DIAF: First of all, could you please introduce yourselves to the readers, tell them a little bit about Lemuda.com? The word “Lemuda” – does it have a meaning?
LEMUDA: Of course, it is a pleasure to introduce LEMUDA and the people behind it. LEMUDA.COM is an online luxury store introduced in the Middle East, offering a wide catalogue of designer bags, shoes, jewelry, sunglasses and all other accessories that a woman needs to bring out her unique style. LEMUDA also runs timed special sales (limited period sales) for men’s and women’s wear, children’s wear, toys, home décor, beauty products and travel, all at fabulous discounts up to 77%. We are a team of highly experienced professionals in the fashion and online industry, connected by a strong passion for style and trends and operate from Milan and Dubai. We are willing to offer a new service that goes beyond just online shopping…a service which includes additional benefits for our customers; style hints and advice just like a fashion magazine. We are also keen to help users to create their personal style by mixing and matching our high-end accessories with existing pieces from their closet or other easy-to-wear brands.
The name LEMUDA is a new word which is created by mixing the word “Fashion” from Arabic -which is “Moudah”- and words for fashion in Italian “La Moda” and French “Le Mode”. We decided our name as “LeMuda” – which gives a good combination of Euro–Arab tone for our site as these are also the locations where we have started our operations for this site.
DIAF: After the success of net-a-porter, we have caught the trend of Online Shopping here in the ME. It would be safe to say that it has developed considerably as a trade here in the last few years. Thoughts, comments? (In other words, what prompted you to start Lemuda.com here?)
LEMUDA: I believe that the Middle East definitely needs good online shopping options and people are now more reactive than ever towards new projects of this nature. There are many players in this sector right now but the majority of them are worldwide ones and not specific to this region. Our distinctive choice in setting up a local base is to enable us to provide our clients with the best service, both in terms of speed and support.
We are a diverse and experienced team organized in two main offices: Italy and United Arab Emirates. In Milan we have our creative and communication departments and contacts with all the Italian and international designers and brands. It is extremely important to be located in the heart of the fashion industry to be able to provide the best offer to our customers. In Dubai, we mainly deal with local brands, PR and logistics. We are a team of nearly 20 people now but we hope to grow quickly and expand our trade in other key markets.
DIAF: How are consumers reacting to online shopping in this region?
LEMUDA: The reaction to online shopping seems to be extremely positive and lively. In addition to purchases, we receive multiple queries about our products and we are more than glad to provide assistance to our users and reply to all the details that they request for. The response on social media sites like Facebook has also been tremendous with LEMUDA fans nearing the 15,000 mark. Nowadays online shopping is a common way to shop as it is incredibly easy and secure. It is just a matter of letting consumers feel comfortable interacting with our user friendly website with processes which are very intuitive and include just three steps BROWSE-CHOOSE-CHECKOUT.
DIAF: When we talk about online trade, very often, the ‘safety’ factor still arises. A very fundamental question — how safe is it to shop online? How do you provide your buyers with that faith?
LEMUDA: Yes, you are right. Several people are apprehensive to shop online as they are unaware of the sites and their services. Online shopping is generally safe and the possible problems could be solved with a little foresight. We would like to make some recommendations to web shoppers. Of course, always buy from certified websites that guarantee the originality of the products they sell. Also, do not be afraid to make additional inquiries in case of doubt.
Our site LEMUDA is VeriSign certified and is completely safe to shop. As a supplier in this industry, we have equipped our organization with all the tools and services in order to safeguard our customers and serve them with complete transparency. Our customer is our priority and we leave no stone unturned to protect our customer and their rights.
DIAF: How does traditional retail (feel, touch, tangible) shopping affect the world on online shopping?
LEMUDA: In our situation, as we are offering accessories at great discounts, traditional and online shopping is complementary. We invite our customers to purchase clothing from fast-fashion brands and stores and then complete their style with a high-end bag or designer shoes from LEMUDA where they can find offers, promotions and great prices for high-value products.
DIAF: What do you hope Lemuda.com gets known for or what is LEMUDA’s USP with so many other online shopping websites?
LEMUDA: We want our users to see LEMUDA as their personal stylist, helping them match the right fashion pieces to achieve the perfect look for every occasion. LEMUDA newsletters are created like a magazine column, with style hints and shopping guides. We would also like our customers to be an interactive community, taking part and sharing their opinion on our outfit picks. Above all, our focus remains on the fact that it is not necessary to spend a fortune to be fashionable and trendy!
DIAF: How many hits on an average do you get on Lemuda.com?
LEMUDA: We are a new player in this region but we’ve received a great feedback from the market as our pages are viewed by thousands of users every week. It is too early to make predictions for the future but we are confident that the numbers will keep on increasing.
DIAF: Lastly, what kind of growth –as I’m sure you would–do you see for your new venture in the year 2012? Forecasts are seldom in our hands but based on your research prior to starting Lemuda.com, please tell us why you see this business growing.
LEMUDA: There is a huge potential for growth for online shopping websites in this area. As per our pre-launch survey, we would like to reach 100,000 members within the year but we know that this is up to us and our ability to offer the right product to our online shoppers.
Very interesting interview, Federica Mazza you are the best!