THE INTERVIEW - elmuda FOUNDERS
Posted on 18 July 2015
“Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness, simply didn’t know where to go shopping.”
A layer here… a layer there… and so began the story of Elmuda.com. Thanks to the work of two founders – Ruba Abdulhadi and Badea Jaber – a luxury on-season fashion e-commerce and social platform for the Middle East market was born. Each creator, with her own layer, has collaborated to forge a diverse website catered for regional fashionistas: while Badea is colorful, casual and a lover of summer dresses, Ruba is a die-hard lover of all things fashion who likes her pieces snug tight in the style of an Hervé Léger bandage dress! Read on to get more exciting details about the dynamic duo behind the Middle East's online luxury destination.
1. Tell us about how your fashionable story unraveled.
Ruba: Growing up in a small town in Palestine, I didn’t have much access to fashion but had much passion for it. I always felt fashion was my defense mechanism. I remember I used to wait passionately for Eid so I can buy new clothes and if my mom bought anything new without me, it was the end of the world. To this day, that’s how I think of fashion: I can compensate all my weaknesses with fashion. I love how you can tell the most about someone from the way they put things together, fashion can be an outlet for your thoughts and you can be loud about it. Creating this business for me is very personal, just giving people access to everything we thought we couldn't reach and only see on TV.
Badea: [laughing] Well, my story is not so fashionable. Although I studied political science at Duke University, I never worked a day in that field. It’s not just that – I have jumped from industry to industry from real estate, hospitality and economics consulting to wardrobe styling for a film to program coordination for a nonprofit organization and, most recently, to journalism where I worked at U, a local fashion magazine.
2. How did the two of you decide to partner up?
Badea: I met Ruba through one of my cousins at which point we immediately hit it off, exchanging our respective life stories. When I got to what I do professionally, being the senior Editor at U, her eyes lit up. Without hesitation, Ruba explained that she was starting a new fashion website plus a magazine app for which I would be the perfect match as editor. It was then that my eyes lit up, and the rest is history. She had me at fashion.
3. So why did you get into e-commerce and not just open a store?
Ruba: I’m Palestinian living there taught me the importance of having access because we never had it. I was determined to create “something” I wasn’t sure what at the time, that will give people the power to choose & have access to what they want. I no longer want to read about fashion or see it in movies I want to have the choice to get it. Moving to the states introduced me to the online and I became an online shopper addict I was fascinated with the idea of being able to buy anything and everything I want. E-commerce gives people access to almost everything and to your door step.
Badea: I love the concept of efficiency in general, and it just so happens to stretch to shopping as well. I’m always on-the-go in life – whether for work, friends, family, yoga or hiking – and shopping online is simply music to my ears.
4. What role do you play at Elmuda.com?
Ruba: Technically everything as we are still a growing company except for writing; that’s Badea’s specialty.
Badea: I am the Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the magazine’s content. Always on the lookout for great features to cover, I plan and shape the content for the bi-weekly issue. Together with Ruba, I research, brainstorm story ideas for upcoming issues, discuss how to adapt articles to the particular theme at hand and represent / promote our website and magazine through press and networking events as well as interviews.
5. What is the feel of the winter collections you chose for this month?
Ruba: Usually winter comes with dark colors, but not this year – instead I’m feeling the pastel and white, more of the natural hues. Shearling jackets, nude knits with some tonal ankle boots
6. Describe the Elmuda.com brand in three words.
Ruba: Beautiful, pacey and sharp.
Badea: Eclectic. Chic. Unique.
7. What makes Elmuda.com different from other international fashion websites?
R&B: Elmuda.com doesn’t just offer global and regional designers’ fashion but also interviews with said designers, a peak at Arab celebrities’ fashion and how to get their look.
8. Who is your all-time favorite designer?
Ruba: There is always the new up-and-coming designer that I fall in love with, but my all-time favorite would have to be Chanel.
Badea: Although new to the scene, Italian designer Stella Jean is by far my dearest designer! Her fashion is colorful, feminine yet tomboyish at once. Shout out to Giorgio Armani for choosing Stella Jean as his protégé and for asking her to present her Spring/Summer ’14 collection at his show space, the Armani Teatro, during Milan Fashion Week.
9. How would you describe your personal style? And who is your style icon/idol?
Ruba: I like two sides: the Hervé Léger bandage dress that sculpts and enhances your body, and the t-shirt, sweat pants and heels look with huge earrings. Cara Delevingne has that combination of a character.
Burberry Brit Shirt
J Crew Pants
Kate 120 Leather Pumps
Stella Jean Skirt
Jimmy Choo Sandals