Recent Posts by Narimane Kurdi

Gearing Up For a Trade Show

By 16 January 2017

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This week, I’d like to share a few key points on gearing up for fashion week presentations and related shows. So, here we go.Here are some key things emerging designers need to do ahead of a trade show

  • Make sure you have the brand, marketing collateral ready and sorted a few days prior to the show – brochures, business cards, line-sheets, press kits.
  • Pitches – make sure you have a well-thought out pitch for buyers, customers, media. Practice your pitch and train your support team.
  • Use social media to talk about the upcoming event, share the kiosk number or location.
  • Make a wish-list of buyers/stockists: Try and connect with them before the event, once you know they are attending the event. Don’t forget to ask for business cards. Make sure you have a book for visitors to jot down their contact details, should they wish to.
  • Clarity – You need to have a clear idea in your mind on what you hope to achieve and what you’d be showing at the event. Orders flow in if you’ve been around for a few seasons, so don’t be majorly disappointed if during the first show, you don’t get too many orders. It will happen in due course of time.
  • Goals – Set yourself a few measurable goals such as finding new stockists, securing re-orders from of a personal-butler, made available around-the-clock.

I hope my insights have been helpful. I would love to hear from you. In my next post, I shall discuss the pre-trade show essentials. If you are an emerging designer/brand and have any queries, please feel free to mail me at narimane@nkluxuryconsultancy.com with your questions. NK Luxury Consultancy (NKLC) is a boutique consulting house based in Dubai Design District  dedicated to helping established, international, luxury lifestyle brands create presence in Dubai and GCC. NKLC advises companies on their long term brand strategy, developing near term tactical planning for execution across communications, products, and retail touch points. As part of our ongoing commitment to the industry, NKLC established a  mentorship program dedicated to supporting emerging brands grow from a product into a business. We work with emerging and established fashion and consumer luxury brands, designers, retailers, art associations and luxury associations. To connect with Narimane Kurdi, Managing Director narimane@nkluxuryconsultancy.com 

