When twin sisters Rawan and Suzan Alsadi began wearing the hijab, they realized that the market does not cater to their fashion needs. The two Palestinian-Jordanian ladies living in Dubai, always had to compromise when it comes to the way they look: even if the outfits available were ‘hijab-friendly’, they would be boring: basic cuts, classic colors, and less stylish touches.
That’s when the idea of launching a design house came to their minds.
However, the young ladies’ passion for fashion creation had to be postponed for a while. Their mother had a typical Middle Eastern mindset where fashion design was not acceptable for a career.
Thus, they had to pursue their degree in finance at the American University of Dubai, and graduated in May 2014. Shortly after, they relied on their academic know-how to found the fashion business.
“This was one thing that differentiates us. There are many talented girls, but they have no academic background to help them run a business,” added Alsadi.
They started Rozan Designs in June 2014 in Dubai, to provide high-end fashion, for both hijabis and non-hijabis. The name Rozan derived from combining their names.
Fashion from A to Z
Inspired by international designers like Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad, Rozan Designs covers all the fashion needs of the Middle-Eastern ladies: from trendy tops, with matching veils, chic pants, and well-styled dresses.
The entire process of launching a collection is handled by the twin sisters, from design, to cooperating with the tailor who takes care of the execution of the pieces, until the collection hits the market. The design house launches two collections per year.
Rawan designs the 'safe bestsellers’, the ones that the general public would usually like. But, Suzan takes care of the ‘outrageous signature’ creations, which bring more daring cuts and styles, and experiment with new, different-looking designs.
“Most of daily wear items, do not wrinkle. Our white fabric is not see-through. To add to that, we also provide evening and special occasions clothes,” highlighted Rawan. The girls focus on bringing solutions that their fellows might face, such as designing high-neck shirts to avoid revealing their necks on windy days, when the hijabs might fly. “We’re not grey and black, we’re super colourful!” said Suzan.
Rozan Designs sells via Whatsapp, Instagram, or through its strategic partner, Modacorner. Their social media sales are however doing better than their Modacorner ones.
“We learnt marketing and developed our futuristic look through our internship during sophomore year. This is why, whenever we hit the market, our designs first look weird, but soon, they become a trend.” During their sophomore year, the sisters benefited from their internship with Namshi to develop their research skills and to mature their ‘futuristic look’. This helped them to know which designs have the potential to become the next big trend.
As their slogan ‘Look good and feel right’ suggests, Suzan believes that one does not have to compromise the way she looks or the way she feels. “We are our own clients. We see what clothing difficulties girls may face, and try to avoid them in our designs,” she said.
A turning point
In November 2014, Alsadi twins received the ‘Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs’ award for Rozan Designs, in the Stars of Business Awards Gala. Likewise, Rawan and Suzan were guests in a number of televised interviews on channels like MBC, Al Aan TV and Rotana Khaljia.
In February 2015, Rozan Designs won the second place in ‘Hadafi’ competition for Women Entrepreneurs. It was a turning point for their business, as it drove Aramex to approach them for a partnership. Since March 2015, Rozan Designs has been shipping worldwide. The startup ships across the globe, but the main customers are from the GCC and Jordan. International clients know about them through social media (Instagram mainly, and Facebook), Modacorner, and through word of mouth.
Rozan Designs deals with a couple of influencers, such as Nada Nadir and Tassneem Abu Seedo among others, as models for photoshoots. After posting pictures of their designs on Instagram, they receive clients’ orders through Whatsapp or through Modacorner.Their products are then shipped via Aramex. Prior to Aramex, the startup used to ship via a delivery agency and Emirates Post.
Success and future plans
In 2017, their third year of business, the Alsadi sisters started reaping the fruit of their two-year long hard work. They have 34.2K Instagram followers, and sell to higher end clients. They even started making profits, without revealing any additional details. “When we started, we were too young, and many took advantage of us. But after every failure, we learnt a lesson, and became more determined.”
When they kicked off their venture, they were seen as new competitors in the market, and standing out was hard. Being girls was not helping either. Tailors were not very collaborative as they considered them naive. It even took tailors a longer time to deliver the items. “When I asked my tailor for items, he always took his sweet time to work on them, but when I pushed my brother to speak to him, I received them instantly. Although the UAE empowers women in so many ways, the society is still male-dominant,” said Rawan.
Additionally, some befriended designers attempted to copy their designs and launch them as theirs before Rozan does.
When it comes to future plans, the company is self-sufficient and is not looking for additional investments. However, the sisters are willing to expand and to form a team. They are looking to add fashion designers and web developers.