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A girl with a mind, a woman with modesty, a lady with classthese are the confessions of a hijabi girl in a crazy world...

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Sunday, 18 December 2011

'Aquaini' Modest swimwear review



Assalaamu alaikum sisters!

So the review is in the video above, I was going to write what I said in the video and add a few things that I had left out but I got an e-mail from the owner telling me that I didn't do it correctly, I replied to that e-mail saying everything I was going to say in the written review so instead of writing it all out again I will just upload the emails. This way you can see what the owner of Aquaini wanted to add to the review as well as a breakdown of the video review itself iA.






Email from Aquaini owner:

Assalam u walaikum

I am emailing you in regards to the video review you did for Aquaini. Its good that you gave both positive and negative comments but there was no need to say you wouldn't have worn it. I did showed you the website link to show you the pictures, if it wasn't the thing for you then I wouldn't have given for a review.  It is a very negative comment...I think the review should not be more than 3-4 mins. I gave for a review in order to promote the item. The comments should have been a balance of both...the starting line was incorrect as its not an "indian outfit". One of the main manufacturers of burqini ahiida(australian company) provides same kind of swimwear with loose trousers as the aim is to be modest in public. I go to ladies only swimming sessions in one of the community leisure centre and they are approved by them. I wear this swimwear when I go for swimming and I also wear it when I go on holidays on beach destination ...in pool with my daughter and husband. The tight fitting trousers you won't be able to wear it in public and not all parts of UK have ladies only sessions ...even if they do they don't always make sure that the lifeguard is female. The drawstring trousers had few feedback of water collected in the trousers so it uncomfortable moving while swimming.

About their customer service...sister I am really sorry if I wasn't upto your expectations but I am a full time mum I was unable to check my emails everyday. My work email and website were being checked everyday though. I gave your swimsuit for posting to my friend as I ...... Overall I am really good with all my customers. Lately I have been visiting muslim mother toddlers group and hosting private parties at home and ALHAMDULILLAH getting good response from all the ladies. I sort out the returns and exchange thing in one working day. I would have really appreciated if the video conveyed some postive remarks but mostly people would be put off by it. Please do not hesitate for further queries or questions.

My reply and breakdown of the video review:

Walaykum assalaam sister,

I hope this message reaches you in the best of health & imaan.

Please read this message carefully and in full so you don't take things the wrong way and so I can clear up the problems you had with my video review.

Ok firstly I would like to say if you listen carefully I didnt say I wouldn't have worn it, I said as I wear an abaya or jilbab outside I wouldn't wear it outside, HOWEVER, I would wear it to women only swimming sessions, nor did I say it's not the thing for me and I kept stressing the fact that if something like an aquaini didn't exist I wouldn't get back into the water so it has encouraged me to go swimming again. I'm assuming you made the aquaini for people who want to wear it outside because they don't wear abaya/jilbab and also for women like me who would wear it to women only swim sessions because I wear abaya/jilbab outside.

Secondly a review does not have a set time limit and will vary from one person to another depending on how much one has to say about a product or company, I was being thorough.

Thirdly I also didn't say it IS an indian outfit I compared it to a shalwar kameez to describe what it looks like (dress with trousers) and I know Ahiida do the same thing because I did my research and looked at similar items from other companies [which is why I could give a price difference].

Fourthly, I did say I wasn't sure if my local swimming pool would allow that type of swimwear because it's not fitted and they've had similar problems in the past, I also said that I would have to check with my local swimmig pool and do a follow up review on how things went and if they said it was ok. I mentioned the fact that your website says it's safe to wear in water, but that I would still have to check with my local pool. You cannot guaruntee that every swimming pool will let you wear it, please confirm with me if you can say for sure that every swimming pool all over the world will allow you to wear it no questions asked and I can write that on my blog.

Furthermore, I kept stressing the fact that I wasn't sure how comfortable it would be in water when swimming and maybe the drawstring would be a good idea [note, I said good idea and not it would definitely work], I said that I haven't tried and tested the swimsuit but when I do I would let people know what my experiences are with it. I will write in the blog about how drawstring may collect water as you have pointed out.

I would also like to say here that a review is an honest personal point of view and experience one has with a company or product, if you wanted me to do an advertisement (which is as you say to promote the item) then you should have said, I'm sorry but any good reviewer will give their honest opinions on anything they review, and this was a review not an advertisement. This is a section from the disclaimer on my blog and similar disclaimers will be found on every good review site/blog.
"Some of the products I review are things I have bought, other companies send me the things they would like me to review.

I DO NOT get anything in return for the things I write and review in this blog (apart from du'as inshaAllah). The companies send me products to give my honest opinion on them and that is exactly what I do."

