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Exclusive Interview: Roula Ghalayini Launches a New Campaign for Her Fresh Label

If, two years ago, you asked me to explain my brand’s creative story, I would say that it was very much about the Arab woman. I’m originally Lebanese but I grew up in Cyprus and I only moved back to Lebanon in my teens. I didn’t know what Lebanese was, it was just a word, and I kind of discovered over time what the Arab woman is like.
—Roula Ghalayini

This year, following a successful crowdfunding campaign, Roula, relaunched her handbag label Poupée Couture under a new name—hers, Rula Galayini. Here, reveals her debut campaign under the new identity and discusses with the designer what it takes to launch and sell an emerging brand in the Middle East today.

CATERINA MINTHE: You mentioned that your brand’s story has evolved and that the name Poupée Couture no longer fit?

ROULA GHALAYINI: The notion of Poupée is very girly, almost a bit shy; the Arab woman used to be like that—shy to speak her mind. But the designs are daring and they make a statement. “Poupée” just didn’t represent that at all.

Now, the brand is about a modern woman who is breaking through the glass ceiling, irrespective of where she is from. It’s come full circle—the story is about an international woman who is in touch with herself. By giving it my name, I didn’t lose any brand equity—which I’ve been refining for many years now.

There are various ways to raise funds; you decided to go the crowdfunding route and exchanged shares for money. What led you to this decision?

The idea of crowdfounding attracted me because it was a way to acquire funds and gain expertise and a network, which I hoped to benefit from. The idea of crowdinvesting is that when people buy into your idea and your business plan, they become ambassadors of your brand and want to make it work as much as you do. So automatically, you multiply your team and that was the added value I hoped to acquire from crowdfunding.

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