We recently alerted you to the new brick and mortar store for Verona Collection.
They launched over the weekend in Orlando, Florida and we caught up with one of the founders of the brand, Lisa Vogl, for a quick phone interview.
She’s a busy entrepreneur and has a lot of love and energy for the brand that’s tackling the Muslim consumer market.
Vogl, is a photographer who has done a lot of fashion work, and ended up launching Verona Collection online with a co founder in February of 2015.
The company now has a total of 4 owners, including Nadine Abu Jubara of Nadoona, who designs their sportswear line.
Vogl says most of the work they do is not glamorous, and for those who are thinking of launching a company, they really need to have the passion to put in long hours.
“Most of our work we do off the computer, it’s a lot of business work. Designing work is only about 10-15% of what the company actually does. My job consists of a lot of things negotiating contracts, and making sure shipments arrive on time. There’s a lot more to it than just the designing. The design aspect I deal with remotely as well with my overseas manufacturers.”
But, working online is also a benefit. One of the company co-owners lives in the UK, one in Texas, and she and Abu Jubara are both in Orlando.
Vogl says the idea to start a clothing company that catered to modest fashion and Muslim women began back in 2013 after she had her baby.
She started to look into things, and research options and in 2014 when she decided it’s what she wanted to do, it took her about a year to get everything in order before Verona Collection officially took off.
As for the new storefront in the Fashion Square Mall of Orlando, Vogl says so far the response has been amazing.
“We’re getting lots of requests to open in other parts of the country and the world. That just tells you how much of a need this really is. All we have in the U.S. is something you can purchase online. It’s hard for people to feel the fabric, try it on, and make sure what their purchasing looks good on them. We go crazy when we get to bazaars at ISNA or ICNA. Because it’s so hard to find in person, we just really wanted something where women can have it all year round.”
But, brick and mortar hijab fashion stores don’t always do too well.
And the same goes for the online hijab fashion companies.
Dozens launch every year and some are successful, while others shutter seemingly overnight.
Vogl says she can’t comment on why other companies aren’t doing so well, but says she’s confident because of their robust online sales that they’ll be able to sustain themselves in a mainstream mall.
“So far we’ve had nothing but positive responses from the amount of customers we’ve received, we also get a lot of non Muslim customers who want to dress modestly. We definitely target and market toward Muslims. But we also get non Muslims as well that like the cardigans or long sleeve dresses.”
With a visible presence in a mall, and a comment section in a recent news article on Verona Collection filling up with hateful comments, it can be a tough go for a hijab fashion brand.
Will they be welcomed, or will someone try to push them out?
Vogl says, worrying about Islamophobia is in the back of their mind.
“I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t completely worried about someone showing up that was an Islamophobe. But the opposite happened. An old lady came up to us and we didn’t know what to expect. She said ‘I don’t know how anybody is saying anything bad about you girls, you’re so beautiful. I hate Donald Trump for what he is saying about you.’ And that to me speaks volumes, that while many people may be feeding into what he’s saying, there are even more people that are in support of us and that’s what we have to focus on.”