For many years, Marya Group was a fifty percent shareholder in Al Manara International Jewellry LLC a luxury watch and jewelry retailer that Ismeik helped to turn into one of the most pre-eminent high-end retailers in the United Arab Emirates. The brand was struggling when Marya Group acquired its stake. Despite having well-known brands such as Graff, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille and Hublot, it was only operating 2 stores. Ismeik’s detailed approach and vision saw the company become much more dynamic as it expanded to fourteen stores and increased revenues. As a member of the Board and various sub-committees, Ismeik was one of the key reasons for the companies sustained success and growth during Marya Group period of ownership. Whilst Marya Group exited their investment successfully in 2017 after overseeing the turnaround, Ismeik firmly believes the experiences gained out of that successful venture will stand him and Marya Group in good stead as they look to further their investment in luxury fashion retail brands.
His involvement with Al Manara was an interesting time. It was in a difficult position when Marya Group invested. It had good brands but its visibility was limited and it had strong potential. Ismeik is personally very proud of the job Marya Group did in expanding that entity into the success it was when they divested. His experiences and efforts during his tenure on the board of Al Manara will feed into the new investments and give him confidence that he can repeat that success and on a larger scale. It has also allowed Ismeik to raise capital for e-commerce and AI tech investment and that is clearly of interest to some of the best brands with whom Marya Group, through their subsidiary First Capital Group Holding, are now dealing. In a pandemic impacted sector where a number of retailers have not pivoted swiftly enough to survive, Ismeik is confident that he has the skills and expertise to succeed. Flexibility and nimbleness are the key attributes he sees as ensuring success. Knowing your ability to connect with your target market before the first items hit the shelves or the website far outweighs the “stack it high, sell it cheap” model. Marya Group’s retail investments are coupled with their branching into AI technology so they have confidence they can respond to what the client wants rather than trying to convince them they have what they need. It is a bold strategy. Watch this space to see how it pays off but Ismeik is clearly confident he can repeat his past successes.
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