When Zainab Al Ebrahim turned her eight years of events experience toward the retail realm, she created one of the Middle East’s most unique pop-up experiences. Based in Bahrain, her Cactus District pop-ups were known far and wide for bringing a brilliantly curated selection of regional and international brands together, rallied around a seasonal theme. Each edition was a thoroughly realized experience, down the last detail, from decor and furnishings to ambience and amenities. Stylish women flocked to the pop-ups; as many as 70% of the shoppers were crossing the nearby border from Saudi Arabia to get their hands on Cactus District’s offerings. Noting the particular attention of the Saudi shopper, Al Ebrahim geared up to launch her fourth edition in Saudi Arabia. And then COVID hit.
Like everyone in every industry, far and wide, the pandemic has proven a pivotal point for Al Ebrahim. She had to innovate, even as things were (and remain) uncertain. Brands started approaching her, asking, “Why are you not doing any virtual events?” In an exclusive interview with Savoir Flair, the events and retail expert confesses, “I didn’t like the idea at first, but then Se7enConcept, which is based in Bahrain, approached us with a great idea.”
Like many, Al Ebrahim was forced to take her pop-ups online, but if she was going to have to embrace a “new normal,” she was determined to do it her own way. Cactus District and Se7enConcept partnered together for a unique collaboration, in which Al Ebrahim hand-selected a curated selection of products by seven brands, featured exclusively on the Se7enConcept website. The platform they developed together invited the brands to tell their stories through special weekly edits centered on themes, similar to how Al Ebrahim constructed her physical pop-up experiences.
The collaboration offered two packages to brands, which offered a variety of benefits like listing their items listed on the website for sale, taking part in the weekly edit, receiving home page banners, digital ads, social media posts, newsletter blasts, and more. When it came to lifting up the brands, Al Ebrahim thought of everything.
Even though e-commerce is a relatively new space for the Cactus District founder, she has risen to the new challenges it poses. “Online shopping is much slower than a brick-and-mortar experience,” she shares, and more unpredictable too. A smart shopper will often browse, and add to cart at will, but then not buy immediately, returning hours or even days later to narrow her selection and hit “buy”. While it is slower, it has proven to be a fruitful endeavor both for Cactus District and Se7enConcept, as well as the participating brands.
To support this brilliant collaboration, and the brands it’s spotlighting, you can visit www.Se7enConcept.com over the next two months, and get to know each of the brands in its edit below.
Roma Narsinghani‘s striking jewelry pieces fuse the old worlds of Mumbai’s Art Deco movement with modern, linear silhouettes. As an artisanal jewelry label, Roma Narsinghani rejects mass production, and focuses instead on hand-crafted excellence. Of particular note are the brand’s incredible hair bun cages.
Tassels is a loungewear and sleepwear brand established in 2017. It has created a world of its own by combining luxury and comfort. From cozy pajama sets to be worn in the comfort of one’s home to simple and elegant cotton dresses, Cactus District has dubbed Tassels’ offerings as “walking sleepwear” perfect for casual occasions.
Maya is a Kuwait-based, eco-friendly online store featuring a collection of products and essentials for your everyday life. Each collection is sustainable, feminine, and practical, and is always characterized by pure organic cotton, minimal designs, and a sense of style.
SEVI is a Kuwait-based luxury perfume house that specializes in exquisite ingredients and exceptional aromas. SEVI is well-known for its nourishing hair perfumes, which contain almond oil and Vitamin E that hydrate and imbue your locks with a long-lasting fragrance.
Since opening its e-doors, HIND grew beyond its home base of Kuwait, delivering to customers around the world and expanding its offering to curated partners everywhere that use natural materials, hand-work, and craftsmanship. HIND continually curates seasonal collections with a special focus on Indian brands.
Noon by Noor
Noon By Noor is a luxury womenswear label based in Bahrain, designed by cousins Shaikha Noor Al Khalifa and Shaikha Haya Al Khalifa, and made history by becoming the first GCC brand to show on the official New York Fashion Week Calendar. Since its auspicious beginning, Noon By Noor’s refined aesthetic fuses understated luxury with a tough femininity, creating versatile clothes with lasting appeal.
Sherie is a mother-daughter labor of love infused with both mother Soheyla‘s elegant aesthetic and daughter Sherie‘s more bohemian, playful edge. Its jewelry and home decor creations are designed as one-off pieces handcrafted by the duo, as well as by various artisans. The blend of heritage and modernity, East and West, and old world and contemporary are for confident women who celebrate being multifaceted.