Read more: ♥-i hijabi-♥: Disclaimer & other info http://ihijabi.blogspot.com/p/disclaimer-other-info.html#ixzz1gm1yfizM

Now to the issues about customer service, I understand you had some problems getting back to me with e-mails and such and I sincerely forgot to mention "I understand the sister had a few personal issues", however, I did say I don't know what ordinary customers views on customer service would be but  I as a reviewer can say that it wasn't as good as other companies I have reviewed [my personal opinion]. Before you jump the gun, in my written review which will accompany the video I had every intention and still will write that you had some personal issues which may explain the situation with customer service.

There were no comments from your customers on your website or your FB page so I will say on the blog that I don't know what other people think of it. But I will include this e-mail & the response in the written review so that people can see your side and views inshaAllah.

I'm deeply saddened that you didn't listen to what I had to say carefully and only yourself picked out the negative points I had to make in the video. I for one think I said more positive than negative. But seeing as you don't think I did here is a breakdown of pro's (+ve's) & cons (-ve's) made in the video:

Pro's:

  1. I would wear it to women only swim sessions
  2. If something like the aquaini didn't exist I don't think I would have ever got back into the water so it has encouraged me to go swimming again.
  3. I thought the head & neck covering would look funny but actually it's comfortable and doesn't look bad.
  4. It's comfortable and lightweight
  5. It will go back to its size & shape
  6. UV protection
  7. it's modest
  8. It's for anyone who wants to dress modestly, wants to be protected against the sun
  9. It's cheaper than other companies & free UK delivery
  10. The button & strap is to keep everything in one piece
  11. I like the design, I like the pattern, I like the colours, it looks like something you would go swimming in and doesn't look funny like a t-shirt & leggings
  12. Good website, easy to navigate & use.
  13. Can swim in it and it wont drag
  14. If you have been looking for modest swimwear then this (aquaini) is the way to go
Con's

  1. I'm not sure [note I said not sure, not 'is not'] how practical it would be because it's not fitted and I haven't been swimming in it and tried it.
  2. I'm concerned about the trouser being wide leg in the water
  3. The drawstring idea might be good to overcome the wide leg issue
  4. Customer service wasn't great because I didn't know what was happening with the package [and eventhough you had personal problems to deal with this is the truth and what actually happened] but I will write in the blog that you did have personal issues.
  5. At the end I also said THE ONLY concern I had was about how practical it would be in the water, but I hadn't tried it in the water and would do an update.
After your email I assume that either you didn't watch the entire review properly or that you assumed I would be just advertising your product without talking about any negative points. 14 positive remarks compared to 5 negative I think shows a very fair and honest review and the feedback from readers/viewers show that people thought it was useful and honest. I don't think people would be put off by my honest views on the product but would feel more comfortable with buying it because I have shown it to them and they know what they're getting, if you feel they will be put off then you need to ask yourself why?

I've never been questioned about my reviewing style or quality and you can see all the companies I have reviewed in exactly the same way (pro's & con's) on my blog. I've had great responses from the companies (most whome say they will take my points on board to improve because thats what a review is for, for a company to know what they're doing well and what they can improve in order to provide a better service). I've also had great feedback from potential customers and readers, telling me that my reviews give them confidence to go and buy something from a company because they know exactly what they're getting.

I look forward to your reply to this e-mail.

JazakAllah khair, Wasalaam.

iHijabi

Aquaini owner re-reply

Assalamu alaikum sister

I am very well Alhamdu lillah.

Firstly, please accept my sincere apologies. Upon reflecting on my email to you, I realise that if anything, my email was driven by my emotions being so attached to my product. This is a really big project for me, especially being a house-wife. However, I would like to add that regardless of the importance of Aquaini to me, it is still a wordly matter and this in no way would diminish my love and respect for you as a sister in deen, inshAllah.

Also, I am sorry if I have hurt your feelings. I can assure you that this was never my intention as I am very appreciative of the work you do and how it immensely benefits the Ummah. I wish I could do even a small spec of the same for my fellow sisters in deen.

Overall, I think we are on the same page but maybe I have a different angle in that I always try to assess how things maybe perceived. I completely agree with you in that you had more positives alhamdu lillah than negetives. And even for negatives, I see them as an opportunity to develop and enhance our product and service.

I raised a total of 3 points in my initial email and I have elaborated on my point of view. You will inshAllah see that I do not disagree with what you said in the video but rather, my point was how it may be understood by others.

1. Firstly, the issue around the comparision to an shalwar kameez (indian outfit). I understand that you used it for the purposes of describing the style of Aquaini. I have no problems with you using this analogy. On the contrary, my point was that perhaps it would have been better not to do this comparision in the very introduction of your video. My reason for this being that many sisters, especially who are not familiar with the Aquaini / Burqini phenomenon and also not from the indian / asian origin, may not continue watching your video on the assumption that it is not a thing for them. Say for exmaple that if one was unaware of what an Abaya looks like (highly unlikely!) and I described it using reference for Nigerian (African) outfit. Some sisters may immediately switch off just by the mere reference to it being a Nigerian outfit. I hope you understand my perspective on this point.

