Success of Syrian refugee’s basement clothing business has owner looking to expand
A Calgarian who relocated from Syria in 2011 has found success with his line of clothing for women thanks to a customer base that continues to expand through word-of-mouth.
Omar Lababidi owned three women’s clothing stores in the city of Homs specializing in both high-end and modest apparel.
Lababidi relocated to Canada and, after spending time in Montreal, moved to Calgary where he returned to the business he knew but on a much smaller scale.
Working out of his basement, the business owner secured inventory from Turkey and began selling his wares to Calgary women under the name Fancy Label. The clothing proved popular with Muslim women as many of the items concealed all bare skin,
"We have to be covered," said Rahaf Aburashed who was shopping for a graduation dress. "As part of our religion we have to wear long sleeves because you can't be showing off your arm or anything."
Lababidi's store was soon discovered by customers from an array of cultural backgrounds.
“We are on the right track,” said Lababidi. “We started two years ago from my basement. Now we’re growing up so fast so that’s we need to get our first real store, like an official store, in Calgary.”
Lababidi says the kind of clothing he offers is hard to find in Calgary and across Canada. Fancy Label is now available online but Lababidi says the economic downturn had made retail space affordable and he hopes to open a store in the coming months. Should the store succeed, Labibidi plans to pursue his dream and expand to locations throughout North America.
With files from CTV's Kevin Fleming