The release of interior design and home decor items, as well as tableware for daily use is not a new phenomenon in the world market. The pioneer in this business was Ralph Lauren, who in 1983 offered his clients various household items under the Ralph Lauren Home brand. The idea was instantly adopted by other brands, which started creating new trends every year. Over time, the concept of selling a “lifestyle” reached the mass market. Today, attention is paid to this sphere in the local Azerbaijani market. The Azerbaijani brand Нom*me was one of the first here. The creator of the brand, NIGAR AKHMEDOVA, shares with us the concept and policy of the brand, the production process as well as the many global traditions and styles reflected in its products.
BY SALATYN MIRZAYEVA
AZERI OBSERVER STAFF WRITER
Question: Ms. Nigar, please tell us how the idea of creating the Hom*me brand was born.
Answer: I have always liked to create coziness and beauty around me. Especially when it comes to our own home, where we spend a lot of time alone or with friends and family. I enjoy the process of selecting decor elements and decorating our home in general.
Unfortunately, the style of most of the goods in our market was very ordinary. Therefore, it was impossible to create different styles, even to set the table. If you wanted to create some particular interior design theme, you had to turn to products in the luxury segment, which were not affordable for everyone. Therefore, we decided to create a mass market brand which will present interesting products in a variety of styles. Why not make home decoration affordable for everyone? After all, everyone deserves to live in the house of their dreams and surround themselves with beauty for their own pleasure! This is how the idea was born, to create a brand that is distinguished by interesting designs, at an affordable price.
Q.: Can you share with us the brand development and manufacturing process?
A.: It was a very long process of searching and studying some segments and analyzing local and other markets, as well as the international players in this area. After much research, our team and I were able to define the trends, styles and directions that we wanted to demonstrate with our brand.
The brand concept was developed in cooperation with Italian-American designers who already had quite a lot of experience in this sphere. A group of designers from Florence collaborates with us in the collections creation and development. The production process takes place in many parts of the world – we choose products from the areas where this craft is best developed. For example, we buy crystal from Bohemia in the Czech Republic, and earthenware from Portugal. After checking the quality of the product, it goes “to the counter”.
Q.: What is the percentage of manual and machine labor involved in creating your brand’s products?
A.: We use both. We have collections that are made by hand only. There are also machine created collections. In some collections the items are half made by various machines, and at the end, a craftsman paints them or adds a decorative element by hand. For example, a collection of vases, which are all hand-painted at the end of the production process.
Q.: Do you work with local artisans?
A.: Considering the fact that we are a local brand, we try to work with local artisans as much as possible. The Hom*me store is now a platform where young talents can present their work. We constantly meet with many craftsmen and artisans and choose their products that meet our brand’s certain criteria.
Our approach is in line with the policy of Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev, which calls for supporting the national art and traditions of local artisans.
Q.: Does Hom*me keep pace with the latest fashions or does it stick to a traditional format?
A.: One of Hom*me’s goals is to present the most fashionable trends, as well as create a choice of products in various styles and for different seasons. Thereby, we want to show consumers how to achieve the desired design at the lowest cost by mixing all these different items. Affordable prices and a wide variety of Hom*me collections give buyers the opportunity to renew the interior design of their home in every season, and create the design that they imagined in their head playing with colors and styles. We give every buyer the opportunity to become a designer of their own home.
Q.: Hom*me recently organized an autumn festival. What was the concept?
A.: Seasonal festivals and events are quite common in the world. The transition from summer to autumn can give us all a bit of the autumn blues. Therefore, the most colorful and bright things come to the fore in order to cheer our buyers up. The Hom*me’s Autumn Festival offered our store visitors great discounts and opportunities, new and beautiful decor and serving items, such as tea in a cup, purchased in Hom*me, to allow people to start the day off right.
The Christmas festival starts in our stores in November, when we will please Hom*me lovers with incredibly beautiful Christmas collections, new ideas, as well as the opening of new stores next to Caspian Plaza and the Port Baku area (smiles).
Q.: The most important thing is the buyers’ assessment. What kind of feedback do you get?
A.: This is a very important point. We are glad that in a short period of time we have been able to find many loyal customers. We always pay a lot of attention to the feedback from our customers, by trying to improve our service every day, and develop further.