A Luton entrepreneur is launching a new online shop to help Asian families buy party outfits from the comfort of their homes.
Apna Plaza sells jewellery, bags, footwear, women’s and men’s clothing, acting as one platform that different stores can use to display their products on.
Boutiques and individuals can list their new and pre-owned goods for free and the business is hoping Luton’s Asian community will get involved.
Business founder, Moina Shah, would like larger communities to advertise goods, helping more isolated Asian families source clothes.
She said: “A struggle is finding all the retailers in one place - there are only a few Asian dedicated high streets around the UK, which Asian’s have to travel to in order to find their ethnic goods.
“Apnaplaza.com is the only free marketplace in the UK for ethnic minorities. Asian weddings can cost over £20,000 and it can be difficult for families on a budget to keep up with the growing expenses involved in planning!”
Moina says the website has many benefits for sellers, including free registration, no contracts, no hidden costs and the ability to upload an unlimited amount of products. The business do their own website marketing, allowing sellers free exposure.
Meanwhile, customers can save on fuel and travel, compare prices, avoid shop queues, and secure payments via Paypal, debit or credit card.
Moina said: “Luton, being a multicultural town, has many areas where you can purchase ethnic fashion clothes. One particular area is Bury Park, where everything from spices to traditional garments are available.
“But it lacks online presence. It was reported that only 40% of Bury Park businesses are online, therefore Apnaplaza.com can give an opportunity that allows companies to put their products on a world stage for anyone to purchase. No technical jargon is required and if you need help registering, just ask!”
In the future, the website are aiming to merge services, so people such as make-up artists and caterers can promote their work, while customers can request quotes.
Moina runs Apna Plaza from Farley Hill, Luton, with her friends and family, including her partner, Mubasher Shah. They both own the website.