Lawyer turned entrepreneur, Rumana Nazim set up her concept store The Edit on Jumeirah road around 11 months ago. “I wanted to do something that would be a step towards altering the retail landscape as it stands,” she said during an exclusive interview with RetailME.
“Here, the retail landscape is all about either shopping, food or galleries. There is still a lack of integrated spaces, akin to a concept store in its real essence. There are probably just one or two concept stores. I felt an urge to take everything that I’m really passionate about and put it under one roof,” Nazim shared.
This desire drove Nazim to set up The Edit, a concept store that combines fashion, food, homeware, art, design and much more. “In order to survive in this market, you have to offer something more than just the norm. You have to offer your customer what she wants,” Nazim stated. “And we have built a customer base in Dubai that is very educated. She is empowered, adventurous, travels and knows what she wants. These women want to look beautiful, classy and elegant. Importantly, they are keen to buy something that is unique. They want to wear brands, but ones that are uncommon. The Edit is that place that offers a curated selection, but at affordable price points.”
“Most of our brands are from London. And most of them I found at London Fashion Week or Paris Fashion Week, but they don’t really exist in any mainstream high street. So, even if you go to London, New York or Paris it is hard to find these brands on the high streets. Pieces designed by these brands have a great aesthetic; it could be a simple white dress, but the way it is tailored make it flattering,” she added. Among the best-selling brands at The Edit are the House of Sunny, a British brand based in London. The other is an Australian brand called Acler.
“We don’t have a lot of local designers. We only have a couple and there is one brand that I have to mention, Bedouin. It is a home-grown label by Andrea who is incredible in the kind of work she does,” Nazim shared.
Spanning 5,000 sqft, The Edit uses its space to hold talks, workshops, seminars, book reading as well as yoga sessions. “We also organise pop-ups and art exhibitions. In fact, we had even organised a menswear event. The space isn’t built like a retail, transactional environment only,” Nazim emphasised. “The idea is to keep our audience engaged.”
While fashion is the more profitable side of the business, food also does well. “Our customers find unique products that are usually not available anywhere else in Dubai. A few of these brands might be available online, but not in stores,” Nazim pointed out.
A self-funded concept, Nazim has not only conceptualised the brand but has also designed the space herself. “I am the designer, delivery person, accountant. It is a real start-up in every way,” she quipped. “I have designed the space end to end – from railings to flooring, signage and everything in between. The idea was to create each area with its own identity, yet come together harmoniously. I love the outdoors-in look and feel and hence we have a tree right in the heart of the store. If the architecture of the villa that we are in permitted, I would have liked more natural light to flow in. But when everything was installed and I was walking around, I was quite scared at one point thinking if it doesn’t resonate well with our audience. Thankfully they really like The Edit and the ambience.”
The store sports an industrial look and feel despite the calm and green hues. “I wanted our space to be comfortable for women as well as for men. The Conservatory space within The Edit, for example, is a wonderful extension of our café, serving as a quiet reading corner. And we will soon launch our art space,” Nazim opined. While the store does not have many digital touchpoints yet, an e-commerce platform is the logical next step.