia Fashion Chamber, Lombok Syariah Festival by Hijabersmom, and ISEF by Bank Indonesia, and this month I attended JMFW. Through these fashion weeks my customers have returned but its not yet back 100%,” Hananto said.

Hananto has not followed the mainstream trends of global retailers like H&M, Uniqlo and Zara, whuch have released leisurewear orientated collections. Instead, she has focused on colourful and vibrant collections, which is a more niche market.

Becoming a global reference

The Mininster of Trade, Muhammad Lutfi, said during the event that the ministry will regularly hold the Jakarta Muslim Fashion Week each year until 2024, when it is expected to be recognised as an international-level fashion week.

The event is also geared at promoting the Indonesian modest fashion industry by highlighting the richness of the country’s handmade textiles (wastra) such as batik (wax resistant dying), tenun (fabric weaving), and embroidery. JMFW also aims to cement Indonesia's position as a global modest fashion hub.

“Jakarta Muslim Fashion Week can showcase the progress of our modest fashion industry to the world and I hope we can increase our export value,” said Lutfi.

 

© SalaamGateway.com 2021 All Rights Reserved

Islamic Lifestyle
Jordanian short film ‘Why’ competes in Hungarian Disability Film Festival

Published 21 Nov,2021 via The Jordan Times - The award-winning Jordanian short film “Why”, written and directed by Mohammad Rahahleh, competed in the seventh Hungarian Disability Film Festival Budapest, according to a statement by the Royal Film Commission Jordan (RFC).

The five-minute-long short film features a street sweeper in his mid-20s, played by the Jordanian theatre actor Murad Abu Saraya.

The sweeper faces an unfortunate obstacle in his work, unexpectedly receiving help from the main character, a person with disabilities played by Mahmoud Zoubi, Rahahleh told The Jordan Times.

“The main purpose of the movie is to show the power of giving and portray persons with disabilities as sources of power with a lot to offer,” Rahahleh said.

The film also sheds light on a variety of social issues, by using the word “why” to pose questions such as: Why is there unemployment? Why is there sexual harassment? Why do people toss litter in the street?, he added.

“The presence of a person with a disability as the main protagonist and the use of a single sequence scene both increase the authenticity of the events,” said Rahahleh.

Zoubi, who is a first-time actor, said that the single sequence scene was not easy; especially since it involved a lot of walking as the shooting was repeated nine times in one day.

“I am always up for a challenge that gives me the chance to overcome my disability,” he added, noting that it was an “honour” to represent persons with disabilities and show that they too have something to offer for their communities.

“Why”, which was shot in Salt in 2019, first premiered in 2020 and has since taken part in 10 international film festivals. It won the Best Foreign Short Film Award at the ninth Long Beach International Film Festival in New York and the Best Sound Award at the 32nd Voir on International Film Festival in France, according to Rahahleh.

“The film was developed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Arab Aid Organisation in Lebanon and produced by Rana Dabbas with the support of the Royal Film Commission Jordan and Fig and Olive Films,” he noted

The music was composed by Baha Othman, a Jordanian producer and composer, who was part of the sound department of “The Hurt Locker”, which won an Oscar for Best Sound, said Rahahleh.

“The entire crew of the film was made up of Jordanian volunteers who believed in its idea and message,” he added.

The RFC will screen the film as part the “Jordanian Film Caravan” in Jordan’s governorates and the “Film Screenings at Schools” project, and in RFC film centres, according to Rahahleh.

© Copyright The Jordan Times. All rights reserved.

 

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Islamic Lifestyle
Retail obsession drives Kuala Lumpur’s personal shoppers’ hunt for bargains

Personal shoppers and shopaholics kept brands, including modest fashion labels, trading during the pandemic.

 

KUALA LUMPUR: Student Wan Muhammad Muqri has a “passion for fashion” and spends most of his spare time at private sales and secret events looking for discounts on local hijab and abaya brands.

