London High Street has grown over the years from a luxury shopping service to its own brick-and-mortar store.
Following the success of its first branch in Yayasan in 2019, this year the luxury shopping service has expanded its presence with a second retail outlet located at the Setia Kenangan II Complex in Kiulap marking a major step in the growth of the homegrown business.
Covering more than 1000 sq ft, the elegantly designed retail space features an array of luxury pieces from Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada, YSL where customers can admire the fine craftsmanship of the items up close and personal. However, the luxury retail store is only available for private appointments.
From London to Brunei
Nuur Aqilah Hj Zainal Ariffin shared that her very first designer handbag was a Dior which she bought in 2017. For her, the luxury handbag was more than just a bag, it represented her journey as an entrepreneur and the founder of London High Street.
The 32-year-old serial entrepreneur always had a passion for shopping and helping people. Now, shopping for others has become her bread and butter.
Founded in 2013, the name “London High Street” was inspired by the start of Nuur Aqilah’s first chapter in London.
“When I first arrived in London in 2013, my first stop was Brunei Hall in Paddington. I was inspired by the streets there. At first, I wanted to name the business after ‘London Street’ but that was already taken. So, I chose to add “High Street” instead, which is also a commonly used term in the UK for the primary business centre of cities and towns,” she shared.
Nuur Aqilah’s journey into luxury personal shopping began when she was doing her master’s degree in International Business at the University of Surrey.
Living as a student in the UK can be expensive. At the time, Nuur Aqilah was looking for a way to earn extra income and stumbled on the idea of personal shopping.
She started off by offering her shopping services to her family and friends in Brunei.
From Harrods to Selfridges, Nuur Aqilah would spend her free time checking off items on her client’s shopping list.
Within a few months of the business, her portfolio of customers started growing and she was making a good amount of money as a luxury personal shopper.
“London High Street started on a pre-order basis,” said the entrepreneur.
The luxury shopping service offers a variety of luxury items, including handbags, designer shoes, accessories, among others.
It was only when the pandemic started, she noticed a growing demand for luxury items and an influx in the personal shopping business. A key reason for this, she noted, is because of the travel restriction and people had the extra money to spend.
“It was during the pandemic that we started seeing growing requests for more in-stock items. We took it as a great opportunity for the company to bring in luxury items to increase our inventory at the store,” she continued.
“From January to August this year, we paid more than $50,000 on custom taxes,” added Nuur Aqilah.
The business has had its fair share of ups and downs over the years as sourcing luxury items overseas can be challenging and risky.
She recalled that the most expensive product the business brought in for a customer was an Hermès which cost around $14K.
However, no matter the risk, the business’ focus is to provide transparency about the products the customers are paying for. The notion of authenticity is also an important aspect of the business.
From product information right through making the purchase, London High Street is all about maintaining exceptional customer service.
For the personal shopper, her relationship with customers is important and it is also her favorite part of what she does.
“My favourite part of the job is seeing my customers’ faces light up when they receive their purchase item,” said the 32-year-old.
Customers who wish to order through London High Street for the first time are required to place a 50% security deposit or down payment to avoid cancellations, she explained.
As for future plans, Nuur Aqilah said they are eyeing on expanding London High Street presence both regionally and internationally.
“Insya Allah. We hope to be able to penetrate the Borneo market and Asia especially because there has been an increase in clients coming from there,” she concluded.
This article was first published on 04 December 2021 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 170 | More stories here
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN