Interview with the A&N Boutique
Rachael Blackman | On 02, Nov 2015
â€œWe were on our honeymoon and we realised we didnâ€™t want to go back to our old jobs.â€ Up-and-coming Brisbane power couple,Â Nouf and Alex Hamze are dominating the online shopping scene with their recently opened A & N Boutique.
The boutique has grown in popularity after attracting the attention of celebrities such Amber Rose and Jenifer Hawkins. The couple opened the boutique in 2014 after they realised they were no longer happy with their full time jobs.
Alex, 27, said he felt over worked and underpaid being an accountantÂ while Nouf, 24, felt under-appreciated at her retail job. â€œWe were on our honeymoon and we realised we didnâ€™t want to go back to our old jobs,â€ said Alex.
Alex had studied accounting at the Queensland University of Technology while Nouf Â was currently completing her degree inÂ Human Resources. Â Being aÂ fashionista since age three, Nouf also had a keen eye for style. Â With both their talents Alex knew he and his wife were capable of so much more. â€œI said, why donâ€™t we combine what you know and what I know, and build a website,â€ said Alex
â€œWe wanted it to just be hobby but we found we were staying up to three in the morning working on it.”
Since the couple had recently spent a large sum on their wedding, starting the business wasÂ risky.â€œWe were both quite worried – well, extremely worried,â€ said Nouf.
That year they began working from their home in Fortitude Valley. At the moment Alex handles shipping, business development, accounting and the website, while Nouf is in control of sourcing the clothing, marketing and customer inquiries.Â â€œIâ€™m on my phone all the time running the social media, the emails and responding to questions on our online chatâ€¦there is so much involved no one actually knows,â€ said Nouf.
Nouf evaluates each item before its put on the website.Â â€œI want to make sure the quality is always super beautiful so I try on all the clothes myselfâ€¦if I like it I know the customer will like it.” She also can be found late at night scrolling through fashion blogs and Instagram to find her newest inspiration. “I’m currently focussing on celebrity style like Kylie Jenner”.
In the year and half that they have been open the brand has attracted 72 thousand Instagram followers. “it’s all about connecting with the customers…I think hmm what would can I do to make their morning better, so I’ll post a photo of some amazing beach or something”
Along with their largeÂ Instagram following the boutique has also garnered some celebrity attention.
Â â€œJennifer Hawkins’ stylist contacted us and asked us if they could use our clothes.â€
â€œWhen I found out I was like “Wow, that is such a privilege.â€ ”
The coupleÂ work hard to keep close relationships with their suppliers in China.Â â€œWe talk to the workers over Skype so weâ€™re aware of the conditions, we donâ€™t want to hurt anyone in the whole process of this. Itâ€™s very rare something drops below 50 dollars – weâ€™re paying a fair amount to help the workers.”
The couple owes their growing success to their marriage in addition to their ability to build the brand slowly. â€œIf I hadnâ€™t met Alex I wouldnâ€™t be doing this. Together we take things very slow, one step at time…if we donâ€™t think weâ€™re ready for the next step we wonâ€™t take it.â€
In the future the couple hopes to expand their business and possibly take the brand to New York City.
Image credit: @anboutiqueofficial, @sydneyfashionblogger and @Amberrose