The only remaining local brand that sells tudung made in Turkey, Luna Serra stays true to its roots
THE increasing demand for trendy and fashionable tudung or hijab in the past several years has lead to the mushrooming of many brands in the market.
The choice is endless in terms of tudung styles (from instant, square, shawl and semi-instant), fabric (cotton or silk), designs (plain or print), colours and embellishments such as embroidery and beads.
Taking advantage of this trend, two friends decided to launch their own tudung brand early last year.
While others followed the market demand for shawl and instant tudung at that time, Leesa Fazlena Ismail and Nurul Huda Muktar chose to focus on square tudung from Turkey.
It all began when Leesa found it difficult to put on the shawl version as it involved a lot of twisting and turning.
“I like the square tudung but most of them at the time were made in China and very flimsy. When my mother went to Istanbul, I asked her to buy me some square tudung. I think Turkey is the only place where you can find square tudung made from rayon satin and they are so easy to style.”
Leesa soon realised that she could not keep waiting for people to go to Istanbul to buy the tudung for her.
Together with Nurul Huda, she then setup their company — Luna Serra — to sell square tudung from Turkey.
“People kept telling us there is no market for square tudung since the trend then was for the shawl. But we were determined to start the business because we believed people would like the designs. Initially, we brought in about 60 tudung in various colours and designs. We sold them to our friends at the office. For the first three months, sales were really good,” says Nurul Huda.
Unfortunately, they soon faced competition as people became aware of the demand for the square tudung from Turkey.
Competitors started to place large orders for the tudung and sold them at lower prices. Luna Serra’s price was RM65 a piece.
Leesa and Nurul Huda realised that to keep their business afloat, they needed to create their own designs.
“We found local designers to come up with exclusive designs , mainly of flora and abstract patterns. To ensure the brand stayed true to its Turkish roots, they found a company in Istanbul to print the designs. In addition to the designs, the tudung is also hand-stitched in Bursa, Turkey.
“This is a signature detail of our brand and one that customers like based on our survey,” says Nurul Huda.
The process — from designing to printing and sewing — takes more than a month. Each order consists of about 150 tudung.
Despite the high cost of shipping, printing and hand-stitching, they maintained their price.
“Our cost fluctuates depending on the US dollar, but we have no plans to stop printing in Turkey. It is difficult to find the fabrics here and we want it to continue to be a made-in-Turkey brand. We also sell tudung accessories from Turkey which cannot be found here.
“We are the only local brand that sells tudung made in Turkey. Others who used to sell them are no longer around. So we need to maintain this as it is our only advantage.”
Just like other brands, Leesa and Nurul Huda use social media — Instgram and Facebook — to market their tudung.
Luna Serra records sales of between 300 and 400 tudung a month. With continued demand, Leesa and Nurul Huda plan to expand their business. In the pipeline are plans to hire a sales person, create social media content and to sponsor local celebrities.
“We need to be more aggressive in marketing strategy as we are competing with well-known brands which have also introduced the square tudung. They do not print in Turkey like us but their advantage is that they have famous people behind their brands and their tudung is bigger compared to ours.
“We have sponsored actress Janna Nick in the drama Biar Aku Jadi Penunggu on TV3 and we are hoping to sponsor more celebrities. We are also planning to create Facebook and Instagram videos.”