By Dina Ismail
At the forefront of the Kingdom’s retail scene are three stores – Sid, Life and Studio1. These three seemingly different venues have an important common factor. Any guesses? All have introduced a fresh outlook on fashion, whether it be apparel, home furnishings, or an entire lifestyle to the Kingdom. All are immensely popular with those in Jeddah and Riyadh who are in the know. All owned by Al Amna Group. Finally, all have two extraordinary individuals as part of the team at the helm – Yasmeen Al-Sudairy and Reem Abbar.
The beginning of this business relationship started with the opening of Life in 2003. Life began as the brainchild of Al-Anoud Al-Sudairy, Yasmeen Al-Sudairy’s elder sister and longtime friend of Abbar. It’s inception began in an unlikely place – a business plan for a gadget/home accessories store written as a graduation project by Al-Anoud. The girls’ mother, an entrepreneur in her own right with Studio 1 (which also opened in 2003), was so impressed that she immediately began drawing up plans to bring what started off as a simple school project to reality. Life became so successful that a second branch was opened in Riyadh as well as a mono-brand Paul Frank store in Jeddah based on it’s success in Life.
Both women bring very unique skill-sets to their partnership. Al-Sudairy, an art major, becomes the most animated when discussing her admiration for craftsmanship of a well-made piece and the technical aspects behind it.
Abbar, who graduated from the London College of Fashion as a fashion management major, is the self-confessed fashion-addict. “Reem adores fashion. She really knows how to put pieces together creatively while keeping up with the current season’s trends. I really admire her for it.” Al-Sudairy said of her long time friend and business partner.
In the midst of their success, both women, while exceedingly eloquent and knowledgeable about their respective roles within the organization and their target markets, have maintained a very appealing modesty. “There are many boutiques like ours in Jeddah. Dado, Lo Spazio, Mayass, especially Al-Mayass which was kind of Sid for our mothers. Our marketing style has been what made us unique.” Both women perform extensive research botch regarding the individual brands towards the customer target and purchase and sell accordingly.
Life And Sid
Take for example, Life and Sid. Life’s lines of home accessories, gadgets, publications and apparel appeal to the quirky creative youth who above all wants to be an individual.
Abbar summed Life it up perfectly, “it’s not what you need, it’s what you want!” Sid, in contrast, is Life’s older more elegant sister, which speaks to luxury and maturity in terms of fashion. Both stores are very different and yet both speak to a very specific customer.
Through diligent work and a strong sense of entrepreneurial spirit, Yasmeen Al-Sudairy, Reem Abbar and their families have not only managed to make their stores reach the forefront of the Kingdom’s highly competitive retail market, but to do it with style.
Life & Studio1: Rawda st.
Sid: Roshana Mall, Tahlia st.
Paul Frank: Khayyat in Tahlia st.
Photo Credits: Sidconcept.com