Last year in July, Founder Aqeelah Nulair of A’la Hijab Store plunged into e-commerce with her selection of hijab wraps featuring colors and quality.
While A’la continues to dazzle its client base growing more steeply, we speak to Aqeelah about embracing religious customs and a classy look. Edited excerpts from an interview:
1) Can you tell us about the inception of A’la Hijab Store and what inspired you to start it?
As an individual who loved creativity, art and design, my ideas always revolved around pens, crayons and paper. I stepped into the fashion industry on a sideline at the age of 16 as a fresher taking part in several fashion shows — despite having next to no solid education in fashion. I was able to design with the inborn talent that I possessed. No sooner my higher education was completed in 2017, I decided it was time I put my hands on something I felt truly passionate about — to start my own venture.
Being a Muslim, dressing modestly is paramount. I loved detailing, accessorizing in keeping with the latest hijab trends slowly realizing that it wasn’t just me, but the majority who were ‘hijab conscious’ or ‘hijabi’. So it wasn’t a surprise when I chose to venture on fusing fashion trends along with faith to cater to hijabs that strike a balance between comfort, style, and modesty.
In the late of July 2017, after much planning and support from my loved ones, A’la Hijab store was born. If not for my loving husband’s unfailing support and encouragement, A’la would not have seen the light of day. I’m also grateful to my mum for being the driving force and biggest strength in all my endeavors.
2) Do you only specialize in headwraps? If not, what other apparels are available for your customers?
We offer a wide range of headwraps — from premium cotton shawls, chiffon and georgette shawls to even cinch cotton and crinkled shawls. We have also introduced the ‘Pretty Pastel Collection’ inclusive of pastel coloured headwraps. Our ‘Floral Inspiration’ features floral hijabs which were high in demand initially. Our customers just loved each and every design!
Recently we pinned the modest wear ankle length cardigans to our clothing line and hope to further introduce other modest outfits in the near future.
3) Any advice to other young Muslim women wanting to establish similar stores conforming to Islamic modesty?
Hijabis have very little selection in retail clothing outlets. Mainly because they contradict with the modest principles. When shopping for myself, either the top appears too short, or it seems too figure hugging that you end up deciding not to purchase it.
We need to bridge the gap and cater to a variety of modest apparels for those who are keen on Muslim fashion. And my advice to all young entrepreneurs: think out of the box, escape from the ordinary and try to introduce something unique, this would help you grow. Be passionate and love what you’re doing that’s when you can absorb the full satisfaction in what you do. I put my heart and soul into A’la Hijab store despite the busy schedules, from the flat-lay product photography, responding to all the constant messages that fill up our inbox, to packaging and dispatching the orders.
Those of you who have an idea to kick-start a new venture, yes you should! Most of all, your journey will be much lovely as long as you enjoy and know the purpose or cause of what you are doing.
4) How has social media played a role in marketing your e-store?
Social media has been an amazing platform for businesses to reach out and show the world what they offer. In relation to A’la Hijab store. Instagram has done wonders in so little time. Not only have we been able to reach out and tap the right customers, through our product feed, we have also been able to showcase what exactly we offer and how they stand out.
It has been so convenient to communicate with the customer, confirm and process orders in no time. Through comments and tag tools, customers get to interact, voice out their opinions and thoughts on their new grabs. All in all, I believe all other online stores out there will join me in saying that social media has been nothing but productive in aiding us to market our products to a wider audience at a given time.
5) Any popular Muslim fashion icons you admire and why?
With the rise of many new fashion bloggers on social networks, there has been a few who have tremendously inspired me with their sense of Modest Fashion.
Running her own Abaya brand ‘Inna Daur’, Innah Daurova whose page I came across around last year. Her style and sense of modesty are amazing! I also admire Jasmine Fares (@jasminefares) for her jaw-dropping Instagram posts on Muslim fashion. Other modest Muslim bloggers include Hanan Tehaili (@hanantebaili) Samia (sauf.etc) and Hajara Tariq (@hajara_aaa) for their choice of hijab styles and fashion influence.
A’la Hijab Store operates as an online store with deliveries available island-wide at reasonable prices. Do check out their Instagram at http://instagram.com/alahijabstore
Pics courtesy: A’la Hijab Store