BEIRUT: Recently, there has been a growth of social media-based small enterprises that are proving to be a strong contender to the conventional storefront model.
From boutiques, to cake shops, social media is becoming the sole outlet where brands seek to open shop. Online brands can increase their reach and exposure and subsequently make more money busy decreasing their marketing budget to practically nothing.
For one creative team, this has proved their gateway to commerce and exposure to the larger market.
Andrea Terzian and Christina Jane Nammar are two graphic designers with big dreams. Their brand, "The Morning After", is a call for hope to all those who have experienced hardship and challenges. For them, it is a constant reminder that no matter how bad and miserable we feel about things today, there will always be a morning after to reassure us that everything is going to be okay.
"Like most people who graduate, especially from the arts majors, we wanted to change the world and we had a vision for it. That didn't last long though," said Andrea. "After being exposed to the industry in Lebanon, we felt like we couldn't express ourselves artistically, and this was dragging us down for a while until we accepted that work will always be work."
"We created our own little outlet where we could be ourselves, no briefs, no rules, just our design aesthetic," she added.
Their journey started during a design class in university where they met and became friends. Soon after, they both realized that they shared common interests and a similar ambition, to create. Later on, they decided to open up social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram so they could share their creative creations with whomever is interested enough.
What started out as a gift/ collage page, turned into more. After some requests, Terzian and Nammar saw a business opportunity. They collaborated with another talented product designer, Gerard Rechdan (or Kaktus.tv), on a new project where he transformed their digital designs into amazing lightboxes of different sizes. The Lebanese retro inspired lightboxes proved to be a hit and sold many versions in the Taanayel's Christmas market, and in Backdoor, Mar Mikhael. Their best customers? Travelers!
Andrea mentioned how most of the customers that contact them want to purchase their lightboxes as gifts or souvenirs for their family and friends abroad since the designs remind them of Lebanon in the 60s and 70s, back in its golden age!
"It is not just about design", Andrea mentioned as she continued to speak passionately about "The Morning After" "it is about sending a message visually."
She emphasized the supportive role of women working together to break the misconception jealous competiveness. The team share a mutual artistic respect, when they discuss their work, said Andrea, and support and push one another towards creating better designs. Instead of feeling intimidated from the unique style of each, the women always get inspired by the opposite designer's work.
"I wouldn't change anything about Christina", exclaimed Andrea before noting that acceptance is key when it comes to any relationship, even if it is a business partnership. She later went on to mention that women are more in touch with their emotions than men, and therefore, it is very important for women to have empathy towards each other.
The team behind "The Morning After" are not stopping at just social marketing; their online success has given them the confidence to think beyond a social media platform. For the aritistic duo, the next step will be to open a gallery, making their unique art more accessible to buyers and fans in the real world.
They know it will be a challenge, but also may open a doorway to even greater exposure and achievement.
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