The Butler; Luxury or Necessity

By 21 September 2016

Experiencing the Butler through Club InterContinental

img_3281As a business traveler, luxe vacationer or someone jet-setting to a fabulous escape, you’ll have a plethora of decadent options to choose from. More so, when luxury hotels and hip resorts have improved infrastructure, and continually conjure up delightful ways to make the guests ‘feel at home.’ Then, how do you narrow down your choices to pick one that is tailored to your tastes?
Well, what you need is a hotel or resort that not just meets your needs but also exceeds it beyond expectations. All the while offering you a high level of privacy yet remaining mindful of your likes, dislikes and requests, the personalized services should be a tailor-made for you.
In my earlier blog post, I’d written about my visit to Cairo as a guest of Club InterContinental. The hotel, exuding elegance, is a jewel in Cairo’s crown for its impeccable services and luxury. Here, besides savouring the indulgent hospitality, I also got to experience the exceptional services of a personal-butler, made available around-the-clock.dsc_0009-small
Typically, in a luxury hotel/resort, the room and amenities are in place prior to your arrival. So, why, you may wonder, is there a need for a personal-butler? Besides catering to your dietary requirements and serving in-suite dining, a butler unpacks and packs, helps in choosing your outfit and pressing clothes on arrival. Should you want a pair of shoes to match your outfit or a clutch to match your diamond cuffs, he’ll make sure it’s in your wardrobe – name it and he caters to it. This brings to my mind the award-winning British period drama, Downtown Abbey, and its protagonist – butler Charles Carson. The traditional butler, who once polished the silverware and was in-charge of the household, pantry and wine cellar, is more than just that. And like Charles Carson, butlers are not just de rigueur, but a necessity in the hallowed environs of luxury hotels as well as our lives.
My observations
So, how does a butler play a vital role? When a guest arrives, the butler establishes the guest’s profile, either by collating information prior to the guest’s arrival or establishing a personal contact with the guest or the guest’s acquaintance. Hotel butlers are armed with multi-pronged strategies that serve as key tools enabling them to gauge and cater to the guest’s needs.img_3276
Additionally, this can transition into generating ‘service needs’ with butlers offering suggestions and recommendations to the guests: e.g. “After your swimming and spa session, would you like me to book a hairdresser for you?”
In fact, a butler is the HOTEL’s best ‘tool’ to pampering guests with personalized service, while offering a unique experience. This, in my opinion, is the secret to making guests return to the hotel time and again. Which is why hotels should, for the role of a butler, always hire people with extreme attention to detail, besides making sure they are highly intuitive and possess great manners.
Key Takeaways
img_1903Here are some key takeaways from my experience:
In my case, there were quite a few things that needed to be taken care of – being pregnant, not eating raw foods, needing water wherever I am, requiring Wi-Fi for work on the go, having to do my prenatal img_3274exercises, not wanting to walk in the heat, not doing any activities that are tiring or even having my half avocado every day. If I had to explain this to each of the staff or get it all sorted myself, my stay – as you can imagine – would be far from relaxing. Knowing that I would want a massage as soon as I arrived so as to relax me, making sure my outfits were ironed prior to my outings, checking with me on what I’d like to drink…all these made a personal-butler service important for me. The one-on-one attention catered to our needs throughout our stay at Club InterContinental.
Every aspect of our stay was made memorable by our butler Walid (and his manager, Roger). Walid unpacked and packed the luggage, and steam ironed our clothes. After my spa session, he booked a hairdresser (from one of the top salons, Al Sagheer) within the comfort of my suite. Within a few minutes of my requesting for a ‘noodle’ to do my prenatal exercises (which my chiropractor advised me to do in the swimming pool), Walid brought it to my room; turns out the hotel didn’t have a ‘noodle’ and quickly procured it for me.
Another major plus: each time, when my husband, Jad, and I had breakfast at the Club Lounge, the cook rustled up food per my ‘strict dietary’ requirement. img_3265On a separate note, I should mention that I love avocados; unfortunately these weren’t on the breakfast menu. But the moment I said I’d like to have the fruit, the team had it brought to my table. Also, when Jad developed a severe toothache, they rushed off to get pain relievers – the team knew what we needed and when!
Additionally, Walid booked our tours and outlined the programmes per our schedule, including visits to the Egypt Museum, the Pyramids of Giza, art galleries in Zamalek, and handled the reservations for lunches and dinners at Fairouz, Shogun and Al Khal. Chef Ahmed Shaaban and Chef Komatsu personally greeted us at their restaurants and crafted culinary experiences to suit our dining preferences (no raw food or vegetables for me). What was indulgent was that I could order anything that I wanted even if it wasn’t on the menu.img_3267
Since we were in Cairo, we wanted to explore the culinary spectrum and its diversity. The staff anticipated our wishes and enabled us to do so by fashioning a bespoke culinary adventure – we visited noted restaurants and had tasty bites at non-touristy (primarily off-the-beaten-track) eateries that are all-time favourites.
I did make a brief mention in my previous post about the surprise the staff threw our way on my husband’s birthday. That was indeed a special moment! They got us flowers and balloons and wished Jad in our room. Another gesture that was truly touching was when the staff brought a candle-lit cake for Jad during our dinner at Shogun img_3264restaurant (on our last night in Cairo. It’s the strong attention to detail that makes a trip an experience to remember; this would not have been possible without a team of great staff and a wonderful butler on call. Through a myriad of custom-made moments that matter to you, you live your dream holiday. Like I did mine.
So, the next time you travel, make sure you opt for personalised butler service. You’ll surely realise what you’ve been missing – an outstanding experience, unforgettable stay and relaxed getaway.

