Sunday, June 10, 2012

Viennese success story: young Turkish women offer fashion services

Yesterday a very exciting experience in Vienna: I met Melek, a young Turkish woman (age 30) - actually one of these tough  Viennese power girls - who is together with her sister (age 25) the owner of a store in Vienna specialised in fashion services. My visit war on recommendation of a fashion shop owner in the center of Vienna who contracts Melek and her sister for fashion shows when special preparations are needed for acessoires, make-up, nails and hair.

The store is in a rather run down, multi-cultural area in the 16th Viennese district - so not specifically an area where fashion services are in demand (one might think). First it looked like one of these innumerous studios for nails and cosmetics, but these two ladies are very successful and really creative and clever in their way how to "sell" their fashion dedicated services: They organise their marketing via the web and online instruments like Groupon and their service orientations seems to be honored by the market: a full appointment book and eight (!) employees is not so bad for two women younger than 30. From their education they are a hair dresser and a "nail designer".

Was their migrant background any specifically good or bad? Did it help, does it bring additional clients? Was it a barrier? "No", says Melek, one of the young ladies, "not in my opinion. We come from a very modern Turkish family and were free to do what we want as a profession", but she admits that their job and how they organise it is rather unusual for Turkish families of their social background and young women. Their clients are 80% Austrians and the rest mainly Serbs and other nationalities. And the success factors? Melek is not sure, but she states that the service is the most important thing and that they try to be a meeting point for those interested in fashion and fashion services.

It seemed that doing something with beauty in this area with so many empty shops and neglected houses covers a need of people living there. Is it possible, that fashion can have a social component in a surrounding which is disconnected from the wealth and glitter of the big city? May be these are the success factors for their business: Melek and her sister cover a need of the people in their district, and they are extremely ambitious. They simply WANT to do something in fashion and found their individual way to do it in a surrounding which is neither very attractive nor fashion orientated.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012