Jenny Hewett meets the brains behind a new nuisance-free, home-delivery styling service for men.
As co-founder of a new Dubai-based fashion start-up, Mahmoud Gao can attest you don’t have to be a Mad Men fan to know the pull of the name Don Draper. Syrian-American Gao is one-third of a collective of Dubai-based expats who have recently launched free men’s personal styling and delivery service Mr Draper. But he says the reference to the fictional suave ad exec’s name was not intentional. ‘Honestly, I’ve never watched the show, but I know about Don Draper,’ says Mahmoud. ‘The name wasn’t intended to reflect Don in any way, but we don’t mind when people make that connection. The word ‘draper’ actually means someone who dresses someone else.’
For men who hate scouring the shops or struggle with piecing together looks, the service is a no-brainer. ‘Typically, we have three types of customer: guys who don’t have time to shop, guys who don’t know what to buy, and guys who hate shopping,’ says Mahmoud. ‘Globally, a lot of men hate to shop because they don’t want to waste time doing it nor do they know what to buy. In the UAE, its more of the same, but the issue is, there are a lack of men’s focused brands here. You have the high-street stores, but everyone wears those brands and men here want something unique,’ he says.
So how does it work? After signing up on www.mrdraper.ae, customers chat with the in-house stylist over the phone to determine their size, needs and preferences. A box full of sartorial goodies is then packaged up, in outfits, and sent straight to your door, where you can try them on in the comfort of your home, with five days to decide if you dig what you see. ‘Dubai is a busy place and people here work a lot. I believe that’s why guys are enjoying our service so much,’ says Mahmoud. ‘Customers can chat with their stylist on Tuesday and get a box to pick from on Thursday before they head out for the night.’
Mahmoud says Mr Draper currently sources products from about 15 brands, with the aim being to introduce lesser known labels to the market. You’ll find big names such as Ralph Lauren and Lacoste, mixed in with Suitsupply, AG Jeans, Atelier Prive, Blue Mint and Japan Rags, all of which are exclusive to Mr Draper in the region.
But perhaps the biggest draw is that customers only pay for the threads they purchase. ‘Our service and delivery are free, customers only pay for the clothes they decide to keep,’ says Mahmoud. ‘Customers also have the option to visit our showroom, work with their stylist one-on-one, try everything on here and buy what they like. This service is also complimentary,’ he says.
By the time you order your second or third box, Mr Draper has you pretty much worked out. ‘Over time, a customer who’s used the service twice or more as a member will never have to worry about shopping again,’ says Mahmoud. ‘We track data and we know exactly what we sent each customer, what they kept, what they returned and why they returned it as per their feedback form,’ he says. ‘We like to say that by the third package, it should be very hard for the customer not to keep everything.’ We know Don Draper would.
Personal shopping for women
A stylist arrives at your home with new collection and sales items from the Singapore-based label, plus there is no obligation to buy.
Monroe & Me
This online store also offers personal shopping parties at your home.
Sign up for monthly deliveries of cosmetics samples from a whole host of top brands (including Benefit, Dermalogica, Cowshed, Elemis and many more).
Free shipping to the UAE for GlamBox subscriptions and orders over Dhs200. www.glambox.me.