 

 

 

NK Luxury Consultancy (NKLC) is a boutique consulting house based in Dubai Design District  dedicated to helping established, international, luxury lifestyle brands create presence in Dubai and GCC. NKLC advises companies on their long term brand strategy, developing near term tactical planning for execution across communications, products, and retail touch points. As part of our ongoing commitment to the industry, NKLC established a  mentorship program dedicated to supporting emerging brands grow from a product into a business. We work with emerging and established fashion and consumer luxury brands, designers, retailers, art associations and luxury associations.   To connect with Narimane Kurdi, Managing Director narimane@nkluxuryconsultancy.com 

Luxury With Club InterContinental

By 31 August 2016

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Experiencing Cairo through Club InterContinental

Globally, luxury hospitality has set high standards for experiential excellence. Guests are made to feel pampered in ways that make them feel “at home” and encourage the desire for newer experiences during their stay – tailor-made city tours, shopping experiences all make the guest feel truly welcome. Being a luxury consultant, I’m always on the go and have experienced a fair share of indulgence during my stay in Italy, Hawaii, New York, Paris and London. So, I am always keen to stay at a new hotel as well as open to newer luxury experiences.13925138_853324798133942_164554458253392961_nWhen we decided to visit Cairo on my ‘babymoon,’ we wondered where to stay. As it happened, Club InterContinental warmly welcomed us to experience their hospitality and stay at the InterContinental Cairo Citystars (voted Cairo’s Best Business Hotel).

The indulgence that my husband, Jad, and I experienced here made me want to tell you how the team went about making us feel at home. Our stay at InterContinental Cairo Citystars was relaxing, enjoyable and great. Moreover, what was indeed lovely was the impeccable intuitive service, highly communicative and considerate staff– it was exactly what we were looking for on our holiday.

 

We were booked as VIP guests and the staff did numerous gestures, big and small, to make our stay truly special – right from name recognition at all times, personal butler, special consideration for my health and dietary requirements, tailor-made city tours and visit to the Pyramids of Giza. jadBday_smallWhat I loved most was the way they added nice little touches like throwing us a surprise with balloons and flowers for Jad’s birthday! That made the day so much more special. The experience has been so memorable and delightful that I’d go so far as to say that Club InterContinental is a fine example of industry benchmark in hospitality.

Arrive in style

Our journey was very comfortable, we were picked up from our residence in Lebanon and driven to the airport. As soon as we landed, two staff members from Club InterContinental were waiting for us – they checked us out, collected our carry-ons and baggage, and escorted us out in no time. In the E-Class Mercedes, the chauffeur handed me an iPad so that I could order our food and drinks straightaway; it would all be in the state of the art high- tech suite by the time we arrived at the hotel.arrival_small

Ever mindful of the fact that I am pregnant, the driver made sure the journey to the hotel was smooth as could be. Despite the holiday, I had some work to catch up with; thanks to the wifi in the car, I managed to post images on social media and even sent out a few work related mails. Having done that, it was time for me to get into the holiday mode and take in the sights of Cairo.

Time For Relaxation

After a delish Lebanese lunch, I was taken for a tour of the hotel. alKhal_small Before I tell you more, I must quickly mention the director of public relations Sherine. She was orchestrating our stay and kept surprising us along the way.  With over 800 rooms and an exclusive entrance reserve for the royalty and presidents, the InterContinental Cairo Citystars was an epitome of grandeur. Tastefully done interiors decorated with Egyptian contemporary art, woven tapestry and paintings are a delight to any art connoisseur, including me. I am a huge art buff but more on that later! Once in our Signature suite, I decided I needed a massage to soothe my tired muscles. In the suite for massage treatments, I was ready for the masseuse to work her magic on me. She worked on all the pressure points and lulled me to sleep. I was soon revitalized and ready to explore the hotel and its amenities, as well as hone my culinary skills.

Memorable Moments

Up first was the cooking session with Chef Ahmed. A great chef must be very creative, which Chef Ahmed is. He has a great perception of culinary arts, and what I found most endearing is his passion for his craft. cooking_smallHaving whipped up delicious cuisines at restaurants in prestigious hotels across the globe, his Egyptian roots, in fact, was the reason that he returned to the fold. Since joining the InterContinental Cairo Citystars, he has to his credit around 20 signature dishes and is busy creating many more delicious dishes.

