The ever-so-stylish designer herself, Lulu!
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I actually couldn’t think of anything so I messaged my hubby and asked him this question and he replied, “How you dress up super-fast everyday” and then I thought… yes, I do actually! Haha! My everyday make-up takes a maximum of 5 minutes and I only take 5 minutes to choose my clothes and style my hijab. I’m good to go in 10 minutes! Contrary to what you see in my social media where some people think might take a lot of effort, I really do dress up and go quickly. Usually, the girls and I end up waiting for my hubby when we have plans to go out! I’m pretty much a fuss-free person and on top of having 2 active girls, this is how I stay on my toes as a business woman and a mummy.
What inspired you to start your own company?
What inspired me to open up this business was my family. I started out designing simple dresses for my family. Motivated by my mother, who is a master seamstress and my sisters, this encouraged me to pursue my passion for fashion into a business. On the business end, my father who is a splendid businessman, played a huge role in bringing out the entrepreneurial spirit in me. To tell you the truth, I started out doing business very early! In primary school, I was making friendship bands and selling it to my friends. In secondary school, what I loved to do was to revamp my own clothes or my sister’s clothes that we didn’t plan to use anymore and sell or rent it out to others to wear to special functions or performances.
The Parsha from the Rania collection can be worn as a jubah or a jacket!
Who would you like to collaborate with next and why?
Actually I am in the midst of collaborating with someone special and expanding into a new line this year, insha’Allah. But I’m afraid I’m unable to mention who just yet! But I can tell you why I am collaborating with her. She is someone who is driven and always willing to learn. I respect how willing she is to help others and her ever-so-determined character to interact and improve. We immediately clicked the first time we met and amazingly we both had the same business ideas.
As a Zahara Warrior, what advice would you give someone who wants to start her own company one day?
One word: BRAVERY. Everyone knows that it takes guts to take the entrepreneurial leap of faith but what few people realize is that you have to keep leaping over and over again as long as you are in business. Building a business in not a one-time thing. It is not like a house where you build and then it is done. You have to keep testing, reinvesting, partnering, and taking risks you hope will pay off in order to build a successful company. Be brave to make mistakes and learn from it. Be brave to accept criticism. Be brave to take chances. It takes bravery and courage to be an entrepreneur from start to finish.
The Arwen kaftan, modelled by Lulu’s sister, the beautiful Haney!
Who are your style icons?
My style icon is actually my grandmother, Hababa Munah Alhinduan. She truly inspires me with her young-at-heart attitude and her immaculate sense of style. At a ripe age of 90, she still takes pride in dressing up and looking impeccable at any function. What truly inspires me is her use of colours and how she effortlessly matches them. For example, if she puts on an orange dress and the usual hijab colour to match with would be cream, gold or white. But then you see her taking a sky blue hijab and a copper/turquoise brooch and her whole look is fantastic! And yes, at 90, she still uses bold colours! I have always admired her style.
What is the proudest accomplishment of your life so far?
The proudest accomplishment of my life is building my brand name which is still going strong, alhamdulillah. I started off with just 16 pieces in my first collection for Lulu Alhadad designs and with a very small capital. I worked with what I had and now I have 2 successful businesses under me, my Ready-To-Wear (RTW) collection and Lulu Alhadad Bridal (LA Bridal). I did not take heavy loans. I rolled my money and took my time learning the process. It’s very easy to start a business but definitely not easy to maintain a business. Businesses open up and close all the time. Alhamdulillah I have been up and running for a decade. 2016 is a special year for me because Lulu Alhadad is 10!
The Aisha dress from Lully’s latest collection, ALLy