Monday, 9 August 2010

Hijab Style Exclusive: Bellissima Interview

Hijab Style loves to find out about the people behind our favourite brands, and today's interview is with Hadia Himmat, founder of Bellissima Scarves.

Jana: Tell us a little about yourself?

Hadia: I’m Hadia. I have two beautiful young children, Rashed and Omar. I used to practise Law, first in Italy and then here in the UK before the birth of my first child. My parents are originally from Syria, but I lived in Italy since birth and I grew up there, in a little village close to Switzerland, until I moved to London 7 years ago.

Jana: What was the inspiration behind Bellissima?

Hadia: Growing up between my Syrian origins and my Italian upbringing, I have developed a special blend that fuses the best of both worlds. This has created in me a passion for Islamic fashion. I’ve always tried to find clothes that both conform with the Islamic dress code and are elegant and fashionable. I’ve always believed that a scarf is not just a piece of cloth, it is part of one’s personality; it plays an important role in how you feel about yourself and the impression you leave on others. Because of this, I used to always visit textiles outlets to find suitable hijabs that would cater for my different needs: from my need in the work place to look professional, to my need to find elegant hijabs for special occasions. This developed my understanding of textiles, materials, designs, finish, and fashion.

As the years went by I had an idea: rather than buying ready-made scarves, why not produce my own scarves to be exactly the way I like them? I thought that if I did this I could then share it with others so that they can also enjoy high quality scarves that have been produced with the professional western Muslim woman in mind. After long research and experimentation, I was ready to launch my own line of scarves; Bellissima Scarves was born.

Jana: Why did you choose to have the scarves produced in Italy rather than the UK?

Hadia: Italy is world-famous for style and good taste in fashion. And when it comes to fabric, Italy has the best quality textiles available in the market. Most of the textiles factories have centuries of experience and do not do mass production but cater for the needs of their customers as individuals. People travel from across the globe to come to Italy to buy and produce exclusive, high-quality fabrics.

I bought many scarves in the past from different Muslim outlets but I was never really completely happy with them: it seemed that one always had to compromise; so either the finishing wasn’t well done, or the fabric was poor and easily worn out. I thought, being Muslim doesn’t mean that I have to compromise on quality or standards. Therefore I wanted to produce something that is high in terms of the quality, the fabric, the finishing and the design, something that Muslim women would feel proud to wear. Italy therefore was the obvious choice for me.

Jana: Aside from your website, how else do you reach out to your target customers?

Hadia: Since starting the business nearly a year ago I’ve quickly come to learn that having a great product and a website is not enough, as people need to know that it exists. As a result I have managed to get Bellissima Scarves to be reviewed on different websites and magazines. Many people also still prefer the old way of buying where they touch, feel, and try the product; therefore I try to attend as many major events as possible.

I also organise ‘Tea Parties with Bellissima Scarves”. I do this regularly at my own place. Visitors come to have a look at the collection, try on the scarves, and get style tips. There’s no obligation at these occasions but most people end up buying when they see the quality of the scarves and the beautiful colours and patterns. These occasions are also an excuse to meet friends, have a good time and also try the Italian food that I love preparing.

I also get invited to attend ladies' gatherings where sisters get the chance to see the collection. If any of your readers are based in London and are organising gatherings, they can get in touch and I’ll bring along my collection so all their friends can shop and socialise at the same time!

Finally, word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool. Therefore many of my friends and customers, after experiencing Bellissima Scarves, have recommended it to others, who in turn pass on the word. I’m very grateful to all of them for their enthusiasm and support!

Jana: As a business owner, do you feel that companies can contribute positively to their communities?

Hadia: Of course companies need to put something back into the community. As the Prophet (pbuh) says: “all of you are ‘shepherds’ and all have a responsibility towards their flock”. Therefore, we should always feel responsibility for each other and try our best to help out in different ways, whether through words of advice, through raising awareness, or through financial help and donations. Bellissima Scarves are regularly donated to charities to be used as auction items to raise funds for good causes.

Jana: And finally, what can we expect from Bellissima in the future?

Hadia: Bellissima will always strive to raise the bar with regards to quality, elegance and style. I’m regularly visiting Italy to keep up with the latest in fashion, and I’m always trying my best to fuse that with our Islamic principles, so that Muslim women can always look their best while adhering to Islam. I am working currently on our Autumn and Winter Collection, and I promise your readers that they will not be disappointed with it. The new collection will be launched in October, so keep checking the website to be amongst the first to see it.

Finally, as Ramadan is just around the corner, I wish you and your readers a Ramadan filled with blessings and after that a joyous Eid. I’d like to share with your readers that we’re introducing a special Ramadan offer so that you and your loved ones can celebrate Eid in style. Don’t miss out, check Bellissima Scarves for details of our unmissable sale.


Saba said...

Wow, these scarves are beautiful, simple, and elegant. Masha'Allah.

Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

These scarves are gorgeous- so classy, feminine and sweet! Unfortunately I live in South Africa and it would cost s fortune to buy 1 scarf that's on SALE... :( still.. They are MashAllah.. Jana you have one FABULOUS blog!! :)

Hadia said...

Thank you for showing interest in our collection :)
As for our sister from South Africa, I do understand your point. However, I have a suggestion. We have currently a Ramadan Special Offer: FREE delivery on an UK orders and FREE delivery on worldwide orders over GBP40. So you could find some friends over there and together you can order more than a scarf and no shipping cost will be on you.
I hope this helps ;)
Ramadan Mubarak to everyone.

Umm Amirah said...

These are simply beautiful. Can't wait to order some to add my collection.


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