Our Morning With Raza Beig at Splash HQ in Dubai
Find out what makes Splash the biggest fashion retailer in the Middle East
2 November 2017
Walking into Splash headquarters, based in the Landmark Tower, was like walking into a scene from The Devil Wears Prada. Offices were filled with clothes racks, mood boards and masses of denim, making it difficult not to take a sneak-peak at top secret Splash designs. With a reception based on a runway we practiced our best pose next to mannequins showcasing the latest Splash trends, in awe of the biggest fashion retailer in the Middle East.
We had the pleasure of meeting Raza Beig, Director of Landmark Group and CEO of Splash, ICONIC & Landmark International, who was far from a Miranda Priestly character! Welcoming and charming, Raza is full of fashion experience and insight, as ewmoda were given an exclusive glimpse into what makes Splash a regional household name.
As the first employee of Splash, Raza joined the company as a store manager and within 2 months he was a buyer, then Managing Director and has now been CEO for 11 years – creating a life far from his humble beginnings in India.
Next year Splash is turning 25 years old, so we wanted to know what has made Splash the biggest fashion retailer in the region and how they have continued to set trends in UAE.
Raza explains “Splash saw the gap [in the fashion market] there was very little in the region just a lot of tailoring and brands like BHS, so there was an opportunity and for almost 25 years the consumer has stayed with us.”
Beig believed that “loyal customers” had helped Splash to grow and evolve as “they have adapted [with them] and every time a big retailer came into the Middle East people thought Splash would be threatened, but, competitors have complimented the market and only ever made Splash bigger!” he went on to say that “by keeping customers engaged, developing a loyal following, reinvesting and keeping up with fashion changes, has led to Splash being so successful within the region.”
Being a Dubai-based brand comes with its privileges, as Raza discussed the perks of being a fashion brand in the UAE: “the industry is very glamorous and personally I enjoy that bit of it, but it is hard work; trends, colours, fabrics are all constantly changing and you have to stay in touch with the market”. He believes the most interesting thing about being a brand in Dubai is that “not a single day is the same, which means there is always a buzz and a flare with fashion.”
Although Raza enjoys the glamour of the Dubai lifestyle and business, it is evident that “Splash is a brand made for family,” as “ICONIC still serves as a family brand but for the younger millennial.”
It was clear to see that this ethos surrounded Splash HQ; there was a family tree on the wall with each employee’s photographs attached to a branch and Raza’s regal paternal picture at the centre. Raza explains that his own family are constantly inspiring him for collections or business ideas and his son even worked in one of his warehouses (albeit for 10 days).
It was his wife and daughter who inspired his first Ramadan Collection described as “Raza’s Edit of the Season” as he wanted to create affordable evening gowns that would compete with the luxury boutiques his family went to during the festivities. This was a great success for Splash as within a month “95% of the collection had sold out” and it will become a staple range for the brand.
Being a part of the fashion industry in the region for nearly 25 years and having over 300 stores is what Raza Beig describes as a major achievement, which is of course undisputable.
Beig continued “for a small market like the GCC we’ve done well, we hold fashion shows twice a year and for Splash’s 20th year I created an event called Fashion Paradise which was an evening that gave back to our customers with 16,000 people there, 100 plus models and a 200 metre runway, it was a perfect way to engage with our audience and made me realise that we have a loyal customers who love us and we created the greatest traffic jam!”
Beig actively continues to stay engaged with his loyal following of consumers, as he has been famously quoted that if “[he] can’t wear [his] own brands [his] customer should not”, as Raza revealed that 70% of his wardrobe is Splash or ICONIC. He described himself as “the biggest critique as a customer, I have done this for a long time which is why the standard of fit and quality of my clothing is so high, I am a CEO who will go with friends to stores saying go ahead and shop - and please give me all of your feedback”, as he always tries to maintain authenticity within the brand that is made to be worn and developed by customer feedback.
Finally, Raza mentioned another milestone achievement within his career, as he spoke about his involvement within ,Fashion Forward Dubai, an extension of Splash and ICONIC and a great platform for the fashion industry in the Middle East. Raza wants to continue to move forward with his brand and help the industry develop as “the future of fashion excites [him].”