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Pick of the quarter: Instagram and Chalhoub Greenhouse have teamed up to mentor and develop high-potential local fashion startups in KSA

Partner content: Chalhoub Group’s The Greenhouse partnered with Instagram to create Fashion Lab, an accelerator programme for start-up Saudi Fashion brands.

Instagram and Chalhoub Greenhouse have teamed up to mentor and develop high-potential local fashion startups in KSA. The initiative came from the ‘Fashion Lab’, a programme launched by Chalhoub Greenhouse to promote corporate entrepreneurship and identify disruptive and innovative Saudi Fashion brands. Over five months, Fashion Lab provides five new businesses with the necessary skills and resources to accelerate their growth.

The start-ups that benefitted from the programme were: eco-conscious eyewear brand Cones & Rods; bag designer Dania Shinkar; and ready-to-wear clothing companies Noms Life, Proud Angeles and Kaf by Kaf.

The Greenhouse is Chalhoub Group’s space for innovation and entrepreneurship. It partnered with social media platform Instagram with three objectives: to help drive economic impact in Saudi Arabia by empowering fashion start-ups; to drive awareness of the Fashion Lab accelerator programme, and to drive awareness and sales for the five start-ups. Its two key audiences were the business community and fashion consumers in the Kingdom.

Instagram delivered a two-tier model. It provided dedicated support on media, creative, technology and media measurement during the awareness campaign then it delivered the same level of support to each start-up, matching them with content creators and working with them to produce content and launch their individual campaigns.

The final output was best-in-class content that was translated into key Instagram video format, including Reels.

Fashion Lab provided guidance on how to grow existing operations, and the brands received immersive training on digital and social marketing and retailing. They also benefitted from workshops on working with content creators, media measurement, marketing and content creation.

The popular Saudi content creators who partnered with the programme were Elias Setta and Lamia Al Maliki. They came on board as brand- ambassadors for the start-ups.

The programme was operating on a tight timescale, as it needed to coincide with the opening of A Concept by MUSE, an integrated fashion, beauty and home gifting destination curating exclusive designer brands for the highly fashionable youth of Saudi in the hip Riyadh Park area of Saudi’s capital. The brands needed to be ready for sale in-store, and the marketing had to be activated at the right time to see an effective and efficient drive around the launch of the brands’ campaigns.

Thanks to a seamless collaboration between the partners, the passion of both teams helped deliver a project that worked for the greater good. Research found the public remembered the Fashion Lab ad on Instagram, and considered it effective in driving fashion SMEs. Instagram delivered a reach of 3.5 million (77 per cent of the target audience). Ad recall saw a 2.9 point lift; message agreement rose by 1.5 points and message familiarity went up by 5 points. The return on advertising spend was 1.7-times, based on store sales.

Rana Bouri, Head of Mena Marketing META

“An engaging and creative campaign leveraging Instagram that works best when everyone is playing: creators and marketers side-by-side, tagging in each other, tagging in their communities and tagging in the powerful tools found only on Instagram. This is how collective creativity works. We all come together in new and innovative ways, each playing a part.”

Mansour Salameh, Retail & Ecommerce Industry Partner, META

“We are proud of this collaboration between Instagram and Chalhoub Greenhouse, which aimed at driving positive impact to the SME ecosystem in Saudi Arabia. The work that we have both put in helped five fashion start-ups in KSA produce a world-class marketing output on Instagram and deliver above-benchmark business results..”

Rafi Dikranian, Marketing & Operations Manager, The Greenhouse

“Working with META on this project taught us that if we all have one aligned goal, we can create a meaningful impact, setting us up for continued success in the future. The wealth of data gathered from this programme, both qualitative and quantitative, will support improve our collaborative efforts as well as the programme in its next iteration.”

Austyn Allison, Senior Editor, Campaign Middle East

“It’s great to see an established business giant like Chalhoub Group partnering with a cutting-edge platform like Instagram to benefit young businesses in Saudi Arabia. It’s a sign of the freshness of thought in the Kingdom, and how big players both old and new are hitching their wagons to emerging
talent to grow the whole Saudi fashion sector.”