Mina Abdul Hussein – art director, shoe lover, visionary, eternal wanderer, and Carine Daher – independent thinker, optimist, lover of all things beautiful, co-founded Garage Luxe in 2013, an upscale e-commerce consignment platform that specializes in selling new along with gently used designer goods.
Mina has been an entrepreneur since 2012. She received her B.S. in Graphic Design from the Lebanese American University in 2001 and earned a spot as an Art-director in Paris, specializing in branding and packaging of luxury products in the food and cosmetics industry. After her 12-year experience in this field, Mina ventured into smart shopping with longtime friend turned partner now. In addition to her current business, Mina is a loving mom of two and a family-oriented person. The young entrepreneur is a fashion addict and a contemporary art enthusiast.
After Carine received her bachelor’s degree in business administration-Banking and Finance from the Lebanese American University, she started her five-year journey in the Banking industry. She then moved into the family business specialized in the international trade of raw material and managed the finance department for another five years. A mother to two young girls with a passion for fashion, Carine then decided it was time to venture into the entrepreneurial world, thus partnering with longtime friend and co-founded Garage Luxe.
How did you get your business idea?
The business idea started in 2013, after finding a gap in the market for excess consumption of luxury fashion goods and a lack of channels to sell and buy used items.
What was the main drive that pushed you to start your business?
After several years of working in the corporate world, we were ready to start our entrepreneurship journey, and finding a business idea that was a solution for many women that required a minimum investment drove us to start our venture.
What was your biggest fear before starting up? How did you overcome it?
Our biggest challenge was introducing the business idea to a market that used to consider buying or selling second hand a taboo. With time, we normalized the idea among our society, and we presented it in a trendy way that soon became this uprising business concept.
How do you describe your core business activity and what’s the key value you offer to your customer?
Our core business is based on creating value for items that no longer have a monetary value, through creating an organic community of buyers and sellers and finally achieving a cycle of benefits. Therefore, we offer our customer a personalized shopping experience of authentic luxury items at affordable prices.
What are the key strategies you use to expand your business?
Expanding the business is our key focus at the moment which includes scalability in entering new markets, growing our community of women who buy and sell as well as focusing on a wider digital operation.
What do you look for when recruiting an employee?
Work ethics, drive and motivation are the main points we look for when hiring an employee.
How many employees do you currently have? How do you describe your management style?
We currently have 7 full-time employees in addition to the both of us. Our management style starts with micro-management until the employee is ready to lead in his or her field of expertise.
How do you describe yourselves in 3 words?
Motivated, eager to learn, humble
What’s your favorite part of your business, and why?
Our favorite part of the business is witnessing the birth of an idea, seeing it crawl then walk.
How do you advertise your business? How do you advertise your product?
Our business growth started through word of mouth, so our community grew organically. We also do some social media advertising, although this isn’t about driving sales, but more about exposure.
What made you choose this type of business?
Who better than two women to understand the needs and psychology of other women? Our business came as a solution to a need we had, and as long as Fashion exists, we will keep doing what we know how to do best… selling new and pre-owned luxury fashion brands.
If you had one piece of advice for someone just starting out, what would it be?
Our advice is to choose a business you personally believe in and never give up through all the ups and downs.
How do you balance the different aspects of your lives? (well-being, family, social and professional)
Balance and prioritize are the key words. It is never easy, there is always sacrifice on some level, but in the end, it is totally worth it!
Women on Top Series
Berytech has partnered with the Lebanese League for Women in Business – LLWB, to create ‘Women on Top’ to highlight women entrepreneurs and executives in a series of motivational interviews about their stories, overcoming their own challenges and their entrepreneurial endeavors. Read more. The series is also highlighting successful women in sports and business.