– spreading the joy that is gorgeous lingerie
It is clear that lingerie is more than sensuous undergarments for Sarah Ibrahim of the Lingerie Shop – although she confesses that she loves fashion and “all things beautiful”— it’s about building women’s confidence and empowerment.
“I’m the eldest of four girls, and it was a constant headache to find quality undergarments,” she said, reminiscing on what prompted her to open the store.
“No matter what you wear, I think all women can agree that what’s underneath matters…makes you feel comfortable, confident, and sexy,” the entrepreneur declared when questioned about the seemingly incongruity of her faith and owning a lingerie store. Noting that she has faced this question many times in all the years she has had her business, she later added wryly, “Because I dress modestly, a lot of people think I have no idea about sex or what is sexy.”
“I am a woman and I know what women want. I’m also married with children and know our husbands love us looking and feeling beautiful and confident. More women need to realise lingerie is for home and we should always look amazing for our spouses. And for ourselves.”
Her one-of-a-kind store is filled with wonderful diaphanous and cotton pieces and offers make-up and other body products as well, because she believes in “taking care of yourself”. “We have wonderful customers who have realised that our service and quality and prices are unmatchable. We have regulars as well as new people discovering the store every day,” Ibrahim says of the response the store has received over the years.
For the stylish businesswoman, determination is key to running the business that has been providing exquisite underthings for women for 17 years. The East Bank Demerara resident says it is the most important quality an entrepreneur can possess.
“…without determination, you’re just an idea. You have to go out there and make your dreams a reality.”
Through all the ups and downs, including a fire last year that destroyed the building that housed the Lingerie Shop, betrayal by trusted staff members that damaged the store’s reputation and almost cost her the business, Ibrahim, with the support of her husband, has persevered – “at the end of it all, there’s a silver lining to every rainy cloud” – rebuilding the brand and moving to a new location.
Asked what keeps her going through all these setbacks, she said simply: “We are Muslim and our faith has a lot to do with how we handle unimaginable situations. We have looked at each setback as a stepping stone. Determination to succeed, to not let anyone or anything affect our success.”
Her advice to young entrepreneurs is “believe in yourself and prepare your mind that the road to success rarely is an easy one. Remember to save, be humble and be kind. You never know what the other person out there is facing maybe your smile is the one that brightens someone’s day”.
“And always, never think you are too big to take advice or correction.”
Contact: 146 Regent Street, Georgetown, Guyana – two buildings from Alexander Street in the top flat of the Techsource; 225-0578; www.facebook.com/saytlsgy/