Kerim Ture, one of the founders of Modanisa, a successful Muslim women’s fashion site, said he started the business because he felt that women who wanted to dress conservatively didn’t have a lot of options that catered to them specifically, according to a report by the Financial Times.
“Women who wanted to be stylish and obey the rules of modesty didn’t have much of a choice,” he said. “There were stories that people were buying two short-sleeved T-shirts and making them into one long-sleeve top.”
The name of Ture’s site is a reference to a chapter in the Koran, and it means women in Arabic. He started it in 2011 with $500,000 in capital together with four of his friends.
Modanisa.com has deals with 800 clothing makers, many of them small ateliers in Turkey, and he gives them a platform to reach people all over the globe.
The company has been growing at a rapid rate, and broke even for the first time in 2017. Last year, Modanisa turned a profit. The company has been through a few funding rounds with investors like Goldman Sachs and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
“We want to be Turkey’s first unicorn,” Ture said in the FT report.
Muslim shoppers are a growing demographic in the fashion industry, and a recent study showed they are spending a lot of money — $270 billion in 2017, and that’s expected to go up to $361 billion by the year 2023.
Shelina Janmohamed, vice president at Ogilvy Noor, a company that targets Muslim customers, said Modanisa is at the helm of a few companies that are finding success catering to Muslim clientele.
“We’ve seen some brands moving to the next step and starting to commercialise on a bigger scale, of which Modanisa is one of the biggest,” she says. “Everyone talks about it.”
The Modanisa website hosts about 150 million unique visitors a year, and has about 3.5 million that return to the site.