Founded in 2010, Al Hala Group is the holding company for aura Living, a uniquely original homeware brand that blends Middle Eastern taste with the best of global design and Leem, who create sophisticated and modest collections with a modern twist. Here, RLI sits down with Miles Young, Managing Director of Al Hala Group to discuss the brands and what the future holds for them both.
The modern homeware brand aura Living began its life in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia back in 2011 and has since expanded into the UAE market. The company offers on-trend furniture and home accessories to individuals who value style and personality.
As for Leem, the brand was founded in 2018 as a timeless, modern fashion house. Designed for today’s fashion-conscious woman, the company was born out of a need for modest dressing that was modern and trend-led. The vision behind Leem is to redefine modest fashion globally, making it not only accessible but appealing to all women regardless of whether they choose to conceal for culture or not.
Currently, aura Living has two store sites in KSA, one in Jeddah and one in Riyadh and three locations in Dubai, UAE with the latest store opening taking place last year in The Dubai Mall. “With five stores spread across the KSA and UAE, we are definitely looking to expand further across the GCC region,” explains Miles Young, Managing Director of Al Hala Group. “We are also working on launching the brand’s e-commerce platform to cater to our international audience.”
Meanwhile Leem has seven brick-and-mortar sites across Riyadh, Jeddah, Dubai and Bahrain as well as hosting its Leem App and expanding into global markets with Next.co.uk. “We have recently launched on NAMSHI as well as NEXT UK, making our products available to a wider customer base. We have a lot of exciting projects in the pipeline and are looking to expand our e-commerce presence further both in the region and internationally,” Young explains.
When it comes to creating new collections for the two brands, creativity and innovation are always at the forefront of their thinking, as is ensuring they understand each market properly and correctly forecast current trends to answer the customers’ needs and wants.
“Our specialised research and development teams are always up-to-date on the most recent trends, frequently attending fashion weeks and trade shows whilst being on the lookout for the most interesting trends. We pay close attention to the new generation’s needs too who evidently, will become the future aura Living and Leem customers,” says Young.
When discussing the aura Project, Young explains that this is the B2B department under aura Living that provides design, product and installation services for the residential, commercial and hospitality sectors. He continues by saying that they noticed a need in the market for businesses looking at a one-stop solution for their interior needs from start to finish. With a strong supply chain, high quality yet attainable price-points along with the creativity and science behind understanding spaces, it was a seamless transition into the B2B world.
Al Hala Group aims to build a community with both brands, to show their customers that they are not just another fashion or home brand, but rather an authentic, lifestyle destinations that cater exactly to what people need.
An excellent example of this is the Leem shopping app available to customers in the KSA. With the launch of the app, Leem’s loyal shoppers can now be one step closer to the brand. In addition, both aura Living and Leem are dedicated to supporting young talent in the GCC region, collaborating with local talents such as calligraphers and sketch artists on exciting launches that resonate with the region.
“We are proud of the roots of the business and feel a sense of responsibility in honing the talented youth in the region. This allows us to also ensure we create a community within our brands,” highlights Young.
The power of social media and what it offers is a pivotal marketing avenue for both aura Living and Leem, as it puts the two labels in front of new customers on a continuous basis. Paying close attention to content creation, they create posts and tweets that appeal to customers and resonate with what they are looking for and what they need.
The majority of their social media focus is directed towards influencer activations because influencer content is today perceived as more authentic, often resulting in higher engagement and conversion rates. “The rise of TikTok has also allowed us to understand the power of authentic content creation and looking at ways to engage with a younger audience,” says Young.
Innovation and staying on-trend are at the core of the brand’s success to date. The goal of the business is to dramatically alter the landscape of contemporary design for the region, and globally, within home and fashion. They offer the right product for their client base at an attainable price point and at the best quality.
“At aura, our products are all very trend driven and design focused while also ensuring they are multi-functional and unique. For Leem, we celebrate women and their personal choices, delivering high-end looks that are on trend with a huge focus on quality that allow today’s consumers to have versatile options,” explains Young.
“As a Middle Eastern company, we fully understand what the modest consumer wants and needs and we are very excited about our expansion plans for both brands as we scale up the two businesses and expand to new markets, this is our biggest challenge and main focus moving forwards.”