Meeting The Women Behind Dubai Watch Week, Our Interview With Hind Seddiqi & Melika Yazdjerdi
Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons are Dubai's leading retailer of watches. Even if you've never been to Dubai, you probably already heard of Seddiqi. This is how influential they've become within the watch industry.
Women & Watches
Prior to this year's Dubai Watch Week, we had the occasion to speak with Hind Seddiqi, Chief Marketing & Communication Officer and Melika Yazdjerdi, Senior Director of Marketing & Communication and Director of Dubai Watch Week.
We hear a lot about brands making an effort to address women through dedicated collections. Do you think they'll reach success in this undertaking?
Melika – We have certainly seen a step forward in the industry and times are changing, however, we feel that there is a real opportunity to communicate more directly with women.
Hind – I also feel that most limited-edition pieces are designed with the male consumer in mind and this reflects the hesitation to design pieces that are more alluring for women. I do however think we are starting to see a shift in retail, including Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons. Many are trying to educate women about watches. We also try to organize factory visits dedicated to a majority female audience, and this pushes brands to improve on pieces that women find alluring. The Elegante collection by F.P Journe, for example, is quite stunning and shows that brands are responding to the tastes of the modern lady.
Is there a set price point when targeting women?
Hind - It is not always about the cost. Our experience has shown us that women are particular about their choices, preferences, and understand that buying a timepiece is a valuable, and personal long-term investment.
Women & Business
Hind, out of the 7 family members, are you the only woman to be involved in the family business?
Hind – It is true that I was the first woman to join the corporate part of the business, but my female cousin was actually involved in the business before I started. Today, we are three women playing leading roles within the corporate office and are really proud of it.
When I first started at the age of 22, I was the only woman present in meetings but that is very different now. We have built a strong female-oriented marketing team where women are more involved in all stages. Introducing and embedding a marketing department in the business was challenging at times but I’m very proud of our achievements and the journey we have been on together. I have learned a lot from the hurdles we have overcome, and this has contributed to shaping the person that I am today, professionally, and personally. The support and trust shown to me by my family is truly a blessing, and today I am a more driven and confident person thanks to my experiences.
How is it to deal with women? Men? What do you prefer?
Hind – I don’t pay too much attention to gender. In general, I think that there are a number of key elements beyond gender. First, you have to understand your business and its market, with all the strengths and weaknesses. Then it is key to allow people to share their concerns and encourage people to find solutions together. During Dubai Watch Week, we pushed this further as we were focused on bringing together people with different backgrounds from the entire industry and to encourage conversations and idea generation that would benefit the entire industry.
Melika – We welcome diversity and having healthy open discussions as they often pave the way to finding solutions, being respectful and understanding each other better.
During Dubai Watch Week, we try to encourage people to be more open to address issues. Hopefully, this can help safeguard the industry. Today, one of the challenges ahead is to preserve talent.
Hind – At Seddiqi Holding, we encourage people to communicate different points of view and disagreements in a professional manner. Having an open debate helps to move forward and support each other as long as it is done within the strictest respect of others.
Melika – What is great about our team is that we share amazing chemistry and synergy. This is so important as we need to work together so closely. My experience taught me that it is crucial to involve everyone to establish different viewpoints, challenge the status quo, and most importantly remain constructive and diplomatic.