In Conversation With Mona Raza, Owner Of Brands Basement
Tell us a little about yourself and your business 'Brands Basement'.
I am a mother first, and then a business woman. My passion lies in reading, writing and community work which runs parallel to my busy family life and business. I started Brands Basement in February 2019.
At Brands Basement we curate luxury products online. All our products are 100% authentic designer products. Our niche in the market is quality and authenticity check of every product that we sell. We guarantee that what you see is what you get!
The privacy of our clients is important to us, so all sales are anonymous which gives a great comfort level to our clients.
How did you start your business?
It was simply a case of demand and supply. Designer products have become so coveted, not only for their desirability, but also for their quality. But with the price tag attached, and the dollar skyrocketing, we provide a platform for sellers to give away what they don't need and buyers to get it for less than the market price. So it's a win-win situation.
Which must-have items are available at Brands Basement?
We have a wide variety of designer items. In international brands we have bags, shoes and accessories from Chanel, Gucci, Ferragamo, YSL and Louis Vuitton amongst other high-end names and for those who want more affordable designer products we have Tory Burch, Michael Kors and even Aldo and Dune etc. In Pakistani designer wear Farida Hassan, FTA and Miraka are top sellers but we have a wide variety to choose from.
Three pros and cons of buying pre-loved items?
- Buyers need a perspective shift. Most pre-owned items that come to us are new or in excellent condition, and they are always priced lower than the retail price, so it’s smart shopping and you end up getting more for your money.
- Buying pre-owned products also reduces the sales of inferior copies which are neither durable nor good for the environment.
- Every day millions of tons of products pertaining to the fashion industry are dumped as waste. Buying pre-owned items is a great way of recycling and helping the environment.
I can't think of any cons.
What obstacles have you endured to reach your ultimate goal as a women entrepreneur?
I prefer calling them learning opportunities. As with any business which has no precedents set, you learn as you go. This line of work was more conducive for a female entrepreneur as most of our buyers are females and are comfortable communicating with someone who understands their queries.
What are the future plans for your company?
All business dealings are organic at the moment through my Instagram: https://instagram.com/brandsbasementofficial?igshid=1a89ldqjxpb62and Facebook page. In the near future, I am planning to launch a website to streamline the sale process. I also intend to go global with sales and shipping.
According to you, how can one run a successful business?
Honesty, integrity, planning, hard work and a bit of luck!
Where do you get your high-end items from and are they all always authentic?
I'm glad you asked this. All items up for sale are from personal collections of people who want to sell. Many designer clothes are barely worn and most bags and shoes are spontaneous purchases, wrong sizes or simply items that the seller no longer uses.
The initial sellers were my friends and family but as the business expanded, we now have a diverse range of sellers. Checking authenticity of many high-end brands is done by contacting the retail company, checking product codes and authenticity guidelines. Any product that does not satisfy the authenticity guidelines is not posted on the page. A tip for sellers is to save receipts and cards etc. as that makes the sale process very smooth.
When it comes to pricing your products, do you stick to the original price or do you sell it for a much lower cost?
We sell everything under retail value. The price is decided after discussing it with the seller. We advise the clients individually about each product according to the condition, age, value and desirability of a product. The whole process is organic. We have a very stringent sale policy to ensure product quality.
What advice would you want to give to someone starting something similar?
I think for any business, one needs a mindset of hard work, honesty and planning. This is a highly specialised field of work where you need to remain vigilant and open to learn about many new and diverse products on a daily basis.
I feel it’s important to enjoy what you do and have a growth mindset. One should always strive to improve as an individual as well as a business.