Managing Partner Mahmoud Gao joined by Mary Freiji and Tiba Al Damen, all of whom have backgrounds in retail and luxury distribution in Dubai, decided to launch Mr. Draper, a personalized shopping service targeting this region. A personal stylist contacts the customer via phone after signing up to discuss lifestyle, preferred fashions and color schemes, brands, budget, and sizes. Clients also have the option to submit their details on Mr. Draper’s interactive portal, and “encouraged to link us to their social media accounts and upload pictures of themselves,” Gao adds, in order to help the company’s stylists formulate a stronger idea of a client’s needs. As part of their “complete convenience” strategy, boxed goods are then delivered to the client, and they’re encouraged to choose what items they want to keep and return the rest. The founders do note that some of the service’s customers prefer visiting the Mr. Draper showroom itself in Dubai Silicon Oasis to work and interact with their stylist one-on-one.
With buying wholesale and selling retail as their business model, customers can choose from a variety of labels including Ralph Lauren, Valentino and Atelier Privé, and a slew of laidback brands like Converse, Topman and Abercrombie & Fitch. Mr. Draper’s advantage over shops is personalizing a customer’s experience using their stored preferences, noting which items customers return on their package (with the frequencies of each package based on a case-by-case scenario as it’s not a subscription-based model). Mr. Draper’s marketing strategies have varied; their most successful being targeted Facebook ads and client referrals, which they cite as their second biggest source of leads after Facebook. There’s no sign up, service or shipping fees, and most apparel is priced on par with better department stores such as Bloomingdale’s or Harvey Nichols. “You only pay for the clothes you decide to keep, no minimums,” explains Gao, mentioning that clients’ average spend nearly doubles when comparing package delivery to in-house services.