He is aiming to change the regional perception of food, while striving to put Egyptian cuisine on the world map. Under Chef Ahmed’s guidance, I made Molokheya with rabbit meat – I must admit that I was quite impressed with my culinary skills. Then, it was time for us to sample the many mouth-watering delicacies at the hotel’s signature restaurants. We loved the food at Al Khal. The chef recommended that we try Basboussa. I’m so glad we did; honestly, I couldn’t get enough of the delicious dessert. Coming back to food, what I loved most was not just the incredibly flavourful cuisine but also the rich heritage that linked them all. What I found highly interesting were the little stories and arresting details about how the dishes had come about, and evolved over time.

Pyramids of Giza

The next morning, we were whisked off on a guided city and museum tour. The first stopover was the Museum of Antiquities. Our guide was very knowledgeable and showered us with nuggets of key painting_smallinformation, as we walked around taking in the mummies of ancient kings, artefacts of the Pharaohs and Tutankhamen’s treasures. Next on our to-do list a visit to Zamalek Art Gallery. As an art curator, I take keen interest in exploring art across the world, and being able to view all those wonderful works at the gallery helped me better understand the creative world in Egypt. 

The next evening, we headed out to see the Light & Sound show at the Pyramids of Giza. It was ever so mystical, watching the show at night and listening to the captivating narration. Club InterContinental made sure we ere seated in the VIP gallery, and this made the experience all the more comfortable and enjoyable.

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Later at dinner, we were treated to a fantastic Teppanyaki show by Chef Komatsu at the Shogun restaurant. Since I am off raw food, I opted for my salmon in miso sauce, which by the way was great, while Jad ordered a sushi platter thoroughly enjoyed it all followed by a yummy multi-layered chocolate almond meringue surprise birthday cake filled with praline butter cream.

My visit to Cairo opened up a new world of culinary delights, art, culture and hospitality and Club InterContinental team made this our perfect getaway. Cairo, I’ll be back for more.

 

NK Luxury Consultancy (NKLC) is a boutique consulting house based in Dubai Design District  dedicated to helping established, international, luxury lifestyle brands create presence in Dubai and GCC. NKLC advises companies on their long term brand strategy, developing near term tactical planning for execution across communications, products, and retail touch points. As part of our ongoing commitment to the industry, NKLC established a  mentorship program dedicated to supporting emerging brands grow from a product into a business. We work with emerging and established fashion and consumer luxury brands, designers, retailers, art associations and luxury associations.   To connect with Narimane Kurdi, Managing Director narimane@nkluxuryconsultancy.com 

 

 

 

Curating the Art Exhibition ” Wheel of Life” Joëlle A. Kurdy

By 30 June 2016

Joëlle Acoury Kurdy, exhibited a series of paintings titled ‘Wheel Of Life’ at Paris  Sorbonne University Abu
Dhabi in the presence of His Excellency Zaki Nusseibeh this June 2016
After moving to Abu Dhabi in 1976 and establishing thefirst Luxury Beauty Centre’s, Kurdy honed her passion for make up through bringing wellness to the Arab woman’ beauty, mind, body and soul. After perfecting the art of using the face as a canvas for artistic expression, Joëlle A. Kurdy began transcending make up artistry and swapping the face for a cotton canvas, experimenting with silk painting, charcoal drawing, utilizing both acrylic and ceramics, water and oil.


Established in 2006, Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi
continues a remarkable heritage of Academic excellence
which has been nurtured since the 12th century, striving for
the pursuit of perfection which has made the original
institute in Paris one of the world’s most prestigious
beacons of enlightenment.

So, what exactly makes for a good curator?

I’d say a mix of qualities: intelligence, knowledge, passion, curiosity and hard work. It is also important to be an inspirer as you curate, or put together, an event. The key to the role is being an enabler and an enthusiast, who can also be a good sounding board. I also believe it is important to be a hands-on person who can hit the ground running, when doing a show.

