Belle and Sue Do Shenkinby Eyal de Leeuw | 15.10.15
With so many stores and brands going online these days it was a nice surprise to see that our fashionable friends from Belle & Sue, who pioneered the local eCommerce period, are opening an actual offline store in the ever changing Shenkin Street. The store offers, next to their familiar urban chic fashion brands, also a large variety of lifestyle design section with fine stationery, cool magazines and other coveted items.
A good occasion to meet up and chat with Inbal Boussiba, one of the partners about fashion retail, future plans and the smell of buses in the eighties.
Hi Inbal, how did you start your way into fashion?
I definitely think I was a late bloomer in this sense. I always loved fashion but in a very naïve way (not like bloggers today that obviously love fashion, but love the love they get even more…). My memories of being a teenager in the nineties going with friends to Shenkin for shopping stayed with me until today. I can even remember how the bus smelled on the way from Beer Sheva to Tel Aviv. During my Art history studies at the Tel Aviv University I realized I was mostly drawn to the garments and textiles in paintings and photography from all eras. After that, Shenkar Academy was the next stop and textile design was my major, though after 2 years I thought I absorbed everything and I felt it was time to step into the real world.
I started working at a local boutique and shortly after became head buyer as well as design assistant. I did that for 6 years until I got pregnant and that was the time I felt I wanted another baby that was not just the one growing in my belly, but a new business adventure in fashion that would be completely new in Israel.
What excites you about what you do?
At the risk of sounding corny… a lot of things. My staff – the people I work with, meeting designers from all over the world, making people happy, coming into my office every morning, seeing small dreams come true, sometimes also bigger ones… and in general doing what I love without taking myself too seriously and trying to enjoy the ride.
When was Belle & Sue established and why?
Adi, my sister and partner and Shira – our 3rd partner started talking about B&S on a stormy night in December 2009. In October 2010, we were airborne. The idea we had which seemed crazy to everybody but us at the time, was to launch Israel’s first online retailer. To go somewhere no man (or woman) had gone before. We all knew we would do something in fashion and we all knew we wanted something different and exciting. We realized this was the perfect time to do exactly that.
Why did you open an offline store?
Actually from day one we knew that an online entity has to have offline encounters with customers, so we used to throw pop up parties and events every several months even before anyone knew what pop-up meant here. The B&S flagship store on Shenkin 41, is a continuation of the website. There’s a symbiotic relation between the two, and we no longer measure clicks over bricks. B&S is one entity, an omnnichannel if you will, it’s online, offline, it has collaborations, it has a distribution channel and a lot more coming up.
What excites you about what you do?
At the risk of sounding corny… a lot of things. My staff the people I work with, meeting designers from all over the world, making people happy, coming into my office every morning, seeing small dreams come true, sometimes also bigger ones… and in general doing what I love without taking myself too seriously and trying to enjoy the ride.
Favourite piece from the store today?
Well, you know me, I’m a jeans and T kind of girl… but I also really love the LemLem dresses and the new STATE bags.
What’s next for B&S?
I guess to become a household name, maybe we’ll stick to B&S as you call us – it’s a lot easier to pronounce. A big lifestyle category, more Menswear, more and more great value for money brands and to continue bringing a different unique retail experience to our customers both online and offline.