Inside Emirati kandura brand Telal's Guinness World Record-winning luxury mobile store
The Mizbar Al Azya service brings the shop – in a fitted out Mercedes-Benz Tourismo – straight to a customer's doorstep
The pandemic has forced many businesses to adapt to a new order of life. Some have found the transition difficult, while others have navigated it seamlessly. A few have emerged more focused, resilient and creative than before.
One such business is Emirati menswear brand Telal, which used the stay-at-home measures to double down on its commitment to its core clients.
Telal has been making bespoke kanduras and other traditional wear for men since 1987. Yet, as the pandemic raged on and its stores remained closed, the team realised they needed to come up with a new way of reaching clients.
Inspired by the delivery culture that sprang up in the wake of Covid-19, Telal’s director Hassan Thurabi decided that if clients were unable to come to the store, then the store must go to the clients.
“During the first wave of the pandemic, I observed increasing orders by call and email, and a decline in walk-ins,” Thurabi says. “We are a customer-centric business, and our USP is our in-store service. So, I proposed a plan where Telal takes the same in-store service, quality products and elegant showroom experience to our customers' doorstep, [albeit] in a safe shopping environment.”
Thurabi realised a large vehicle could double as a store-on-wheels, a choice for which he went straight to the top. “We decided to go with the largest bus available in the market, the Mercedes-Benz Tourismo, convert it into a store and provide a convenient shopping experience.”
As a historical fixture across the Emirates, Telal has dressed the military, the police, industry leaders and even royalty for decades. So when it came to designing the interior of the mobile store, Thurabi knew every detail had to be faultless. The bus is refitted into a sleek mobile atelier, complete with floor-to-ceiling cabinets, a plush carpet and blacked-out windows for privacy.
Within, Telal offers a service called Misbar Al Azya, which literally translates as "probe of fashion". Or, more poetically, fashion without restriction. It allows clients to summon the mobile atelier with a phone call, an email or through social media to their location, be it home, office or even a summer camp.
Thanks to shelves filled with the same refined clothes, high-end na'aal (sandals), accessories, bags and even perfume found in-store, clients can come on board and lean on the skill of the tailors to order a made-to-measure kandura, bisht, ghutra or keffiyeh, exactly as they would in one of Telal’s 24 brick-and-mortar stores across the UAE.
“We are the first-ever fashion company to register a bus as a mobile fashion store under the UAE Government,” Thurabi says.
However, one recognition he had not anticipated was the bus being awarded the Guinness World Record for the World's Largest Mobile Clothing Store, in May.
“We have always dreamed of achieving a record unique to us and of placing a mark on the industry we excel in," he says. “So receiving the Guinness World Record was a dream come true, and [we are] truly happy that it was for Project Misbar Al Azya.
“The record is a recognition of uniqueness. Since we are more of a cultural representative than just a clothing store in the Arab traditional fashion industry, this achievement stands as proof of the innovation and dynamism we consistently try to achieve ," he says. "And the record will motivate us to aim for better and greater achievements.”
Updated: June 6, 2021 01:50 PM