Here are some pointers to organising a high-profile event and nurturing creativity:

  • Offer insight – it is important to possess a key insight into the art market, have a thorough knowledge of the cultures, and organise an entertaining event of very high quality.
  • Aspiring vendors and brand placement – identify  the artist that have the potential for growth, while factoring in brand profile, product development.
  • Study trends – it is important to understand the local scene, recent trends and have well-established ties with international entities, as well as a sound understanding of the international market. This helps set a benchmark not only for the event and exhibitors but also to look at what’s happening around the world.
  • Connect – as a curator, you have to have the know-how and connections to establish relationships and build key partnerships for mentoring programmes. E.g.: The Dubai fashion Council has mentoring programmes; get them on board. Also, try roping in other associations that support emerging brands in Saudi, Qatar and Kuwait. These relationships and partnerships are key to developing the event and chalking out a well-thought out strategy for brand building, marketing, and development.
  • Engage – it is essential to have an engagement with industry experts, influencers and opinion leaders who understand the community of emerging brands and at the same time, can add more value by helping work on creating more footfall, driving more sales, add on more credibility by associating with the event as event ambassadors.

www.joellekurdy.com

NK Luxury Consultancy (NKLC) is a boutique consulting house based in Dubai Design District  dedicated to helping established, international, luxury lifestyle brands create presence in Dubai and GCC. NKLC advises companies on their long term brand strategy, developing near term tactical planning for execution across communications, products, and retail touch points. As part of our ongoing commitment to the industry, NKLC established a  mentorship program dedicated to supporting emerging brands grow from a product into a business. We work with emerging and established fashion and consumer luxury brands, designers, retailers, art associations and luxury associations.   To connect with Narimane Kurdi, Managing Director narimane@nkluxuryconsultancy.com 

Narimane in collaboration with Roger Dubuis for AWJ

By 23 June 2016

 

Narimane Kurdi, Managing Director of NK Luxury Consultancy, collaborates with Roger Dubuis for Arabian Watches & Jewellery

NK Luxury Consultancy (NKLC) is a boutique consulting house based in Dubai Design District  dedicated to helping established, international, luxury lifestyle brands create presence in Dubai and GCC. NKLC advises companies on their long term brand strategy, developing near term tactical planning for execution across communications, products, and retail touch points. As part of our ongoing commitment to the industry, NKLC established a  mentorship program dedicated to supporting emerging brands grow from a product into a business. We work with emerging and established fashion and consumer luxury brands, designers, retailers, art associations and luxury associations.

To connect with Narimane Kurdi, Managing Director narimane@nkluxuryconsultancy.com 

By 7 May 2016

imageRead more about this in the below link http://www.ahlanlive.com/narimane-kurdi-591653.html • I’ve set up my own offices in Dubai Design District, which has helped create a strong business presence and enhanced the credibility of my fashion, cosmetics and lifestyle branding consultancy across the GCC. In addition, my presence at both Paris Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week has resulted in my bringing on board additional international brands wanting to make their way in Dubai. • I am deeply honoured to have been selected as curator of a new pop-up lifestyle and fashion event, Market Outside the Box, with Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment, which is an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. • I’ve developed a mentorship programme to share knowledge and have been working with both LalaQueen – a lifestyle label specialising in bespoke leather handbags –and Lebanese designer, Mira Hayek. • “Never forget to ask” is excellent advice, as often, if you don’t ask you don’t get; don’t make the assumption that people know what assistance or support you need from them. • When you run your own business, it’s no longer a nine-to-five job. My business is an extension of who I am. It’s not just doing a job… it’s about being there, always. • I will continue to grow NK Luxury Consultancy over the coming year, and I’m looking forward to working on projects similar to the ones I did for Ritz-Carlton, Tiffany, De Grisogono, The Swedish Council, Market Outside The Box and Dubai Government. • I’m very proud to say that my husband is leaving the corporate world to join me and add value to the business. It’s very exciting that my life partner is now also becoming my business partner! Twitter: @narimanek Instagram: @narimanekurdi Facebook: nkluxuryconsultancy Website: nkluxuryconsultancy.com Tags :

Most Influential Woman By Symphony

By 9 March 2016

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Read more  about Narimane Kurdi being selecting as one of the most influential entrepreneurs in Dubai http://www.savoirflair.com/fashion/192743/new-symphony-dubai-mall

What’s a typical day in your life like?
My work varies everyday. On some days I spend more time with the team brainstorming ideas and strategies and crunching numbers. On other days, it’s primarily meetings and networking that I focus on. I firmly believe in maintaining a balance in my life, so I love to catch up with my friends for lunch or coffee or see my nephew in the afternoons – I like that kind of flexibility.

