Jan. 12, 2015

Mohammed Abdul Rahim Al Fahim

UAE, Dubai

Mohammed Abdul Rahim Al Fahim

CEO, Paris Gallery Group of Companies


Mohammed Abdul Rahim Al Fahim, the CEO of the Paris Gallery Group of Companies, is a member of the Al Fahim family, the founders and owners of Paris Gallery Group of Companies that now operates a network of retails stores and distribution channels throughout the UAE and the GCC region. Al Fahim joined the family business in 1996 soon after graduating from the University of Kentucky, when he moved to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and got deeply involved in the family business. He played an active role in developing the Group’s overall strategic plans, helping it take its first steps into the luxury retail sector. He was instrumental in restructuring the management and rewriting company policies, resulting in high employee satisfaction levels.

Within the Paris Gallery, what do you do to maintain the standard of quality for products in your portfolio?

We explore consumer service through various forms of research, but collecting the data for this research is not an easy task. The more information we obtain, the greater the chance of confusion. We try to maintain the friendly, luxurious environments that consumers demand. These demands do not remain consistent and have to be transformed every few years. We work with our designers and business partners to ensure brand positioning and equity is maintained and improved. We work together to ensure that what we have in mind is in line with what consumers are demanding. When these business partners introduce new products or brands for our region, they come to us so that we can introduce their products properly to our consumers.

You have 450 international brands in your portfolio. Which brands are you planning to acquire or work with in 2014?

Much potential lies in the jewelry and skincare sectors. To put this into perspective, the largest export from Italy to the UAE is jewelry, and the numbers are increasing. Our focus for 2014 will be on the smaller jewelry houses. There is greater potential with these smaller houses for their designs to be more closely aligned with the future wants of consumers and new generations. This is not to say that the larger houses are not aligned with future consumer demand, but smaller houses are dynamic enough to meet the challenge. The essential challenge for these designers lies in finding the right location to exhibit their products. We help them to best exhibit their products, and we have the knowledge it requires to market these products. The jewelry sector could expand to global importance, like those of perfume, cosmetics, and other luxury products. Worldwide, most SMEs are struggling because these elements are missing. Yet, these obstacles, over time, are overcome. Another challenge is designers not knowing what to design for particular markets. Currently, they tend to produce one product for the entire market, but this trend is changing. What is desired in China is different from India, which is in turn different from the GCC. We have summits every year that allow retailers, distributors, and the houses and creators to get together and talk about what needs to be done. There has always been potential in skincare, and that potential is still growing. The awareness of the customer is increasing for skincare—both for men and women. However, there are not enough products to meet this demand. The difficulty of producing effective skincare products is the main reason for this. Similar to jewelry, there are small businesses, creators, and entrepreneurs in that sector, and we would like to focus on this in 2014.

What are your geographic expansion plans?

Currently, there are 52 Paris Gallery stores in the Gulf and MENA region. We are hoping to open two showrooms in Muscat and one in Baghdad, and we also have plans for Libya and many other locations. Our plans for Baku are part of the scheme, although we have faced challenges there in terms of logistics. Before the end of 2014, we will have many of those stores opened. We have been approached by many countries. In the UAE, most of our stores are being refurbished. We've opened new stores and have plans to open a few more in 2014. The Paris Gallery store in the Dubai Mall has also undergone a major facelift. We've also given Watch Gallery in the Mall of the Emirates an entirely new look and feel. We inaugurated our store at the Sahara Centre in Sharjah and opened a new store at the Al Ghurair Centre in Dubai. In Abu Dhabi, we inaugurated a new Aigner fashion boutique. A new Paris Gallery store is also slated to open in the Bawabat Al Sharq Mall in Abu Dhabi.