Saudi based fashion e-tailer, The M Project has become an exploration of digitalised forms to broaden the mind of the 21st century market in the Middle East. Now the Founders speak exclusively to TFH about 'Championing the industries leading talents' and how they 'sit at the cutting edge of fashion, combining the luxuries of a boutique shopping experience with the immediacy and convenience of online commerce.'
What’s your morning routine?
It’s different every morning, but usually I (Fatma) hit the gym and Nouf goes straight to the office and starts checking her emails.
What’s your usual coffee order?
Fatma: Skimmed milk cappuccino.
Nouf: I'm not a coffee person! I much prefer tea.
Did you feel that a platform like The M Project was lacking in the GCC region, particularly Saudi?
Absolutely! With the rising popularity of e-commerce worldwide, we felt that the GCC region was somewhat left behind. Of course there are many websites that ship worldwide but we felt that in launching The M Project we were offering the the region and our local customers curated access to an amazing range of contemporary designers.
How does your website differ from other online platforms?
We spend a lot of time insuring we have a very good balance of brands, which cater to a variety of aesthetics while staying true to the DNA of the M Project. When we began buying for The M Project, it was apparent that Fatma & myself had different approaches to fashion and styled ourselves in almost opposite ways, but we wanted our site is be a common ground for woman like ourselves who want to feel comfortable channeling a range of styles. As for the website, layout design and branding we wanted it to be elevated, clean and set us apart from other ecommerce platforms. We offer a very contemporary and edgy brand mix, situated in the middle market - neither high luxury nor high street – our brand mix introduces our consumers to a new range of brands and allows them to buy into their favourites.
Image: M Project
Are you trying to break the boundaries with your online platform in terms of women becoming more experimental with their choice of clothing, particularly in this region?
For sure, we try to do it with people from all regions. We like to encourage our customer to buy into the fashion pieces rather than stick to the basics, because that’s what our store is all about.
Throughout the month of May you’re having flash sales every Tuesday, which three designers should your customers add to their cart?
How do you keep the balance of Western trends with Eastern traditions on The M Project?
Good question. Around the year we like to keep it trend focused. The challenge starts with seasons like “Ramadan” for example, when the season of Ramadan comes we like to combine beachwear i.e. beach dresses and kaftans and turn them into an upscale Ramadan look. That’s why the second of our Flash Sales is themed The M Project Holiday Shop, as we know women in our region are starting to prepare for this season. As well worldwide – everyone is thinking of the summer holidays! Our calendar time naturally changes in seasons, this year Eid coincides with summer so for our spring summer buy we focused on dressier looks
With the outbreak of fast fashion and commercialization (everyone wanting to look the same) how do you predict your buying behaviors, ensuring that your product selection will sell?
That’s really the challenge! We obviously try to channel certain trends to make sure our buys are in line with wider fashion story but we always want to push our customer to try the look with a bit of a twist – something unexpected.
Who do you think the most relevant people in fashion are today and why?
We think it’s a collective effort - from big fashion houses to well respected publications. With the rise in social media, influencers & stylists are branching out and newly discovered designers are bucking the trends to establish something fresh. At the end of the day it’s all a matter of taste and who you look up to as inspiration.
What’s the best thing about owning your own online store?
Who is the M girl?
The M Girl is daring and not necessarily concerned about being in runway looks, she takes risks and would style a high fashion piece of clothing with some high street and make it look amazing. She is very well exposed and travels a lot.