What led you to start your own business?
I noticed that some luxury brands that wanted to carve a niche for themselves in this market found it difficult to get a foothold in the Middle East and mainly Dubai due to geo-cultural difficulties, so this is when I decided to fill that gap and set up my own luxury consultancy business by leveraging my extensive familiarity, expertise, experience, and contacts in the luxury market. I associated with prestigious names, such as key brands in the Kering group, like Alexander McQueen, Armani, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Jimmy Choo, and Stella McCartney.

What do you love most about the new Symphony?
The curation of Symphony and BySymphony.com is a perfect reflection of the women shopping in Dubai. Symphony has become a home for local talent to blossom, as well as a platform for international designers to showcase their designs. The attention to detail of the team members makes for a unique experience whereby I feel at home when I’m in the store, especially in the private lounge. The perfect balance of renowned designers and emerging designers makes it the place I want to shop for new and trendy pieces!

NK Luxury Consultancy (NKLC) is a boutique consulting house based in Dubai Design District  dedicated to helping established, international, luxury lifestyle brands create presence in Dubai and GCC. NKLC advises companies on their long term brand strategy, developing near term tactical planning for execution across communications, products, and retail touch points. As part of our ongoing commitment to the industry, NKLC established a  mentorship program dedicated to supporting emerging brands grow from a product into a business. We work with emerging and established fashion and consumer luxury brands, designers, retailers, art associations and luxury associations.

To connect with Narimane Kurdi, Managing Director narimane@nkluxuryconsultancy.com 

Bringing Talent Together

By 27 January 2016

 

 

Narimane-blog3

This week, I have put together a few observations that I made while attending various fashion and trade events. My observations, thus, focus on how to bring talent together under one creative umbrella and the aims and functions of an event that throws the spotlight on emerging brands. So, here we go.

Do keep an open mind while selecting and organising the event. There’s always going to be people of different calibers: be it vendors, exhibitors, designers. Focus on their strengths and leverage on it, adapt to the market and demands. The event is a journey and it should be about encouraging the brands, listening to them and making sure their ‘voice’ is heard.

  • Be an enabler – get experts to help strengthen their weak points. Show the designers/exhibitors how to work on the visual merchandising of their kiosks, pricing, ensuring they have a profit margin, focussing on brand and identity and brand management.
  • Be an organizer – organise workshops, talks and seminars during the event. Organise talks and workshops in collaboration with select designers, panel of opinion leaders, influencers and industry experts. This could help emerging brands and designers glean much-needed information. Get experts to mentor brands/designers and chart out a growth plan.
  • Share – share success stories. Also throw the spotlight on failures and challenges and how to overcome them all. Build a community and help it grow and flourish.

I hope my insights have been helpful. I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to mail me at narimane@nkluxuryconsultancy.com with your questions.
NK Luxury Consultancy (NKLC) is a boutique consulting house based in Dubai Design District dedicated to helping established, international, luxury lifestyle brands create presence in Dubai and GCC. NKLC advises companies on their long-term brand strategy, developing near term tactical planning for execution across communications, products, and retail touch points. As part of our ongoing commitment to the industry, NKLC established a mentorship program dedicated to supporting emerging brands grow from a product into a business. We work with emerging and established fashion and consumer luxury brands, designers, retailers, art associations and luxury associations.
To connect with Narimane Kurdi, Managing Director narimane@nkluxuryconsultancy.com

A Glance at Curating Events

By 10 January 2016

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Last year, I attend the Paris Fashion Week, which, as always, had a strong representation of iconic brands in the industry. It was a stressful time for designers who created new collections, and organised fashion shows and presentations – all aimed at making a meaningful impact in the industry.

