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Inspiring Conversations with Sanaa Alyemeni of Alara + Zane

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sanaa Alyemeni.

Hi Sanaa, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
For several years I had the drive and passion to develop a business, it just took some time to really define what it would look like. In 2019 the lightbulb clicked and my business plan started to come together and I could really start to visualize it. Having two young children, I really loved making them laugh, hearing those uncontrollable laughs and big smiles made everything better. While parenthood is full of joyous moments, it also offers is challenges, uncertainties, making it an emotional rollercoaster at times. I knew I wanted to create a space that was special for children and adults. I wanted a space that fostered wonder in children and equally supported parents and caregivers through the journey. A space that offered opportunities for stress-free play, classes, parties, and an amazing collection of clothes, shoes, toys, and party supplies all in one inviting place.

After developing the brand feel, finding the perfect space, and a stressful construction process – we are here today. A place for families to come together to find community, play, learn, shop, and party in one space that feels like home.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Oh gosh… not at all. The most glaring struggle was CoVID crashing down on us right when we were preparing for a grand opening. Understanding how to gain brand awareness during a time where people were generally staying at home has been tricky to say the least.

I’m sure new businesses are always challenging to launch. It takes time to understand client preferences, how much to buy, where to advertise and so on. I think people had less vacations, weddings, and holiday parties to dress up for. Spending habits were more conservative do to all the uncertainty CoVID created in our economy. All of this created a real challenge with assigning new business hours, budgeting, staffing, and buying

I have also found it to be immensely challenging to navigate the marketing portion of running a small business. There are still so many people who don’t know we exist so this is still and area I’m learning how to better navigate.

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am the Founder and Owner of Alara+Zane, a Shop-Play-Learn-Party concept dedicated to families with children infants to eight years of age. We specialize in building relationships with our clients (both littles and grownups) in order to create a warm and inviting experience each time they shop, play and learn, and party! We care about our families and we love learning about each guest who visits our store. We try to remember their names, likes and dislikes so that we can better support them through their experiences with us.

We offer a curated selection of some of the best children’s brands from around the world. We love styling kiddos, picking out baby shower gifts, and creating unique birthday parties for each of our or families. We also try and offer the same personalized experience when folks are shopping online as well.

I am most proud of the beautiful space that I’ve created in our flagship store here in Raleigh. With the help of a wonderful branding agency and local architect firm, we created a space that balances a calm, clean, open aesthetic with whimsical fun touches.

I encourage anyone with children ages 9 and under to visit our space. Each experience is unique, whether it be a new craft or science experiment in our play space or a new collection of gifts in our shop… there is always some new to see and do.

We’d love to hear about how you think about risk taking?
Risk taking is an interesting topic when it comes to businesses. I’m a very thorough person, and I like to think through all the possibilities and really analyze concepts and ideas before executing. With that said, there is still some element of risk when you’re launching something new.

Our space and concept is unique to our area and nationally. Articulating the concept and creating brand awareness is challenging but it is a risk that I am happy to take as I believe in the vision and mission that my business founded on.

I am not naturally a risk taker. You won’t find me sky-diving, and I’m very much a rule follower… but I have taken a huge risk in putting everything toward this business.

Pricing:

  • Retail boutique price points range from $5-75
  • Play and craft passes $15
  • Birthday Parties start at $400

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Andrew Albright – Mainland Creative

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