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Traditionally, a majlis is a place where people gather to either socialise or conduct business. And that's exactly what Little Majlis is, albeit slightly more colourful. Amid Dubai Garden Centre's verdant greenery is a corner of vibrance that Little Majlis calls home. Just a simple cart, it houses everything that would make anyone with a Pinterest account jump in joy. Quirky arts and crafts like denim aprons, graphic tea towels, illustrated notebooks, wall decals, neon pencils and charming tote bags can be found here. Fans have been told to anticipate exciting letterpress prints and greeting cards in the near future.
Independent arts scene
When Anna Bolton Riley and Annabelle Fitzsimmons launched Little Majlis in 2012, the independent arts and crafts scene was just developing. The idea was to promote locally produced products and brands and support budding brands based in the Gulf.
''There are now more opportunities for designers and crafters to showcase their work,'' says Riley. ''The increase of weekend markets are also an important platform for these artists to promote their work.''
Sensing a need for contemporary souvenirs, Little Majlis started creating novelty goods with a sprinkle of local flavour. This is reflected in the brand's notebooks and pencils embellished with pop-art designs of shisha pipes, camels and Arabian catchphrases.
''The coolest products are the camel leather bracelets,'' says Fitzsimmons. ''They're handcrafted in Dubai using brightly hued and locally tanned leather lacing with sterling silver fixings. And they're accented with a house-shaped charm. The best-sellers are our linen tea towels featuring a man on a bike, shisha and camel.''
Little Majlis' corner in Dubai Garden Centre measures just over 2 sq m. Since purchases are checked out through the DGC cashiers, the brand's rent is calculated on a combination of area and sales made. The shop-in-shop has been designed to accommodate products, storage of extra stock and mirror the creative character of its website LittleMajlis.com, which provides a more versatile array of products from artists.
Each artist's store on the digital Little Majlis market is independently stocked and managed by local brands and designers. It now has more than 150 stores marketing over 2,000 unique items.
The marketplace is partly curated and sellers vetted, which maintains the boutique shopping experience. Little Majlis offers a simple application process, where potential sellers submit photographs and information about their brand and products for review. Once approved, product photo examples are signed off and the seller then has the freedom to set up shop and stock display banners.
Moving forward, Little Majlis is ambitious about targeting an international market and establish a coveted reputation for the made in the UAE label.
Check out another hidden gem at Al Hamra Mall in Ras Al Khaimah
Source: Nichole C. Miranda, Special to Property Weekly