How to Stay Relevant as a Brand while Going Global

Penetrating The Global Market. How To Stay Relevant – Fatma Ghaly, Managing Director

Day one of October’s Fashion Forward starts with a bang – Fatma Ghaly, Managing Director of Azza Fahmy Jewelry talks about the path of a local brand to a fast and efficient global expansion. The Arab world’s best-known contemporary jewelry designer Azza Fahmy and her hand-made jewelry pieces have managed to enter global markets with not only to luxury fashion but also with strong dedication to tradition and authenticity of the craft.

Azza Fahmi Talk at Fashion Forward

Founded in 1969, the brand now has an exclusive international reputation for the one-of-a-kind wearable art which is a combination of intricate craftsmanship and incorporation of different cultures. Besides her skills in managing a fully fledged company, increasing sales and reinforcing the brand, Fatma Ghaly’s strong involvement in developing the jewelry design has brought her global entrepreneurial recognition. For any family business, which Azza Fahmy Jewelry actually is, team work and passing on the traditions from one generation to the next, is of key importance for company’s growth.

During her speech, Fatma Ghaly stressed on the importance of your identity when entering the market. Everyone who plans to start a fashion or design-related business in Dubai and the Middle East should bear in mind the complexity of the local market. When launching the Azza Fahmy design studio, it became clear that the environment is harsh to local designers – from government regulations, which are not particularly friendly to the banking and finance system, mainly targeted towards oil and retail industry. Naturally, design and fashion business need to be managed differently. Other difficulty is the fact that it’s nearly impossible to find the right craftsmen. In order to be certain of their expertise and experience, you’d better train them yourself, which takes time and additional resources. Another key factor for expanding is the strong local market. For better or for worse, all brands, regional and international target the Middle East. Competing in such conditions is not an easy task.

The first thing when going global is to decide who you want to be. Strong identity with clear vision and clear structure to support your vision are the basics, according to Ghaly. Building a good team of experts will get you far, not building a huge company with strong leadership and no teamwork. Expertise in particular field is very important, but it’s hard to find good specialists here. That’s why, she recommends, working with people who have been and have worked in the UK, for instance.

Next thing on every design or fashion brand’s agenda is PR. It can help you grow really fast. Partnerships are also of the essence – in Azza Fahmy Jewelry’s case, partnerships with British museums that are main sources of history and heritage have been successful. On the other hand, partnerships with young consumer brands will help you know your consumer better. Understanding consumer trends and knowing what the people need or are interested in, will keep you focused and help you answer adequately to the demand.

Fatma Ghaly also says going online is a right step towards globalization, even for design, fashion and art-related brands. Of course, every stage of your company’s growth will face new challenges. The only way to stay true to yourself and at the same time create a long-lasting brand is by offering strong design and product, explains Ghaly. And from then on, the only thing left is keep working, keep trying, keep expanding.

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