GLOBAL STAGE, REGIONAL TALENT
Through Thouqi.com, Linda Darahim is elevating Middle East brands to the global stage
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she is most fond of is Haa Designs, because its clothes can be worn “from year to year without feeling that you are outdated”.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.”