The Mukhi Sisters
As I walked into the lovely shop in downtown Beirut, just steps away from iconic Chanel, I was greeted by beautiful, upbeat, and smiley young women.
You’d be forgiven for not realizing that these down to earth women are the creative geniuses behind the Mukhi Sisters jewelry brand. Maya, Meena, and Zeenat have come a long way since the launch of their brand in 2009. Ask anybody in Lebanon about the Mukhi sisters, and they’ll know who you’re talking about. Their parents’ involvement in the industry clearly had an influence on their passion, as their mother is the founder of well known Effy’s Jewelry in Beirut, and their father comes from a long line of Indian jewelers. But don’t think for a moment that this had anything to do with their success; the girls built everything on their own, from the ground up, from designing, down to sourcing suppliers, and promoting to potential clients.
Zeenat now lives in London, yet her and Maya continue to design the edgy and unique collections, while Meena is known by all clients, and handles the business part of the company. They started with a tiny shop in Beirut souks and now have a well established, beautiful, and much larger, boutique downtown. They boast that their flagship store wouldn’t have been the same without the concept design of Rabih Geha, RG Architects, a leading name in the architecture industry in Lebanon.
How do you view jewelry?
Maya: I consider jewelry to be the eyes of the soul. A woman can be wearing any kind of outfit, but I’ll know her personality from her jewelry.
Meena: We read people based on the jewelry they wear.
What is the feeling you want to evoke in your clients when they enter the shop?
Maya: Our goal is to launch a brand new retail experience, where beautiful things are showcased, and where we can form bonds with our clients. When they wear our jewelry, they’re wearing our energy. We even showcase other designers’ work. The back end of the shop is a concept store where we carry belts, candles, and art pieces. We select from international designers that inspire us, and it’s a constantly evolving collection.
Meena: Anybody that enters our boutique is entering the Mukhi world, where all things are exquisite.
Do you feel that your clients are very loyal to the brand?
Maya: Yes, we do. We have a beautiful relationship with them. It’s constantly evolving, in a wonderful way. They start off as clients, and end up not only being loyal clients, but our friends! Our designs are maturing as well, in parallel to our relationships with our clients.
How different are the three sisters?
Maya: We’re different in character, yet we have a lot in common. Our styles are different. I’m vintage, more bohemian, while Meena is sharp and edgy, and Zeenat, well Zeenat is the crazy one! She has a unique sense of style; it’s more street style. She always wears 7 rings!
Meena: We may have different styles, but our characters complement each other and bring us together, and that’s what makes our family business work.
How has social media impacted the way you do business?
Maya: Honestly, when we opened our first boutique in Beirut souks, we were warned that the streets are often empty. That’s when we took the decision that the moment we close the door of our shop, anybody that enters is now entering our world, a beautiful world, no matter what is happening outside.
That’s also the day we discovered social media. It was about 8 years ago. My sister Zeenat is the one who taught me how to use social media, Instagram, Facebook. Instagram became like our store front. We would post about 5 times per day, and that’s how we got traffic to our store.
Meena: If you look at our Instagram account, you’ll notice that our pictures never have a plain background. We might be checking out some rings, and we’ll snap a spontaneous picture. When we first started our Instagram account, we broke all the rules. They always say a picture should be neat and perfect. I sometimes post a picture and my nail polish is chipped! We’re real, and we want our pictures to reflect that.
What would you say is the biggest challenge for the Mukhi Sisters in Lebanon?
Maya: Honestly, there are many challenges. Right now though, I would say the ultimate challenge is to be able to wow and delight our clients. We would also like to expand the brand. I’m so attached to the Mukhi experience so I would love to open a standalone Mukhi Sisters shop outside of Lebanon.
How proud are your parents of your success?
Maya: Our mother is so proud of us. Everyone used to know us as Effy’s daughters. They now ask her if she’s the mother of the Mukhi Sisters! We really built this business on our own. We were so stubborn and determined.
Meena: Our mother is a self made woman.When she began her business in the 80s, it wasn’t common to see a female entrepreneur. Not only was she building a business, but she had 3 daughters to raise, she cooked and cleaned, and was extremely involved in the Lebanese social scene. I never even saw her with chipped nail polish! She’s incredible.
Our dad is also naturally extremely proud of us as we’re continuing his family legacy in our own unique way.
Maya: Our parents worked so hard and were an example for us. We work hard as well, but try to maintain a work life balance. Sunday is a sacred day for me. Last year I went hiking every single Sunday. This helps me relax and get the creative juices flowing. That’s how I came up with the idea for our latest collection, Reverie on the Vine.
What is Mukhi Sisters’ next step?
Maya: For our 10th anniversary, we want to open our first international boutique. I know where I want it to be, but I’m not ready to share yet.
I can’t wait to eventually meet up with the girls again at the launch of their first international boutique.
Snapchat: Mukhi Sisters