Fashion Weekly

Bursting with personality

February 17 - 23, 2010

DESIGNER Hina Mirza has opened her first retail space offering unique business accessories to Bahrain's dapper professionals.

The Tiger & Lily kiosk displays a wide choice of ties, cravats, cuff links, card holders, business card holders, money clips, key rings, bags and luggage tags.

While she orders in many complimentary items, the ties and cravats are purely her own creations.

Hina, 32, said: "I have lived in the UK and Saudi Arabia but it made much more sense to have my first retail space in Bahrain because there is something about the island that I really like. There is a small-knit community and whoever I have approached has been really helpful."

The UK-born businesswoman and mother-of-two, from Jannusan, whose parents come from Pakistan, launched her business on the web in 2000 shortly after her wedding. A year later she left England for Saudi Arabia when her husband Uzair Waheed took up a business position in the Middle East. In 2006, the family moved to Bahrain.

Hina's journey into the world of fashion retailing began when she secured a part-time position with Harvey Nichols, the renowned departmental store in London, while studying at university from 1995 to 1999.

She said: "I worked in the men's section and noticed that there appeared to be very little available when it came to accessories. The styles were all very flat, very dull and very boring.

"Everyone seemed to be doing the same thing and that inspired me to become more creative. I began to vary the materials I used and introduced new patterns into the market like leopard skin, zebra, Shanghai, brocade and other Indian and Pakistani materials.

"They might be business accessories but my pieces have little personalities bursting out of them. The ties and cufflinks add colour and style."

The name 'Tiger & Lily' came as an obvious choice for Hina who derived it out of the tiger lily flower. She explained: "The tiger is very masculine and confident man and the lily is the very feminine and beautiful woman.

"While I designed the ties and cravats, I also started buying in other products which I made sure were well suited to my philosophy of promoting the individual ... designs that stuck to the Tiger & Lily ethos."

She believes her business skills further developed after receiving sales and training experience with Coca Cola.

Hina also strives to retain a proper work and home balance. She said: "I made a promise that when I had children I would do something that allowed me to be around them. And, having my own business has been a perfect solution because during the day I am their mother and at night I can click away on my business. It is perfect."

Hina is now planning to set up more kiosks in Bahrain and gradually expand across the Middle East and one day open up a store in the UK, although Bahrain will never be far from her heart. She explained: "We have a property in Bahrain at Riffa Views and hope to grow old in the sun!"

The price of products in the Tiger & Lily range start from just under BD1 up to BD18.

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