Interview: The Brands Just Pret Trailblazing Trio! (Part II)

by Secret Closet on October 26, 2013 in Interviews

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Leading multi-label store Brands Just Pret added yet another proud moment to their list of achievements within a short span of just less than two years since the label’s birth, with the opening of their fourth international outlet in Abu Dhabi this week. We bring you an exclusive look inside the chic new store located at the prestigious World Trade Center building and continue where we left off of our in depth chat with the talented trio; Hadi Anwar, Somaya Adnan, and Hasaah Hadi. The outlet is already stocking leading labels including Elan, Unbeatable, Ayesha Somaya, and Lifetime along with a host of freshly brewed talent. In the first half of our interview, we discovered how a casual conversation over coffee resulted in the birth of a truly one of a kind brand and the various retail aspects. Now we delve into the designer choices and creative facets of the process, and learn more about the consumer mindset and how the team works to ensure 100% customer satisfaction.

Q) A prominent feature of the designers stocked at BJP is that it comprises of fresh graduates in the fashion field, or women working on a small scale from their homes without extensive training. Does this pose a risk to the business aspect of BJP? How are designers screened and recommended as qualified to be stocked? 

“I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent.”– John Wooden. As we usually hear during Cricket Matches, Pakistan is a country full of talent. Such is true in the field of fashion designing as well. With more fashion focused educational institutes opening all around us, the raw talent has become polished which has helped in narrowing the gap between top tier designers and fresh ones coming straight out of university. This was not the case ten years back. Not everyone has the investment to have their own personal workshops from where they can manage their production. We provide such talented fashion design graduates working from home a production facility plus a stocking platform, something which we were the first to initiate. Now we see other multi designers stores having similar fresh designers like ours stocking at their stores. We wanted to be different, we wanted to do what others were not doing and as Brad Szollose puts it perfectly, “If you really want the key to success, start by doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing.”


Customers on the other hand have become less brand conscious. The focus is now more on quality and affordability, something which we kept in mind before we started. We at BRANDS Just Pret believe that quality in a service or product is not what we put into it; it is what our customer gets out of it. The Designers follow a formal Designer Assessment process for their initial screening and this process is continuous even after the designers start working with us as we provide them with regular feedback. We have a dedicated designer recruitment portal, one of the first of its kind, which can be accessed at www.BJPdesigner.com. The journey of a designer starts from this portal. From there our design team assesses the designs followed by a casual interview with either of the two Managing Directors, Somaya Adnan or Hasaah Hadi to understand the career aspirations of the prospective designer.

Brands Just Pret Partners; Hadi Anwar, Hasaah Hadi, and Somaya Adnan

Brands Just Pret Abu Dhabi outlet

Q) Is there a reason for why the top tier luxury designers are not stocked at BJP as they are at other multi-label stores?

We are not against top tier luxury designers. We stocked quite a few of them initially when we launched our first store. But the honest (bitter for some) truth is that with some of the new designers offering similar design aspects and quality bundled within a competitive price, did not leave us with much choice but to focus on grooming fresh talent. This is why we consider ourselves more of a fashion institute where we take raw talent, provide them with a production facility, a stocking platform, guide them on their marketing aspects and grow them as a brand. This is exactly why some of the first timer stockist designers who started with us, are (within a year) now stocking at other reputable multi brand stores proving our philosophy on grooming fresh talent. Having Somaya, a seasoned designer, on the management team certainly helps. Not many of our competitors have the advantage that we do.



Q) BJP is renowned for their regular fashion presentation events to introduce new collections and engage audiences through fun entertaining get togethers at all four of their store locations. This characteristic is unique to BJP, tell us about the strategy behind this feature?

Our strategy was to be extremely active from day one. It benefits us, our designers and our customers. For example, in Dubai, we have regular coffee mornings on a weekday so all mothers have a place to come and shop in peace when their children are at school and husbands at work. We like being connected and engaged with our customers by hosting mini fashion cat walks within our stores. It gets our designers the media attention they deserve. As we said earlier, we provide our designers with a full package and not just a stocking platform.

Q) Is there a difference between the set of designers and genre of clothing stocked at BJP in the UAE and in Pakistan? Is there a difference in price points by location?

We made sure that all our stores focus on a different target audience and hence we have quite a few designers who are not available at all our stores. We want to offer our customers what they prefer to buy and which is according to their taste, having the same designers at all locations would not help us in meeting this requirement. Given the short distance between Pakistan & UAE, our price points are similar across all our stores and we have made sure we maintain that price advantage for our customers in the UAE.

Q) How would you describe consumer tastes in UAE relative to Pakistan? There must be a marked difference in fashion preferences.

There are a number of different nationalities in the UAE who visit our store. Being in the mall always helps us in understanding who our real target audience is and this is how we can focus on them. Customers are quite different however their choices are quite similar in terms of quality & type of collection.

Q) Will BJP consider bringing forth its own in-house label in store in the near future? A lot of designers are also venturing into children’s clothing,will BJP be entertaining these designers going forward?

An in house label has been discussed internally but we feel that our focus should be on our designers and not on our inhouse line. At the end of the day, we should not forget that we are a multi brand store. We are quite aware that other Multi Brand Stores have their own in house lines and we know for a fact that they give their own lines more preference than their designer’s products.Children’s clothing is a tricky market to be in. We thought and discussed it for a long time earlier on but the feedback we have received was not very positive.

Q) There is a growing awareness of Pakistani designers in India and vice versa. Would BJP consider adding designers from across the border to its stores?

Indians love to wear Pakistani clothes and we know that well due to our two sell-out exhibitions held in Mumbai. Healthy competition between designers and their products is extremely fierce in our stores. We have stocked a few Indian designers in our Dubai store but they could not compete with Pakistani designers when it came to designs and pricing. That said we still have a few designers from India stocking with us at our Dubai store.

Q) Many aspiring designers and those looking to expand their reach may be reading this interview. How would you advise them so they may be able to better meet the criteria set out by BJP to stock at their stores and excel professionally in general in their careers?

It is a known fact that BRANDS Just Pret focuses on fresh blood and new talent, something not many stores do. Being a fashion institute in its own way, we have the facility to provide guidance and support while completing the entire lifecycle covering designing, sampling, production and stocking and we can help aspiring designers as we have previously. The management team is extremely hands-on and works hard on new and upcoming designers who are passionate about designing. We understand that there are no magic wands, no hidden tricks and no secret handshakes that can bring immediate success but it is only with time, energy and determination one can get there. We excel in transforming talented designers into known brands and retail labels. All new designers can register at www.BJPdesigner.com to create their profiles and upload their new designs for us to assess. Trendy and affordable is our main focus and that will not change.

If you missed the first half of our interview with the BJP Team Click here to catch up! The new outlet is now open at Store L1-08, World Trade Center, Khalifa Street, Abu Dhabi, UAE. For more details of the other outlets visit the BJP Profile Page

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