GLOBAL STAGE, RE­GIONAL TAL­ENT

Through Thouqi.com, Linda Darahim is el­e­vat­ing Mid­dle East brands to the global stage

Villa 88 - - Contents -

Thouqi.com’s founder on el­e­vat­ing Mid­dle East brands to the global stage

BORN AND RAISED IN PARIS, and based in what she calls the “Lon­don of the Mid­dle East”, Kuwait, Linda Darahim heads the stylish lux­ury ecom­merce site Thouqi.com, which stocks over 90 re­gional brands and is con­stantly grow­ing.

When it be­gan, she says, the con­cept, en­vi­sioned by HH Sheikh Ab­dul­lah AlSabah, was new to the Mid­dle East.

“The first time we dis­cussed it to­gether, we saw the pow­er­ful trend in the GCC that was com­pletely chang­ing cus­tomers’ shop­ping habits,” Linda says. “Peo­ple were and are still de­mand­ing for an eas­ier way to reach and be reached by all kind of brands and de­sign­ers. And, sin­cerely, only a web­site can of­fer such a large spec­trum of names, styles, col­ors, brands, trends, etc.”

The UAE, says Linda, is “a lab­o­ra­tory for any­one in­ter­ested in fash­ion.” It’s full of trend­set­ters, she adds, not­ing that peo­ple’s styles here even over­take that of Paris: “Any­one would ex­pect some kind of ‘con­ser­vatism’, but it’s just the op­po­site. When I go back to Paris, I even find my­self telling my friends that peo­ple in the GCC are be­com­ing much more stylish than some of them.”

Thouqi.com only fea­tures ex­clu­sive Mid­dle Eastern brands, which have to meet a set of re­quire­ments be­fore they are ac­cepted. “I look for qual­ity, co­her­ence in the col­lec­tion, the cut and the brand­ing,” Linda says. “First, it’s the co­her­ence of the brand in terms of col­lec­tion; it has to be more than just a brand. Af­ter that, [it] needs to have this mix be­tween a modern and Ara­bic vibe. Then, of course, the qual­ity of the ma­te­rial and the cut are de­ci­sive in the process.”

The most im­por­tant fac­tor, how­ever, is the “story be­hind the clothes,” Linda says. “Some­thing that will make the cus­tomer feel that it was made for her.” One of the brands on the site that she is most fond of is Haa De­signs, be­cause its clothes can be worn “from year to year with­out feel­ing that you are out­dated”.

Thanks to eight years of op­er­a­tions, Thouqi. com boasts very ex­pe­ri­enced cus­tomer ser­vice and lo­gis­tics teams and a world­wide fixed de­liv­ery cost. Ad­di­tion­ally, Linda says: “We have the chance to be in touch with cre­ative de­sign­ers and close to cus­tomers who are real in­flu­encers in the re­gion.”

In the next five years, Linda says Thouqi. com will con­tinue ex­pand­ing. “We are al­ways on the look­out for new tal­ent and are con­stantly adding new de­sign­ers to our plat­form. Soon, we will launch ex­clu­sive vir­tual pop-up shops for highly spe­cial­ized brands to keep our of­fer­ing fresh and modern, and add to our ex­clu­siv­ity,” she says.

Ul­ti­mately, Linda’s vi­sion is to give re­gional tal­ent a well-de­served stage to shine: “I want Thouqi to be a plat­form that em­pow­ers and en­ables Mid­dle Eastern de­sign­ers to reach the suc­cess that I know they de­serve.”

@thouqi

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