By Aalia Khan
The funky, chic atmosphere and products on offer at the new gift and interior store Artz-i in Bradford town centre grabs your attention from the moment you step in.
From the modern and unique mugs and frames to the exquisite wall of art from across the world, spending 10-15 minutes just to take in everything available should be expected. Artz-i, which has only been open for the last three months on Sunbridge Road, has done very well for itself in drawing in people’s attention, selling many of the high end products and taking repeat orders.
Mohammed Ali Rasul, Managing Director of the store says “Having opened for only three months we have had sell-throughs and I never would’ve expected it. People love quality. And Bradford has lots of trendy people who appreciate quality and art.” Rasul has been in the fashion industry for the last twenty five years when he owned a designer menswear outlet called Zohm in Huddersfield and Oldham, having sold the stores but kept the brand, Rasul wanted to open up a new store and brand of his own selling high quality products for a reasonable price for the people of Bradford.
Rasul has travelled the world and lived in Yemen with his family for 13 years, he recently returned to Bradford to discover that there wasn’t much quality Islamic art and products on offer in Bradford. Along with his two partners he decided to open up Artz-i to offer Islamic art as well as other unique products from around the world and the UK that the people of Bradford may not have discovered.
The first floor which customers step into houses gifts, ornaments, greeting cards, flowers, candles, mugs and a wall of art from artists across the world including Syria, Istanbul and Cairo. Having divulged in all the small treasures on offer you can walk down the stairs to the ground floor which presents interior and home furnishings such as lamps, arm chairs, chic clocks, cushions and cabinets.
As much as looking at nice products is great for a customer, the price is always the main factor, Rasul has kept this in mind and ensured that all his products are sold at a reasonable price. Greeting cards start from £1.75. The average price on the first floor is £10-£15, and downstairs the interior and furnishing floor houses items at £2000, but the average price of products on that floor is £200-£300; this involves quirky furniture. The art work starts from £10 and goes up to £100, which includes large, good quality frames. Rasul says “I wanted to ensure it wasn’t expensive but still good quality. It is about gifts and that is one way to connect with people. I wanted a gift store in which people can afford to come in and spend at.”
Rasul says customers and passersby have loved the store and products on offer and people have said that this type of store should be in Leeds or London, but Rasul argues “No why can’t Bradford have it, we just need to get people’s confidence to spend in Bradford rather than going out, and give them the confidence that we know what we are doing.”
An Artz-i online store is currently being developed which will offer more of the Islamic art and they are also in the process of creating an art gallery which will display art from around Bradford as well as worldwide.