Nisha Jagtiani, chief of ICONIC, a major fashion brand of Dubai-based Landmark group, which has given reputable global brands tough competition in the Middle East market, was here for the first press meet of ICONIC in the Kingdom.
The flamboyant head of ICONIC unveiled summer collections in the Saudi capital and disclosed an ambitious multimillion dollar expansion plan.
In an exclusive interview, Nisha, whose family owns and operates the $5-billion fashion and lifestyle giant Landmark Group and its Saudi affiliate Al-Bandar Trading; said: “I am here for unveiling the ICONIC spring and summer collection and to attend the first press event of ICONIC in Saudi Arabia. I can’t tell you how amazing it feels because the avenues here are absolutely surprising and the unexpected turnout to this Iconic event is even better.”
The high-profile event at Nujoud Mall in Riyadh was attended by a large number of fashion industry leaders, top-notch executives and fashion designers, including women.
Prominent among them were Jayat Khosla, CEO of centrepoint; Ravi Krishnan, chief operating officer; Suresh Srinivas, national marketing manager; and Bhavya C. Airan, Splash marketing manager.
“The response to the brand has been absolutely fabulous, and I am looking to really expand the brand across Saudi Arabia in the next three to five years in a very aggressive way,” Nisha said, adding that ICONIC will have some 30 stores in Saudi Arabia within the next three years.
She pointed out that another high street retailer Splash under the same Landmark Group signed Bollywood heartthrob Salman Khan as its brand ambassador last year.
A first from Splash in terms of celebrity associations, the strategic announcement came at the time when the brand was celebrating 20 years in love with fashion.
The internationally acclaimed actor — Salman Khan — has been promoting the entire lineup of Splash clothing over the yearlong association across various platforms of the brand. ICONIC also benefited from this high-value association with Khan, added Nisha.
Nisha also expressed hope for ICONIC or the Landmark group to bring actor Khan to the Kingdom in future as the Bollywood star has huge fan following here. “I hope so in the future, but there are no immediate plans,” she added. In fact, his Being Human label is sold at iconic stores. Splash, Middle East’s largest fashion retailer, is part of the Landmark Group to which ICONIC belong.
Asked about the details of the expansion plan of Landmark Group/Al-Bandar Trading, which currently owns and operates some 650 stores across the Kingdom, Nisha pointed out that Iconic had 17 stores in the Kingdom out of a total of 650 stores. Plans are afoot to undertake massive expansion of ICONIC as a high street brand in the Kingdom, added the ICONIC chief.
On a very natural question that the Gulf market, especially the Kingdom, is flooded with several fashion brands so what makes ICONIC different from these brands, Nisha said: “We know a lot of fashion brands are available. I do believe there is still a gap in the market for someone who understands that the consumer is very fashionable and likes brands available at the price which is affordable.”
Pointing to the trends in fashion and how exactly she foresees as an expert as her family has been involved in the business for several decades now, the ICONIC chief said: “Well, this season honestly is amazing. A lot is happening. There is a lot of texture available.”
About entering into the Qatar fashion market, she said: “We are opening one store at Gulf Mall around July this year, then we are opening another at Doha city center in a big way and more…..now working to obtain clearance from Qatar’s regulatory authorities.”
She informed that on the business level, ICONIC has won many retail awards. “We have come a long way and our reputation continues to grow as we earn the trust of our customers,” added the ICONIC business head.
She pointed out ICONIC received the Most Admired Store Design and Most Admired Departmental Store awards for 2011 at the Retail ME Awards. ICONIC also won the Most Admired Social Media Campaign Prize in 2012.
Expressing her gratitude toward the Saudi customers, she said: “To be honest, I wanted to thank them as it is because of them we really manage to grow in Saudi Arabia, and the Kingdom is really an important market for ICONIC and for the Landmark group. Without their support, I don’t think we could have reached where we are today.”
The ICONIC chief also thanked Saudi leadership for their strong support and for creating conducive atmosphere for business.
Referring to the World Expo 2020 being hosted by Dubai, she said: “We are very excited that Dubai will host expo in 2020 and the region has been recognized for the ongoing developments.”
Before joining ICONIC, Nisha studied in London and worked there for a while.
Headquartered in Dubai, ICONIC is Middle East’s major fashion retailer and part of the Landmark Group, one of the biggest retail conglomerates in the Middle East, India and Africa.