Muscat: Splash, the Middle East's largest fashion retailer turns 20 this year. In an exclusive interview with Times of Oman, Raza Beig, CEO of Splash and ICONIC, talks about the two-decade-old journey. He also promises that this year will be a rewarding one for customers.
Splash is celebrating 20 years in operation in the region. From a single store in 1993 to more than 200 stores and 50 brand stores, how would you sum up the journey for the brand?
Exceptional, phenomenal, and ever-changing are the three words I would use to describe the last 20 years. The reason we have gone from a single store to 200 stores is only because our customers have been always with us and loved us, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them.
What are Splash's plans for the region for the future and particularly during this special year? What special treatment can customers expect in this special year?
We have been in business for 20 years, and Splash customers have been very encouraging and have enabled us to build our brand in this region. Our 20th birthday will be a year-long celebration packed with an exciting calendar of activities and elements that will include both internal and external customers. We have already kicked off the merriment by hosting a party for all Splash employees, including the staff at Rixos, Palm Jumeirah, followed by Retail Employees Day (RED) on March 21.
Next in line is the partnership with BMW, wherein we are launching the '20 BMWs to be won' promo in a bid to reaffirm our commitment towards our customers and to thank them for their continued love and support.
Earlier in the year, Splash launched the Emblem Design contest, calling for entries to create a 20-year logo; that contest received an overwhelming response. The winner walked away with prize money, and the logo is being featured on all brand collateral for the coming year. Adding to the buzz, the brand is set to roll out an exciting array of activities that will run all year round.
These will include a fashion flash mob in the month of April that will generate a lot of excitement. Other activities will include makeovers and photo-shoots, quirky contests for our social-media enthusiasts, and a customised design contest for our younger audiences who have a passion for fashion.
Under your leadership, Splash has seen remarkable growth. Personally, how do you view this success story? What has been the high point for you?
I am not sure what my style of leadership has been, but I do know that my team really loves me, and I feel the same. I always repeat the quote, "What's done with love lasts forever!" I make sure to repeat this phrase to everyone in my place of business, those in the fashion industry, and other people in general.
I love it all, and I think I get the same in return. My leadership style is simple: Give the right to veto to the experts. While I do have an opinion, the experts in the business have the ability to make decisions. My high point was the opening of ICONIC, which made me combine my 15 to 16 years of retail experience and knowledge for the ICONIC brand. In the span of three years, we have opened 20 stores, which proves that the brand is acceptable and the consumer loves what we are bringing to the table.
You are operating amidst an increasingly competitive and fast evolving retail climate. What are the challenges you face? With so many retailers, brands, and designers, how do you manage to create a special position for yourself?
Yes, the competition in the last decade has multiplied several fold, and every time somebody enters the industry, the competition gets fierce. I believe that when competition enters, they create a new market, new opportunities, and new avenues, such as new malls and shopping districts. When new shopping avenues open, more spaces need to be