Here’s my realisation: at a time when celebrities, editors, photographers, models, bloggers, publicists, assistants, stylists are busy attending catwalk shows by Chanel, Dior, Givenchy and delving into the world of Issey Miyake and Elie Saab, they have little time to check out the crop of new designers.

Emerging designers and brands need a commercial platform to showcase their creativity and grow their business. Often, trade shows are big but not targeted enough to showcase the unique aspects of the individual brands. This brings me to the question: where does that leave emerging designers?

I think, this is where a concept such as Market Outside the Box works well. It has, for the past three years, provided designers with a platform showcase their work, while connecting them with buyers, retailers and establishing networks in the industry.

As I take on a very crucial responsibility as curator of the third edition of Market Outside the Box (MOTB)- Dubai, the region’s unique retail and lifestyle concept, I am deeply honoured to be playing such a key role at MOTB. The event was conceived in 2014, by the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and the DSF, to support emerging businesses and talented individuals in furthering their entrepreneurial ambitions.

As mentioned earlier, I often visit events and shows as part of my luxury consultancy business. I observe and watch the event curators at work and, in the process, have learnt a lot from all those I have interacted with in this field.

Today, I would like to share my key takeaways and thoughts on some of the dos and don’ts of curating lifestyle/fashion/design centric events.

I would also like to throw the spotlight on key traits I have seen in some of the top-notch event curators.

So, what exactly makes for a good curator?

I’d say a mix of qualities: intelligence, knowledge, passion, curiosity and hard work. It is also important to be an inspirer as you curate, or put together, an event. The key to the role is being an enabler and an enthusiast, who can also be a good sounding board. I also believe it is important to be a hands-on person who can hit the ground running, when doing a show.

Here are some pointers to organising a high-profile event and nurturing creativity:

  • Offer insight – it is important to possess a key insight into the urban market, have a thorough knowledge of the cultures, and organise an entertaining event of very high quality.
  • Aspiring vendors and brand placement – identify emerging brands that have the potential for growth, while factoring in brand profile, product development.
  • Manage vendors – create a matrix that serves as a checklist for vendor recruitment. Set up a Vendor Recruitment Committee and enlist their help in identifying and shortlisting vendors, participants.
  • Study trends – it is important to understand the local scene, recent trends and have well-established ties with international entities, as well as a sound understanding of the international market. This helps set a benchmark not only for the event and exhibitors but also to look at what’s happening around the world.
  • Connect – as a curator, you have to have the know-how and connections to establish relationships and build key partnerships for mentoring programmes. E.g.: The Dubai fashion Council has mentoring programmes; get them on board. Also, try roping in other associations that support emerging brands in Saudi, Qatar and Kuwait. These relationships and partnerships are key to developing the event and chalking out a well-thought out strategy for brand building, marketing, and development.
  • Engage – it is essential to have an engagement with industry experts, influencers and opinion leaders who understand the community of emerging brands and at the same time, can add more value by helping work on creating more footfall, driving more sales, add on more credibility by associating with the event as event ambassadors.
  • Select exhibitors/designers – find out if the designer is credible vis-à-vis the work? How long has the designer been into business, what is the collection he/she is working on? What is the price point? At an event that is market-driven and focused on sales, you need to empower the exhibitors/designers. You don’t really want on board designers whose products are very expensive. You want them to be able to sell. E.g.: focus on fashion jewellery not fine-luxury jewellery, which are high-end. Selecting the right exhibitor/designer for the platform is the KPI of any curator. Assess how they can add value to the event. Do not make a judgement based on the number of years the designer has been around in the industry but based on the commitment and vision to the brand.
  • Provide variety – ensure a variety of categories for exhibitors, such as fashion, jewellery, home and décor, children, beauty, health etc.

