To create a brand identity, the lingerie store had to have a hip look and feel because Saudi Arabia has en extremely young population: 42,4 per cent are under the age of 15. Addiotanally, shopping is one of the few recreations available to Saudi women in complete absence of most other alternatives, even cinemas.
At the same time, the store design had to be such as not to invite the wrath of the religious police.
First of all, the team concentrated on selecting an appropriate name that would appeal to Saudi women and create an image of luxury in their minds. The name also needed to resonate in multiple languages. It had to be ensured that if someone mispronounced the sensuality could not be closen because that would amount to idolatry, which is strictly against Islam. In the end, ‘’Pedru’’ the French term for ‘’ lost’’ was closen. It was felt that it evoked the sense of a man being so swept away by a woman’s beauty and sensuality as to feel lost without her. In addition, the name catered to Saudi women’s fascination with France.
Not being able to use images of women, Mashat resorted to the use of language: words and poetry. For instance, a large banner was created, visible from outside the store, with mood, but wouldn’t offend Saudi sensibilities.There were unexpected snags, to be sure. An overzealous airport official stopped the mannequins from being imported into Saudi Arabia despite all efforts to give them a non- lifelike shape. They had to be flown into Bahrain and brought into Jeddah by road in order mirrors in the fitting rooms be taken down.In addition to making Perdu fashion- forward, Mashat has listened to customers. He hung a thin gauzy material to lightly cover the large glass storefront window to shield the women shopping for intimate wares inside from the intrusive eyes of passers-by.
Further, although the male sales people in the store were trained to maintain a distance of 6 feet from female shoppers, to give them some privacy, Mashat realized that costumers would be more comfortable with women sales people. Once he’d obtained the special permission needed from the government to allow women to work alongside men, he hired two women, taking the number of women employees in Perdu to three, including the marketing director.
Source:adapted from Arundhati Parmar. ‘’Out from Under:Saudi Women Sold on Unique Approach to Lingerie’’ Marketing News
photo: desert wings