CHICAGO – Taping into the thriving Muslim market in the US, a growing number of American entrepreneurs are catering to modest fashion lines and halal production in a business worthy of more than $170 billion.
“There are millions of consumers just waiting to see which brands will be smart enough to engage with them,” Melanie El-Turk, who launched a modest fashion clothing line a few years ago in Chicago, told WEBZ Radio on Tuesday, January 28.
“And those who do will see first-hand not only their spending power but their brand loyalty and brand advocacy.”
Deeming the Muslim consumer market like the Latino market in 1990's, El-Turk was at the forefront of the American entrepreneurs who realized the vitality of the Muslim market and how to gain loyal customers.
Catering to a niche market that hasn't been widely recognized yet, El-Turk launched her haute hijab line to fill a void of modest designs in the US markets.
Her modest fashion clothing line was inspired by American Muslim girls struggle with identity, “One issue that always used to come up was hijab,” El-Turk said.
“Just as someone who always embraced hijab, it pained me to see people struggle with whether to wear it or keep it on.” she added.
Prompted by the lack of the ready-to-wear modest designs in US Markets, Amany Jondy, has founded her modest fashion company, Simply Zeena, for US Muslim women.
“It was the typical frustrated, not being able to find the sort of everyday American-inspired looks that were modest,” Jondy said.
Achieving 30% growth in its first year, “Simply Zeena” has gained enough profits to release new collection every season.
“Our goal is to be making much more than what we’re making now, but we’re self-sustaining and we’re profitable,” Jondy said.
Presenting a global thriving industry, halal market has been attracting many of the American entrepreneurs in the recent years.
“The whole idea of halal is growing even beyond the Muslim realm,” Sameer Sarmast, who blogs and films a Web series about halal restaurants, said.
“I feel like it’s just going to get bigger and bigger.
“You mention food to anybody, food is a common denominator it will bring people together,” Sarmast, who has been tracking halal restaurants across the states, added.
For Adnan Durrani, CEO of Saffron Road, halal markets offered Muslims a chance to defy misconceptions surrounding post 9/11 Islam.
“I started thinking of ways to create a business model that was socially responsible,” said Durrani.
“That could reflect the values that I felt were important to me in my faith, and not what I was seeing in the media,” he added.
Being one of the well-known halal food brands in US, Saffron Road produces halal, organic and Non- Genetically modified food.
The concept of halal, -- meaning permissible in Arabic -- has traditionally been applied to food.
Muslims should only eat meat from livestock slaughtered by a sharp knife from their necks, and the name of Allah, the Arabic word for God, must be mentioned.
Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to an estimated Muslim minority of six to eight million.
According to a study by Ogilvy Noor marketing firm in 2010, the American Muslim consumer market was worth $170 billion.
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