Dubai-based hats brand. Founded by Moldovan Cristina Lure for the traveller and explorer woman.

Business / Brand: Hatzelle

Current situation: the brand produces bespoke hats, in collaboration with Ecuadorian craftsmen and sells B2C made-to-order.

Problems identified by Maelle:  the brand doesn’t have a clear positioning, the founder started the brands as a side business.

Sections of focus: Branding, Communication

Objective: to use the power of collaboration since the founder has limited time and limited budget

Introduction and problem statement

Hatzelle is a Dubai-based bespoke hats founded by Cristina Leni.

Cristina meets Leda in 2021, online and then offline, when she is trying to promote the Hatzelle brand beyond the Gulf and MENA countries.

Cristina discovers at her expense, after starting the brand, that hats are not widely used in the MENA area.

The founder recognizes that her online participation as a face of the brand is rare (almost non-existent), and that she does not have the opportunity to be a full-time entrepreneur today, Cristina chooses to develop Hatzelle alone, without help, in her free time from his primary job.

This situation clearly causes a delay in the productions on deadlines and unfortunately the skip of a few commercial seasons.

Cristina seeks discreet help that allows her to maintain her current lifestyle and primary job, considering that within three years, she would like to quit her current job and dedicate herself to the brand.

Cristina communicated using the social networks as a commercial windows.

The analysis of the problem

Leda and Maelle’s team analyze Cristina’s current situation. The beauty of the help that Maelle can give is that she is largely personalized and fits perfectly with the needs that the founders of the brand have in every moment of their professional career.

Cristina was already very aware of the fact that she did not have much time to devote to the brand and that she, because of this, preferred to devote herself to the quality and not the quantity of products.

The first mistake that Cristina deduces from the use of Maelle (and in the Branding section) is that she should have analyzed the reference market before launching a product and registering it in the Gulf area (which for trademark registration is among the most expensive in the world).

The market analysis is confirmed to be true over the two years in which Cristina has tried to place a niche product in a market (Middle East) that does not particularly appreciate her kind of hats. This is due to the fact that the clientele that could afford the price of Hatzelle hats is made up of women who mostly wear Hijab or Nikhab, without therefore necessarily feeling the need to wear an additional hat.

Nevertheless, there are two points in favor of Hatzelle’s situation.

  • The very clear intentions of the founder:
  1. Cristina wants to keep a primary job for personal reasons, which unfortunately is not a job that allows her a routine and fixed hours (she sometimes works during the day, sometimes at night, with little notice).
  2. She wants to continue promoting the brand, but in the time she allows her to do her business.
  3. She knows that she cannot afford to rely on the help of external collaborators because they are expensive for her budget and because she knows she cannot pay attention to them consistently and with precise timetables.
  • Cristina has a mission that moves her heart, and which is the basis of her project: to promote the sustainable work of Ecuadorian artisans, providing them with their technical skills and supporting their local development initiatives.

Based on this, Leda has some first considerations that she exposes to Cristina:

The values of sustainability are present in the product, but they are not communicated properly. The same goes for the story behind the brand, of an expat from Eastern Europe, moved to the Middle East, who fell in love with the almost lunar landscapes (desert) and the warm colors of these lands.

The first logo design

The logo represents the gaceful of a gazelle, the name of the brand is a mix between Hats and Gazelle.

How Hatzelle used to communicate

0 time + 0 expertise but a good mission at heart

 Have you found yourself or are you in this moment in the same situation as Cristina? Are you a founder of a fashion brand that cannot or does not want to leave a job for countless different reasons?

It is a condition that many founders – for the most part under 35 years old – have to face (also applies to founders who have an intense personal life – mothers or fathers of two and three very young children or managers of family businesses, for instance).

Your dream in fashion, however, is strong and you want to carry it on with no ifs and buts.

If you’ve made that decision, read more to find out what can you do if you are in the same situation.

Consistency is better than quantity

There is no doubt that showing up at events representing your brand, communicating the history of the brand, keeping up with production and sales campaigns is a huge help in recognizing and selling your products. 

But what is you just don't have the time?
But there is a keyword that will save you and many useful ways that you can put into practice today if time is not on your side (and obviously not a big budget!): Plan.
Plan in advance all the strategies and contents you want to publish and in general everything you want to communicate to your end customers (B2C) and your buyers (B2B). Be consistent - better to show up and d something every Tuesday than for an intense week and then disappear.
Planning will not only make you feel more confident about your commitment to your brand, but it will allow you to dedicate yourself to your first employment guilt-free and with productivity.

