We think you might be hard pushed to find a girl (big or small) throughout the Gulf who isn’t partial to a bit of fluffy tulle.
Thank goodness for Lenka, the lovely lady behind Abu Dhabi based brand Tutubug who is spreading a little fairy dust all over the Middle East with her small enterprise with a big heart (and a lot of tulle!)…
Tutubug, your store for unique dresses for little princesses, opened it’s online doors at saffronsouk.com at the beginning of 2015 and within the last ten months we have been witness to Lenka’s drive and enthusiasm to produce customised dresses that fairy tales are made of. This woman won’t stop at creating anything short of perfection. which is why we thought it was high time you got to know her better…
2. Just divine! These love pink dresses found in Lenka’s store here are the work of dreams!
What sort of products do you market? I make anything little girls love to wear, from simple tutus, dresses, costumes to couture gowns for weddings.
When and why did you decide to start your own business? I still take it as a hobby, alongside my full time mummy job. I would love to start real business, once they grow a bit and I learn even more skills.
What’s the best thing about setting up your own brand? Satisfaction I feel, when I see the reaction of client, little girl, people at event. Its pure joy.
3. & 4. Lenka’s dresses are all about the attention to detail, like the blooms on this little flower girl dress.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced? I only starting being serious about designing my own dresses 18 months ago. It happened to be in time of Frozen madness, so naturally, my first gown was for a friend photographer. It was supposed to be child friendly, stunning, fluffy Elsa costume. That dress took on life of its own, especially since its being produced massively in the Far East (without my permission). I was heartbroken at first, but now I have come to peace with it as some countries do not respect the copyright of the maker.
5. This little Frozen ‘Anna’ costume will make the girl in your Saffron Souk’ year!
What do you love about selling online? I love how convenient it is. My days are very busy, our apartment quite small, my kids too small. Selling online allows me to work at time suited for me, stay in touch, answer any questions and all from comfort of my home.
What top tips can you share with other saffronsouk.com shopkeepers? I would suggest, to do market research. I did not know it when I was starting out and I was all over the place. It took time to find out what I wanted to do, what products are already out there, how to be different. Being different is one of my market approaches.
I constantly evolve, learn and add new styles, techniques to my store. You also need to be able to customize product.
6. – 9. Just some of the many, many happy customers you can find on Lenka’s instagram account.
Where do you source your materials? I try to source most of them locally. I have a few favorite shops, where I am regular. But I tend to order quite a lot of gorgeous prints from abroad. Sometimes for my kids, sometimes fabric inspires me to make new design.
What sets your products apart? I mostly sell tutu dresses, special wear dresses which are not always very child friendly. I always keep that in mind. I lined all dresses with cotton, close seams, prewash to avoid shrinking and generally try to make everything bigger and better.
Where do you get your inspiration to be creative from? My children. Especially my daughter Nehal, who has wild imagination, has her own style, creativity. She loves dresses, skirts. She loves to be different, colorful. My son is the one who allowed me to create by being the best baby ever.
Who’s your favourite designer? Lanvin as an inspiration.
Any exciting news to share? Just ordered new fabric! For new things! Different things! Yeay!
Tell us 5 words to describe yourself. Restless, neurotic, romantic, critical (of myself, job), passionate
What’s your favourite colour? Pink
What’s your favourite film? Oh don’t laugh, but it is an old version of Cinderella ( Czech-German movie) from 70’
11. Tutubug’s version of Cinderella – we are now dying to see the czech-german version Lenka (please send us a link across!)
What are you reading right now? My Instagram feed, CNN headlines and a few blogs.
When did you last laugh? Just hour ago, being questioned by nosy 5 year old.
What keeps you awake at night? Orders….no really..I sew mostly at night.
Do you have any regrets? None.
Who would you most like to meet? My embroidery mentor who lives in US and over time we known each other, we became good friends.
Do you collect anything? Did I mention fabric….if not then fabric…lots and lots of fabric
12. – 15 and what a fabric stash that is!
Do you believe in luck? No. I believe in hard work, good deeds, clear conscience and grace of God.
What is your golden rule? Be nice.
Who is the best super-hero? Superman, Batman or Spiderman? Without a doubt Batman…
16. Now we totally get why this little batman beauty was recently spotted in your online store!
What’s the best career advice anyone ever gave you? “do not let people know when you are down. Keep a smile, everything will pass”
What is your greatest aim in life? To see my children grow up into great, good people. I have little dream of opening a shop which will have everything little girls dream about.
If you could retire tomorrow what would you do? Move to France.
If you won the lottery what would be the first thing that you would buy? My parents new house, help local hospital in my city.
Do you like girl groups or boy bands? I am an 80’ child… Definitely boy bands.
Why do you find the saffronsouk.com website appealing to shop at? The most creative, colorful and imaginative things, you will not find anywhere else. Small business are hard to create in the UAE, Little Majlis is by far the best in region providing legal way for creative people to start.