www.dsfmarketotb.ae NK Luxury Consultancy (NKLC) is a boutique consulting house based in Dubai Design District  dedicated to helping established, international, luxury lifestyle brands create presence in Dubai and GCC. NKLC advises companies on their long term brand strategy, developing near term tactical planning for execution across communications, products, and retail touch points. As part of our ongoing commitment to the industry, NKLC established a  mentorship program dedicated to supporting emerging brands grow from a product into a business. We work with emerging and established fashion and consumer luxury brands, designers, retailers, art associations and luxury associations.   To connect with Narimane Kurdi, Managing Director narimane@nkluxuryconsultancy.com 

Narimane Kurdi in Arabian Business

By 18 October 2015

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Do you have an established or emerging high end brand, but you don’t know how to expand it or where to start from? The way forward might be to hire a luxury consultant. We talk to one such professional who has worked with the likes of Jimmy Choo, Stella McCartney, and Alexander McQueen. Narimane Kurdi, founder of NK Luxury Consultancy, explains exactly what a luxury consultant does and how hiring one might help your brand become the next Celine.

What exactly is a luxury consultant? What is it that you do?

Well, we basically work with international and regional established and emerging fashion and consumer luxury brands to advise them on their short-term and long-term brand strategy. So we help them with several factors like tactical planning for execution across communications, products, and retail touch points.

You run something called the mentorship program for emerging brands. What is that and how does it work?

The mentorship program helps brands work on a business plan which gives them a 360 view on where they are, what their potential is and where they could be. It also helps guide new brands. For example, a lot of the time, these brands are invited to exhibitions or invited to be a part of a store, and they just jump at the opportunity. They don’t realise that not every opportunity is the right opportunity for them. The question is, ‘Is this the right store for you?’ We also help them find investors where we work on an attractive business plan i.e. we mention what their buyback would be, what their short-term returns would be etc. It’s sort of like we’re protecting the brand and representing them.

You mentioned earlier that you would push your clients to start from Dubai out of all the cities in the Middle East. Why is that?

To be honest, Dubai is the business hub of the Middle East and the GCC – that’s a fact. They’re also trendsetters. So, if I have to advise a brand to start, I would push them to start in Dubai so they can have that regional recognition. It does form that sort of pillar that okay, we’ve made it in Dubai, we can make it anywhere else in the region.

It’s like being in New York in the US or being in Paris in Europe. So there is that sort of connotation to Dubai. Now whether Dubai is the right place for the brand or whether you’re going to have the highest rate on investment, that’s another discussion.

Is that why you decided to establish yourself in Dubai?

That and also the fact that giving the best advice is not just about market research. It’s about knowing people and living and breathing in Dubai and in the UAE. I was born in Dubai and I worked in its corporate world for 10 years. So I can confidently say that the Dubai market is one we know very well and which we can give the best advice on.

Who does your team consist of? Is it just consultants or how does that work?

Currently, we’re a team of five, a project manager, assistant, strategic planner, and financer. This is our core team, but we also collaborate a lot with other consultants that could add value to our clients’ businesses. So if this means hiring an art consultant or a gemologist for a certain project that we are doing, we would do it.

As a luxury consultant, could you contribute a piece of advice for established or emerging brands?

I think it’s important to make sure that you’re up to date with everything, because nowadays things move very, very quickly. For example, with social media like Instagram and Facebook, brands speak so much about products that by the day they get into the store, they’re already old news. I think that being in this business and in this industry, you need to always be very knowledgeable.

http://www.arabianbusiness.com/why-your-brand-might-need-luxury-consultant-608447.html

NK Luxury Consultancy (NKLC) is a boutique consulting house based in Dubai Design District  dedicated to helping established, international, luxury lifestyle brands create presence in Dubai and GCC. NKLC advises companies on their long term brand strategy, developing near term tactical planning for execution across communications, products, and retail touch points. As part of our ongoing commitment to the industry, NKLC established a  mentorship program dedicated to supporting emerging brands grow from a product into a business. We work with emerging and established fashion and consumer luxury brands, designers, retailers, art associations and luxury associations.   To connect with Narimane Kurdi, Managing Director narimane@nkluxuryconsultancy.com   

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