Introducing Kuwait's first lifestyle cafe concept: Q at The Yard
Beginning as an online portal in 2010
Beginning life as an online shop in early 2010 with only a select number of hand-picked products, Q at The Yard has established itself as a retail force to be reckoned with in less than four years.
Along the way it has also managed to expand its product line and cater to its growing customer base by collaborating with a local cafe, making it the first ever lifestyle cafe and shop concept in Kuwait.
As an advocate of arts and collaborations, Q at The Yard continues maintain its position as a haven for innovative and unusual products by organising themed events and regularly introducing new products, designers and displays. It's run by graphic designers, Ala'a Ali Reda and Danah Behbehani who work to produce limited edition pieces, and provides design services – namely branding, custom stationery designs, and packaging – for young and upcoming businesses.
Buro 24/7 Middle East meets the pair to find out more.
When did Q at The Yard officially open?
In January 2013 with an Alice in Wonderland themed event night where invitees were able to browse through the merchandise in the shop and then be seated for breakfast. The set-up included a "live" changing display window where guests were allowed to step up to the dedicated window and compose a display of themselves with the help of props. The invitations for the event read:
"A fun time will be had, perhaps they'll think we're all mad. Would we be declared a sinner if -- All dressed up, we had breakfast for dinner?"
Why did you decide to open?
Actually The Yard started as an online shop in early 2010. It had a select number of eclectic, vintage, and up-cycled products (mainly jewellery and homeware accessories) rooted with a recycling ethic with its unique recycled paper packaging. The product mix has grown since then to include customised home-ware designed by The Yard as well as handpicked local designer products. In 2013, Danah and Ala'a worked with a local café, Q, and launched a collaborative space named 'Q at The Yard' to feature a café within a shop - the first of its kind in the region.
Back in 2010 (and probably until today) the market in Kuwait lacked eccentricity in the products it offered. We wanted to introduce such products to the market and highlight them as functional every day products that still felt quite "special".
What sets you apart from other stores?
It is definitely our product mix. As mentioned, the products we carry are quite exclusive, both to Kuwait and the region. We are selective with the items we carry and place a lot of effort looking for beautifully designed products and in many instances, work on the product design itself. If you wanted something different in Kuwait, you'd visit Q at The Yard. We also think the fact that we are designers makes a difference.
Where are your top five places to visit in Kuwait?
- For the Arts: Dar AlAthar Al-Islamiyah
- For Food: We're going to have to be biased and say the QCafe, but Edo Restaurant is definitely a place we visit often as well.
- For Homeware: Ecru
- For Entertainment: Cinemagic Rooftop Cinema
- For Rejuvenation: Youm AlBahar. We've been to there a couple of times and we plan to go there more often once the weather is nicer. Unfortunately its been somewhat run down, but its great to take a break from a busy day, have a cup of black tea in atypical old Kuwait tea set and tray while watching the sun go down! One of the reasons why it was important for us to be located in the city is the close proximity to old Kuwaiti markets and businesses. We love being able to walk down the street to the bank or walk through the back alley to check on our work at the printing press.
Do you have plans to expand to other parts of GCC?
We are currently looking for a second home for The Yard in Kuwait with a spin-off on the concept. We hope to expand to the GCC soon but nothing is in the works as of yet.
Tell us which brands you carry
As mentioned a lot of our items are not typical 'brands'. However, one of the brands we are quite excited to be carrying include Mark's which is a high quality Japanese stationery brand. Other brands include Kinfolk (book and magazines), Lomography, Tokyo Milk, and Rana Salam's 'Mishmaoul'.