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In an immaculate, whitewashed office above a Chinese restaurant in Gemmayzeh, Tania Rayes pulled a beautifully detailed poplin shirt out of its box.Lebanese startup Henri Miller is hoping to capture a slice of the country's luxury clothing sector, undercutting foreign labels by utilizing domestic production and providing a superior online shopping experience.Founded by Rayes and Haig Kradjian, both American University of Beirut graduates, the online-only retailer opens its virtual doors Wednesday, offering an array of men's and women's shirts. The Middle East is a significant market for high-end clothing and luxury goods, and retailers have responded by opening franchises across the region, particularly in the Gulf. Rayes and Kradjian are wagering that there is an appetite in Lebanon for a more affordable luxury brand.Both of the founders placed particular emphasis on the need to forge relationships with customers and create an enjoyable shopping experience, despite lacking a physical storefront.Kradjian and Rayes are hoping this combination will be strong enough to lure customers away from their pricier foreign counterparts.
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