Sara Al-Ajroush is a designer entrepreneur promoting the growth of creative economies from the US to the Middle East through Trickponi, a unique company merging fashion management and the traditional fashion showroom. Catalyst caught up with Sara in New York where she was hosting the Trickponi booth at ENK’s Coterie, one of the largest global fashion trade shows.
While a student at Pratt Institute’s graduate Design Management program in New York, Sara interned at Luxcartel, a fashion showroom representing young designers. Though she had a professional background in graphic design, the internship sparked a passion for representing young designers and sustainable fashion collections. Soon after graduation, Sara applied her new business and design strategy skills to build on that passion. She and friend Serene Xefos entered a business partnership and launched their company, Trickponi, pronounced [trik-poh-nee] in May 2012.
Trickponi focuses on both up and coming young designers as well as designers using sustainable materials and practices. Currently, Trickponi represents three globally diverse collections, Shosh, a New York City based collection which featured 85% sustainable fabrications in their Spring/Summer 2013 collection, L’aterlier Nawbar, a jewelry design collective of two sisters from Lebanon who merge design, manufacturing, retail, exhibition and redesign and restoration, and their most recent addition, Saudi ready to wear designer, Salma Redwan.
Currently, the company operates two showrooms in Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh and Jeddah, and represents fashion designers by providing direction in both management and sales. Trickponi showrooms are “full service,” creating and executing business development, branding, marketing and sales strategy to the collections they represent. Uniquely positioned in Saudi Arabia, Trickponi is able to give their clients an advantage in international markets. Sara explained that Trickponi is a “multi-functional company” serving as a “showroom representing designers, as well as providing trade show, press, sales and media management in addition to after sale support.” Trickponi aims to put the designer’s mind at ease and allow them to focus on design and production, while providing buyers with “the latest in design”.
In a follow-up conversation with Sara and Serene, they discussed the growth and future of Trickponi as a collaboration point connecting buyers in the West with the most successful and talented Middle Eastern designers. They ultimately envision building the company to be the “go-to platform” for the best array of both Middle Eastern and Western brands. The duo plans to “stay small enough to maintain intimate relationships” with both their designers and buyers, and have a strong belief in building trust through transparency. They added, “We are constantly on the look-out for up and coming designers (and) are most excited about finding new talented designers and seeing the creativity they put forth in the Middle East and the West.”