Like him, Noor Azna, a Kuala Lumpur mother and self-confessed shopaholic, relishes queuing up for many hours to snaffle a bargain for her 4,000 impatient customers.

Together, they are leaders in a trend that has exploded in Malaysia over the last two years of lockdown: personal shopping.

“It’s buying things that people want that we find and sell at below retail price,” Wan Muhammad told Salaam Gateway. “My customers don’t have time to go out and find the items themselves, but they are willing to pay us extra money to get fashion for them.”

Over time, he has built up relationships with brands and stores across the Malaysian capital. These even invite him to private sales events they hold for personal shoppers or offer him a preview of a new line because they know he will get their products to his customers within hours.

Noor Azna - who goes by the name Nana - is more interested in beauty and cosmetics, although she will “buy anything that is a good deal.” With other personal shoppers, she was even given exclusive access by Kuala Lumpur International Airport to its duty free stores after the airport closed down during the pandemic.

“They authorised us to come into the building; I was given a boarding pass to come through to the departure area, just to shop,” she told Salaam Gateway.

When you consider the scale of her purchases, it makes sense. In a hard-working month, she can buy and sell some 200,000 units among her group. She posts her stock on social media; when a customer likes what they see, they will buy the item and pay immediately. Nana will then ship the goods and wait for the next buying opportunity.

Wan Muhammad first started personal shopping as a 16-year-old at school as a means to save money. By buying and selling the luxury dUCk brand of hijab to friends - “they were very hot-selling” - he managed to put away 10,000 ringgit ($2,400) pocket money in his first year.

After finishing school, he began joining private sales put on by brand owners who would invite him directly, along with a dozen or so other personal shoppers, to preview new lines or hoover up slow-moving stock for a discount. Now aged 20 and a mass communications student, he hopes to make a career in this form of retail.

Wan Muhammad admits to being obsessed with local designer Nazifi Nasri’s sandals and is a regular middle-man for Abayalubnaa, a Malaysian abaya brand. However, he moves where the market goes, even if this is not in the direction of his favourite brands.

“It’s in my nature. I’m interested in buying and selling. You need to have passion - a passion for fashion. You need to know about trends, and I was born with it - I’m really into fashion,” he said.

Nana, for her part, quit her job in printing in 2017 and began taking orders from friends on the hunt for bargains.

Unlike Wan Muhammad, who buys to order, Nana speculates by buying stock that she thinks will appeal to her market. To get the best prices, she buys in bulk with a syndicate of other personal shoppers. Flush with stock, she then promotes her wares through social media and live sales - a popular digital form of the traditional home shopping networks on television.

In a short time, she built strong relationships with brand owners and stores, and then the pandemic ramped up her business.

“When COVID-19 hit Malaysia, this service became quite important to people. They didn’t want to go out, they didn’t want to queue, so my business grew quickly,” she said.

“There’s been a lot of personal shoppers entering the market since the pandemic. To keep customers loyal to me, I’ll make sure the my service is perfect. If they don’t like their product, I will refund them immediately.”

Personal shoppers have been hailed as the saviours of the Malaysian fashion retail industry during the pandemic, by the industry.

“I don’t know how we would have got through it without them,” an executive at one of Malaysia’s major store groups told Salaam Gateway on condition of anonymity.

“When malls were closed and we were feeling our way into online retail, because that was the only way we could keep selling, these guys came to the rescue by buying up our stock and making sure it kept moving,” he added.

The trouble with this relationship is that it has to be conducted very quietly, for reasons that become obvious.

“We can never be seen to endorse them, since they are effectively buying discount stock, adding a mark-up and then re-selling it,” he said. “They make us look pretty silly, actually, because if you think about it, why aren’t we selling that stock directly to their customers?”

When Salaam Gateway relayed this to Wan Muhammad, he was taken aback, saying: “We don’t go out to save brands; we just go out to get bargains. Anything below retail price is considered cheap, so our customers will be pleased and buy what we get. It’s a simple case of supply and demand, and everyone just ends up happy.”

© SalaamGateway.com 2021 All Rights Reserved


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