How did House of MC come about? Did you see a gap in the market for designer gown rentals and bespoke styling?
House of MC came about by my own experience as a busy family woman and entrepreneur with an active social life who not only lacked the time to get ready for an event but was also spending too much money for dresses that would end up hanging in my closet once I’m done.
I believe in differentiating… There are notable dress rental services that offer a wide variety of clothes from past seasons across different categories. I want to offer an occasion-wear focused experience consisting of seasonal product for hire and purchase as well as services — our styles follow current and future trends and we want you to unwind while we take care of every detail of your appearance (hair, makeup, jewellery, perfumery, shoes and bags if required) without running around and keeping within your budget.
When and why did you decide to go beyond just rentals into a start-to-end service for occasions — including arriving in style in luxury cars!
As we operate a different service than pure dress rentals, our focus is on the experience for the client. We work with our clients to give them a memorable experience and tie together all those elements that will make this happen. This is what differentiates us from the existing concepts out there and this will remain at the core of our business.
You’ve said you run your business on a sustainability model — ethical and economical?
Occasion wear is a big business in the region and as such we are all used to purchasing items that we never wear again. On average a woman in the region will attend 8-12 events a year requiring an equal number of dresses. We believe in providing them with several options where every rental is available for a fraction of the retail price of an item. This way we minimise clothes’ wastage and of course reduce the money women are spending on this aspect of their lives.
What are your most in-demand services?
Early figures show us that women are very interested in the rental aspect of the business and especially for the one-of-a-kind, unique pieces that we offer as they value their individuality. Additionally, we see a strong demand for the personal shopping and made-to-order element of the business that we offer in association with global designers.
What are some of the challenges in running a business and providing personalised services?
There are always challenges but the biggest one is always being able to cater to women of different sensibilities, sizes and styles. We gather information as we go and get better prepared for our seasonal buys.
What qualities do you think are most important for running a business?
Understanding your target customer and having proper processes in place, as well as excellent customer service. You have to work hard, do your due diligence.
What are the benefits of availing the expertise of an image consultant?
An image consultant is a person who can guide you not only on what to wear but also on how to wear it. They are there to reveal a side of you that sometimes you didn’t know was there. It is as much about the clothes as it is about the attitude.
Have you had a client who was very difficult to cater to?
Difficult no… particular yes. Women tend to know what they want so it is all about trying to fulfil their expectations and of course manage them.
What are some of the strange/difficult/funny demands you receive?
We respect our clients’ demands — we offer them an experience and it is as important to us as it is to them. The most difficult demands tend to always be last-minute requests that put pressure to deliver a perfect dress by tomorrow! Having said that we love that pressure and being kept on our feet.
Do you plan to turn to fashion designing in the future?
I never say no to options… I am a creative businesswoman and should the time and conditions be right I would love to explore creating a label.
How do you balance the two different aspects of your personality — from elegant fashionista to sporty racer?
Every woman has different aspects. There is nothing to balance as it is about co-existence. Business is business and at home I am a wife and mother, but when it is time to blow off some steam and have some personal time I head for the track in my race car.
How do you juggle being a mother and a racer along with managing this business?
With proper planning and good time management. I start my day with taking my boys to school and then head for the office — the evening is family time and after they’ve gone to bed I catch up on my last emails for the day and the necessary communication with my team. Personal time is equally important so I always try to make some time in the week for the things I want to enjoy.
Where do you aim to take House of MC in the future?
The future is bright… as we are launching now I want to take the time to explore the potential for growth outside of this market for when the time is right to execute it.