Alina Iftikhar - CEO of Silaayi
City: Karachi Brand: Silaayi Launch: Jan 2013
1. Tell us something about yourself and your education?
I am Alina Iftikhar, a person full of life! I did my bachelors in Media Sciences (with majors in Advertising) from Szabist in 2012. I have always been passionate about advertising and copy writing, however it was my dream since childhood to become a Fashion Designer. All my life I have received compliments on the way I dressed, so designing clothes was something which came almost intuitively. Even as I worked in ad agencies, I always knew I had to do something on my own, something that I loved even more and finally I managed to launch Silaayi.
2. What inspired you to start your apparel brand – Silaayi?
There is always a need of some new and fresh ideas in the market and I believed my love and passion for clothes will bring in something innovative. It was then, just a matter of waiting for the right time since everything takes much more longer than we assume it to, but in the end the wait was definitely worth it!
3. What makes “Silaayi” different from other brands?
Silaayi is all about creating a new trend, quality and integrity. I always make sure I add in a different touch to whatever I create so that my brand stands out, and all the gorgeous ladies get something pleasing and different to wear. It’s very important to concentrate on what makes you DIFFERENT so that your clients get the highest value for their price!!
4. What factors help you in promoting your business?
There are a lot of factors involved such as creativity, positivity, hard work but the most important of all is focusing on your customer service. The way you deal with the customers, is the main key because a customer is buying from you based on your unique and personalized customer service and your superior product quality! For instance, for me getting a new client is an amazing feeling but what is even more motivating is that our clients from 2013 are still ordering with us, which I believe is a true achievement.
5. Where do you see your brand in next five years?
My vision is to make Silaayi a successful clothing brand in the international market. I want it to be EVERYWHERE…on the ramps, outlets. Whatever the occasion, Silaayi should be the number one option to wear and that too at affordable prices. I have really high hopes, and for those I am working continuously to make sure that it reaches to a point where everyone knows what SILAAYI is. We have successfully launched Silaayi Formals including Bridals and soon “Silaayi Men” would be launched.
6. What are the different challenges you faced when you started this venture?
Conducting an online business transaction has a unique problem that the customer cannot exactly feel and touch the product at sale. Thus, trust in the brand that what is being shown over online images will be delivered, plays a big part in customers purchasing this merchandise online. The other main challenge was to show and then maintain the market presence and keep producing unique and latest designs.
7. What advice you would like to give new and young entrepreneurs?
Starting a business is all about taking a risk. So if you think you have what it takes, then don’t let anything stop you. Take the first step and you never know it may do wonders for you. I believe that: “You don’t always need a degree to do something. If you have the passion, sense and ability then nothing is impossible. Inspiration is all around us so get inspired, work hard and you can achieve anything. Just do what you love if you are really passionate about it and work will become fun!”
8. What is your personal style?
My style is : Silaayi
9. Current projects?
Currently, for casuals we have recently launched our summer collection which is now available online. Apart from this, we are working on our new formal collection which has an interesting blend of net, handwork…something which you all should definitely look forward to. Also, we are working on a musical project for which Silaayi is doing the costumes…so Alhamdulillah there are a lot of things happening side by side!
10. Biggest achievement?
I believe making a mark of the brand in the market in such short span of time is surely one big achievement however for me the biggest achievement has always been and will always be my clients coming back to me! Like nothing makes you happier than the fact that your customers are happy and they will come to you AGAIN.