Founder of the growing accessory label Candy and Lola; Rana Dabbous was born in Beirut and now splits her time between London and Dubai as a high-rising and ethical female entrepreneur. Candy and Lola are rapidly growing sales in the UK and will soon be opening a physical shop for all the London locals.
Her label is named after her two beautiful children - because her son likes sugar way too much (candy), and her daughter’s nickname is Lola. Rana’s personal search for an attractive and functional beach bag made her customize her own straw bag. She fell in love with the sustainable nature of the straw bags and especially her unique and signature hand-embroidered ‘evil eye’ motif.
Rana has only gained positive feedback from clients and friends which demonstrates the high demand and appetite for personalised, high-quality beach accessories, not available elsewhere. Candy & Lola products are famous for their finest quality and sustainable materials. There is no plastic or any man-made materials insight when they are in production. Not only are the products ethical themselves, but, Rana also only employs women, including 3 divorced women in Lahore - who would otherwise have no other means of supporting themselves because of strict circumstances for women in Muslim countries.
Divorced women are seen as outcasts in the Muslim community unless they are wealthy, they have no way to earn money and struggle to survive. Candy and Lola support and help these women and truly is a brand for women, by women.
The bags are both practical and fashionable and have risen to the fashion surface from their recent collaboration with Burberry. Rana describes the Candy & Lola x Burberry partnership as a perfect fit, both brands sharing a passion for craftsmanship, quality and attention to detail. “Our unique collection with Burberry has carved out a niche, with designs that double as works of art and serve as the perfect complement to our handcrafted hats and baskets in this industry”.
Candy & Lola are certain to turn heads, in an interview with Rana Dabbous below we find out about the fully sustainable and fabulous brand as well as getting the know the boss women behind it.
Candy & Lola products are made from the finest quality, sustainable materials in the world. There is no plastic or any man-made materials used in their production. Why do you think it is important to incorporate sustainability into your designs?
"It is important because being able to incorporate sustainability into my design, it seeks to reduce negative impacts on the environment, determines efficient and effective use of space, lowers pollution, waste, and energy consumption that’s why You won’t find synthetic materials or mass-produced bags as each product is made by a human being, and comes with its own character and story to tell."
Where do your main influences for Candy & Lola come from?
"My main influence comes from the increase in my understanding of the interdependencies between the social and ecological systems. I want that my products are not just eco-friendly and classy but also budget-friendly and leave a statement on its own."
Describe your usual clientele?
"My customers are elegant, trendy women, who want to be perfectly groomed both for leisure and work. They appreciate the best quality and look for gorgeous and classy handcrafted products that reflect their style and personality, and of course loyal to Candy and Lola."
An amazing quality of Candy & Lola is that you employ 4 women at your atelier in Dubai, and support 3 widowed, needy women in Lahore, Pakistan (who would otherwise have no other means of supporting themselves), why do you think it's important to support women in your brand?
"I have hired women because I can say that women are more likely to create a better work environment and can relate through empathy and appreciation for others. Women like me, have a greater willingness to communicate and receive feedback to contributes to solving disputes and not only this will uplift them but also to encourage and empower the women in this time and helping them earn a fair wage."
Candy & Lola is remarkable for designing and hand-crafting each piece to order, what is your crafting process like
"The lightweight Straw Hats and Bags are 100% Handmade and Handwoven from a strong yet soft straw material, and the design materials are rigidly attached by stitching or sometimes by machinery if needed."
"These are handcrafted from natural seagrass and are all hand woven; the straw material is sliced in strings that are dried in the sun. If necessary, the dried straw strings are dyed to achieve the desired colour."
When making your designs, what are your three biggest rules?
My 3 major rules in making my designs are:
Simplicity and details
To serve satisfaction to all my clients
How do you distinguish individuality within your label?
"By assuring my brand's designs and quality that will perceive my client’s awareness and excitement whenever they can see our products everywhere particularly in Dubai, soon in UK and around the world."
You've made pieces for celebs across the scene, from such as influencer Busra, the TV presenter Dima Al Haj and more. Who has been your favourite to dress & why?
"It was an absolute pleasure working with them. All of them are my favourite and I appreciate and thank them for patronizing my products. I genuinely admire them as they love to spread love and set examples for the younger generation."
Who else would you love to see wear your designs?
Well, it did not take celebrities and online fashion influencers long to spot Candy and Lola’s unique hats and baskets, and as a result, we are getting immense responses from well-known celebrities and social media influencers. Even people all over the world have been ordering online and increasing our brand portfolio."
What's the next step for Candy & Lola?
"Candy and Lola’s next step is to keep supporting local artisan communities economically using environmentally sustainable practices to ensure the real long-term growth of the community. We are also looking into expanding our product portfolio."
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