2. Second is the issue regarding loose trousers and the possible use of drawstring. This point of mine was a mere explanation of why the trousers are loose and why our company's decision not to use drawstrings. When we initially sat down with the Aquaini idea and a blank piece of paper to design the product, this point was at the top of our agenda. We carefully analyzed the pros and cons for each style to meet our objective, i-e, to create a modest swimwear for muslim sisters and (others who may wish to use it). Just to summarise, we did consider more fitted trousers but thought that this contradicted the objective of being modest, not only when the swimmer is in the water but also when one is outside of the water. We also considered the use of drawstring but it quick transpired that drawstrings will result in water being collected inside of the trouser and not only will this look unusual but also hinder for the swimmer to be mobile in water. We also considered the design of other brands and after careful analysis and considering the options, we decided to have slightly loose trousers to maintain modesty.

However, I agree with you that many sisters may not feel comfortable with the loose trousers. Our aim is to collect feedback from customers on thsi very same point. Also, we are currently considering to introduce a strap which would go around the feet from one end and buckle into the other end. I think this would help to ensure that trousers do not move up whilst swimming. Depending on the feedback, we aim to introduce this in our next production, inshAllah.

3. Lastly, my point was around your comment on customer service. In fact, my point was really just an apology. What you said is factual that you had only 2 emails from me and I explained you the reasons in my earlier email to you. All I would like to add is that if a customer bought a product from our website, they would get authomated emails for key milestones such order received, order despatched and also a follow up email inviting the customer to leave comment / feedback on Aquaini website. Unfortunately, as these emails are automated, I was not able to trigger them when I sent the item to you. One more point if I may - perhaps a comment on the speed of item being sent would have given a balanced overview to your viewers. I believe that you received the product within a couple of days after I received your email advising your size / colour requirements. I personally think this is good delivery lead time (you were sent the item using the same delivery service as our customers).

Before I close my email, I would like to thank you for agreeing to help us on this and again apologise if I have hurt you with my intiial email. We wanted you to help us through your review of the item and the intention was not to advertise (otherwise we would have chosen the likes of sisters magazine or Jummah magazine). In fact we wanted you to review our product and help us promote the item by spreading the word to your viewers.

Lastly, about your question on the permisibility of using Aquaini in pools all over the world - our simple answer is NO we can't guarantee that. In fact, no company (including the producers of the western swimwear such as bikinis) could guarantee that as this would vary depending on which part of the world you are in. For instance, one may find themself in a difficult situation were they to wear a western swimwear in countries such as Saudi Arabia or Male (capital of Maldives). Similarly, muslim swimwear such as Aquaini may not be welcome in some parts of the world (see the link below for an example). The reasons may vary for it being not body hugging or simply because it is seen as a mulim garment.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/6056273/Burqini-banned-in-Italian-town.html

What we can say is that Aquaini would generally be welcome in most pools in the UK and this reflects the multi-culture and tolerant society in the UK. Personally, I have not heard on of any case from any sisters in the UK where a similar swimwear was not allowed. I think the problem arises when people insist to use shalwar kameez (often made of cotton) in the swimming pool. But Aquaini is designed to overcome exactly the same problem as it is a "swimwear" and n"ot an alternative to swimwear".

I have personally also used (or know of close friends who have used) the Aquaini / Burqini design swimwear in many countries including Maldives, Malaysia, Thailand, Turkey, Sri Lanka and ofcourse the UK.

Note that the reason for including the email is to let you as readers know what was discussed behind the scenes so to speak and clear up these queries/problems if anyone else who watched the video had them aswell.

I hope you found this review helpful inshaAllah. Let me know what you think of modest swimwear as well iA (=

To go to their website click here: http://www.aquaini.co.uk/

To join their FB page click here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Aquaini-Love-for-Leisure/152040848229256

Ma'salaama!

4 comments:

  1. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book
    in it or something. I think that you could do
    with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than
    that, this is wonderful blog. A great read. I will certainly
    be back.
    Also see my website - miracleswimsuit.net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww thank you, but no, I'm not an expert in any of the things I review. I always review the product from the customers point of view in order for my reviews to be as beneficial as possible to both parties the company & the customer

      Delete
  2. Now that it's been few years, I'm sure you have tried wearing and swimming with this. So, how fo you like it?

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    Replies
    1. I wore it on my honeymoon to Turkey and the good ting is that it's comfy and dries quickly when in the sun. The bad thing was when I was sitting on the sand every time a wave would come the trouser legs kept riding up and exposing my legs. The water sometimes made the 'hood/hijab' part slide back. I don't find it very practical to be completely honest.

      It looks nice and is comfy but not great for actually swimming in.

      See my honeymoon in Antalya post for some pictures of me wearing it at the beach

      Delete