Find your time - there are 5 industries in fashion!

If it seems to you that your production is slow and that all the other brands (maybe even your direct competitors) are selling and going faster than you, don't think that you are the problem.
You're just in the wrong industry.
In the fashion system there are 5 industries, and you are free to choose the one that suits you best, also based on your availability of time and budget. (The target and the analysis of the brand values come after this conscious and coherent decision)
The industries are: commercial, ready-made, ready-to-wear, pret-à-couture, high-fashion.
If you always feel tight on time and cannot code trends, surely you have limited yourself to exploring ready-made or ready-to-wear.
Did you know that pret-à-couture has a much more relaxed timing than the industries mentioned above? If you want, you can present one collection per year, with capsules that take the name of Resort, Cruise or Limited Editions. Book a session with Leda to know more!

Having a team doesn't mean having employees

As a fashion founder, you hope to expand your business and hire collaborators at some point. Perfect, of course it is.
But at the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey, it will be very difficult to find a team of professionals who not only have the same vision and dedication as you, but whom you totally trust.
Trust is a feeling that comes from knowing the expert's skills, having proof of your successes and believing in the same motivations.
Not to mention the time it takes to eventually teach your co-workers how to manage parts of your business, your way. No one can replace you, so our advice is to focus on what you like and let Maelle - at no hiring cost ranging from $ 3,000 to $ 4,000 / month - be your new team.
When your company grows, we will always support the professionals you have at your side and whom you have learned to trust.

what is the problem?

No Time

Brands Founders don’t have the time to set up a brand from zero to sales channels, and the majority keeps a second job on the side for many years.

Cristina wears one of her first creations

After Maelle

The solution

Cristina he states this when speaking of his participation in the Maelle membership in the accessories plan:

“I’m very glad I got to work with Maelle. Leda, who has been close to me, is not only a great professional brand adviser, but she also inspires through her passion and dedication for her job. Italian perseverance and quality is not only world wide recognised but also manifested by Leda’s works and attention to details. I think it was a great opportunity to get to work so close to such a creative and genuine professional like Leda. She doesn’t only has the knowledge and the resources to help you, she will also promote and elevate your brand in a competitive fashion environment.”

The aspect that Cristina loves the most about Maelle is that she can follow the guidelines, listen to the videos and read all the scrips related to communication and branding in all calm and autonomy, at any time of the night and day, with no limitations. If she had collaborated with external professionals, she would have had to delegate, be available to listen and to collaborate at their demand and she would not have had the freedom to follow her own pace.

Maelle experts are available to support Cristina’s business, but only following her directives and her time availability.

Cristina chooses to continue her mission of supporting developing countries in South America, and in the Suppliers section, she always inserts filters in her research to view local, artisanal productions, in line with her vision of charity (not surprisingly one of its brand archetypes is the Care Giver).


In the Buyers section, since the hats are niche products, they are mostly boutiques – from 4 and 5 hotels themselves and beyond -, multi-brand in resorts and continue to carry out exclusive private sales in Dubai.


latest collection Hatzelle

we support brands even more!

Maelle support brands from Branding to Sales network, but there are always some services that are custom-made and Maelle experts are happy to assist founders even more.

Cristina asked for this service:

  1. Organization of the photo-shoot (Communication section – expert: Leda Di Marti);

Organization of the photo-shoot

What is included into Maelle membership: The guidelines (video and text) help the founder understand what to do when the collection is about to be delivered, and the next step is to take it to start selling. Leda and her collaborators photographers have created a section on how and what to do when you have to manage a photo shoot, what are the different types of shots and for what purposes they are needed. Still-life, photos with model, sales campaign photos: do you really need all of them?

What Maelle experts give you: Leda is the responsible to find professionals to help bring your vision into reality. Leda contacts the Make-up artist, model or models, the hairstylist for the brand, finds the location, the stylist and the photographer / video maker. Maelle’s team takes care of managing everyone’s commitments, their needs, their timelines and negotiates their compensation so that it fits within the budget set with the brand.

In the case of Cristina Lore, Leda also contacted the founder of the Lara Ali brand, for a fruitful and interesting collaboration with her garments, perfectly in line with Cristina’s collection.