It is a year since we've launched By.Marlena's first collection. All manufactured locally, every piece is authentic UAE product.
How did By.Marlena come about? I am a strong believer that coincidence it is not.
The inspiration came few years back from questions asked by family and friends "Why do you get your abaya from?". My daughters will proudly reply "Mama had it made in Abu Dhabi". As always, our favorite pastime - Abaya shopping. We get to 'play' designer for our very personal abaya. Choosing the laces, trimmings that suits and exhale when once the abayas are ready.
It wasn't until early last year that I said "Maybe I should start now" ..... and the thought stalled. I wasn't ready.
Few weeks later, I saw it. An inspiration. The logo of a hotel, printed on a very unlikely source. A notebook. Lightbulb moment came to my head. I want my logo in calligraphy. So, logo, checked. nature of business idea, checked. Brand? The sound of cricket played in my head. Mr Hubby said "Just use your name." And Marlena it is.
Middle East Collection is close to our heart. I didn't know what to expect. My idea then was, it's for fun sake. Little did we realize that over last year, we've brought in 3 batches in 2 collection. I'm floored. Never thought abaya is well received there.
Anyways, a year after, I am already looking into the possibility of having my personal choices of abaya designs. Where I get to choose what I want to have as my designs. Why not right?? I would have a better control of the fabric, design and sizes that I want made. Terrific! So, looking back, I don't mind doing it all over again. Seeing the website came alive, abayas in mannequins moved to live models, I flew in for 2 days just to be there for the photoshoot... all those were my challenges that help me grow.
Insya Allah, with the support from beloved hubby, and nawaitu that I wish to set up a company for my daughters to learn in being their own bosses, I will continue marching on. I totally now have 1000% respect for home makers turned online business.