Fashion Influencer Karen Wazen Launches Jewelry

FROM INFLUENCING TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP: Evolving beyond eyewear, fashion influencer Karen Wazen unveiled her namesake brand’s new product offering Wednesday: fashion jewelry. “This is the start of us being a full-fledged accessories brand,” said Wazen, who first launched her eyewear brand five years ago and boasts more than 8 million followers on Instagram.  

The first drop in her fashion jewelry line, the “Bonds of Gold,” collection, features stackable bangles and the brand’s dual diamond-shaped logo in the form of oversized hoop earrings. Her inspiration for the design, which creates the illusion of an infinite bonded chain “is the personal connections we cultivate throughout our lives,” she said. Fittingly, the first jewelry campaign features her longtime best friend, artist and influencer Dana Hourani — someone Wazen says embodies the intertwining threads of friendship, love and shared experiences.

Adding jewelry was a natural step for Wazen’s Dubai-based, brand which she created to reflect her own contemporary style, a reflection of her world balancing life as a busy working mom. 

The content creator told WWD the brand saw 90 percent year-on-year growth in the last year driven by its expansion in brick-and-mortar retail spaces. Wazen currently has four retail spaces in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Lebanon with plans to expand further this year.

The first boutique opened in her native Lebanon in 2023 as a symbolic gesture to honor her fanbase. “We wanted to be available in Lebanon to the community that supported me early on,” she said. Demand was high so the brand opened a second store in Lebanon, followed by a location at Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, Wazen’s adopted home, this past December, and most recently, a fourth location in Abu Dhabi.  She said the pace of growth into brick-and-mortar operations was not originally part of the strategic growth plan, but was a natural step as sales grew. “Now the retail operation comprises 75 percent of our total revenue while our wholesale operation is 25 percent.”

While she didn’t anticipate the success of having her own retail presence, it makes sense, she said, given their hero product. “For eyewear you really need to try on the item and see how it makes you feel and fits you. Sunglasses personally for me are a tool that make me feel more confident, more powerful, more present in a room.”

She explained that the company can create the story around the brand more effectively with its own stores, citing her original inspiration for the brand being her own childhood insecurities around having very big eyes.

Wazen says the company hopes to double growth in 2024 with the launch of three more retail outlets in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The second biggest growth has come from the U.S. via online, direct sales. The market penetration in the U.S., she said, has been organic. But she credits celebrity interest as helping fuel that, including the likes of Beyoncé wearing and posting her eyewear.

“When I first started the brand, it did of course leverage me personally as a social media personality with a following and reach, but I really always wanted it to evolve beyond that,” she said. “For me to now see the brand is seeing people all over the world wearing it, not people who know or recognize me, but people who appreciate the brand and identify with the product.”

The jewelry collection, which launches Thursday on the brand’s website, has been in the works for quite some time, she said. “One of the great advantages of having an online presence is being able to test and tease products and get organic feedback.”

For the jewelry, which Wazen said she could be seen wearing casually in posts, that interaction with fans help bolster the move into the category. “It was crazy we got so many questions about whether we would make it available. It’s really exciting for us to see it come out now,” she said.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top