Beachroad Magazine head to Kite Beach to meet Katrin Strunz the founder behind the super cool Boutique Nomads store. The vibrant lifestyle concept store is dedicated to inspiring customers to infuse sunny moments into their daily routines, now thats always a good idea...
NAME? // Katrin Anne Strunz or Katz.
YOUR FIRST JOB? // A newspaper round. The one and only job I got fired from.
YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION // Jack of all trades, master of none at Boutique Nomads.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN DUBAI? // 3 months turned into 10 years.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START BOUTIQUE NOMADS ? // The lack of variety in the shopping malls. Dubai has hardly any independent retailers in an affordable price range. I always felt there was a need to have a fun concept store, where shoppers can really enjoy browsing, get inspired and make unique finds. I ended up doing most of my own shopping while travelling and so many people started asking. At some point, I just found the courage to say: ‘I quit my job. Let’s do this!’
WHICH OF YOUR PRODUCT DISCOVERIES HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE? // Tough question as all products are truly cherry picked. Plus we offer a large variety – from unicorn pool floats and rainbow neon lights to Scandinavian home décor. We have recently added clothing and accessories and if I were to pick a fav, it would be the colorful minimal jewelry by Ibiza designer Sonja Bonk. And I am quite proud we were the first to bring the vibrant creations of slow fashion brand Feather & Find from Bali to Dubai. These days, I really like to wear our ‘Mascara & Coffee’ t-shirt – super casual & always a good idea.
WHO DESIGNED THE LOGO / BRANDING? // It’s the kind of job I really enjoy, so I played on it myself.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE KITE BEACH AS YOUR BRICKS AND MORTAR LOCATION? // The beach is sort of a natural habitat for Boutique Nomads. And Kite Beach is probably the most laid back and authentic place in Dubai. It’s got a very real big city vibe. It was an unusual location and the perfect match. Last but not least: We’ve got sea view!
WHY SHOULD SOMEONE SHOP AT BOUTIQUE NOMADS? //Maybe it sounds a little naïve, but I am personally quite put off by any attempt to ‘hard sell’. I think our shop visitors – online and offline – instantly get a sense, that the shopping experience is quite different and everything created with a whole lot of love. Our customers appreciate to see something unique and independent – we get that feedback a lot, which makes us extra happy.
WHERE WOULD YOUR 5 BOUTIQUE NOMADS DREAM STORES BE LOCATED? // Of course all located in unusual places with a super chilled-out atmosphere and beautiful surroundings.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOUR BRAND IN 5 YEARS TIME? // Hopefully operating online and offline across the Middle East. Maybe with a branch or two in my home country Germany.
WHEN DID YOU REALISE THE WORLD OF RETAIL WAS FOR YOU? // I just glided into this – sort of naturally.
YOUR FAVOURITE STORES IN DUBAI (OTHER THAN YOUR OWN) ? // I like to visit some of the luxury flagship stores. I go there to get a feel for what’s trending, but mostly to check out their creative visual merchandising, packaging and branding - not so much for shopping though. The big layers have the resource to really play around with their ‘storytelling’ – for them, it’s 90% of their business. Other than that, I like to go to the markets and do my shopping with other small businesses. We have to support each other.
IF YOU WERE NOT RUNNING BOUTIQUE NOMADS WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING? // I would work for a company like Pantone and create new colors - maybe even textures. I like to work on the very essence and basics.
RETAIL ASIDE WHAT INSPIRES YOU? // Anything unusual or new that instantly puts a tight grip on my attention. Usually these moments are followed by a tiny wave of goosebumps, hence hard to miss. Could be music, a good story, something I just randomly see.
IF YOU COULD SPEND A DAY WITH ANY DESIGNER ALIVE OR DEAD WHO WOULD IT BE? // Karl Lagerfeld. He’s mastered the art of pretty much everything.
WHO IS YOUR GREATEST FASHION INFLUENCE? // I honestly don’t know. But I can say, that my sister influenced me quite a bit when it comes to taste in general. Also, my grandma who was very particular about color coordinating her entire household – something I inherited.
YOUR GREATEST LOVE? // My husband. Our cats and Colours.
YOUR GREATEST FEAR? // The heavy stuff we all try not to think about too much.
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? // That’s a weird one: I remember the pattern of the blanket I had as a baby.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY? // Am just trying to take on board the best of the good people I know or have heard of.
WHAT IS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE SOMEONE? // A silly polar bear sleeping mask. I am eager to see my husband wearing it on his next flight.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE CHILDREN? // Learn how to fail.
YOUR WORST TRAIT? // I am not good at failing.
THE WORST TRAIT IN OTHERS THAT GETS YOU MAD? // Dishonesty, pushing own responsibilities onto others.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE? // I doubt Jennifer Lawrence would sign up for that.
LAST RECORD / DOWNLOAD YOU BOUGHT? // By a band called Future Islands. I am a bit old school and like to listen to a full album. Shame I hardly find the time to do so.
LAST BOOK YOU BOUGHT? // 100 ideas that changed street styles.
THE CLOSEST YOU HAVE COME TO DEATH? // Oh, let’s not go there. It was scary. And I felt lucky afterwards.
FAVOURITE TRAVEL DESTINATION? // Any place that has great nature, some calm roads and an old, slow motor scooter for hire.
LEAST FAVOURITE TRAVEL DESTINATION? // Huge cities with heavy pollution. Dreadful.
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? // Mostly everyday stuff, funny situations, my own little mishaps and occasionally those of others ;)
WHATS MAKES YOU CRY? // The thought of opening one of the animal picture books I had as a kid… having to cross each page with a black marker: rhinos, elephants, lions, leopards, polar bears, whales… You name them.
YOUR MESSAGE? // Beep.