Heart To Heart With Mahmood S. Khan - Commercial Director, Brands Beyond Beauty
You have covered quite a diverse careeristic journey, brief us about your professional growth.
I have (humbly) been in the 'Luxury & FMCG' business for the past 20 years and have managed to earn substantial experience in leading multinationals and large international organizations. I manage to nurture the initial portion of my career at schools like 'Nestle' and 'Gillette' followed by joining an internationally known luxury retailer’s and distribution group based in UAE. This includes helping contribute in launch of Beauty businesses in 'Harvey Nichols' and 'Bloomingdales' UAE. My roles include variety of assignments from Brand to Retail Management and from Marketing to Commercial tasks throughout my career. My current role includes to setup an infrastructure and build a wider commercial canvas for 'Chopard Parfums', 'Philipp Plein' and 'Eli Saab' fragrances in Middle East, Sub Saharan Africa and CIS geographies, in domestic and travel retail channels.
Managing consultancy of some of the leading luxury cosmetic brands known worldwide, what challenges do you come about and how do you tend to tackle them single handedly?
Experience of managing each brand was unique and playful. I always believe that hard work with diligent smart efforts helps to find a best suited path. This theory helped me to go and launch / manage start-ups as well established brands at 'Harrods', 'Bloomingdales' and several other brick and mortars as well e -stores. Idea remains to understand each brand’s unique point of distinction and capitalize on that with a strong narrative. Wins have to measured mutually and this is what we need to share with our partners as well. 'What’s in for them'.
Kindly brief us about BBB products and how do you tend to spread them in Pakistan?
'Brands Beyond Beauty Group', successfully and innovatively ventures with 'Chopard' and 'Philipp Plein' (through its subsidiaries 'PFCH Luxe' and 'Philipp Plein Parfums'), achieving luxury positioning, top consumer rankings and an international quality distribution. Effective January 1 2021, 'Brands Beyond Beauty Group' (through its subsidiary ES Parfums) will officially takeover the entire strategic and operational creation, distribution, on-line and offline sales and marketing of the 'Elie Saab' perfumes. The agreement with Elie Saab Family and its top management reveals the goal to focus our Groups’ joint resources on successfully and effectively positioning 'Elie Saab' perfumes Brand at the forefront of the new challenges that the Beauty industry will face in the following months and years. Several other brands are in pipe line too.
In Pakistan, we are fully geared to reposition our selves with the innovative newness we offer for each brand. We have partnered with Beauty Pakistan International for 'Chopard' and 'Philipp Plein', while heading to launch in Q4, this year.
How did the recent pandemic treat you and your business callings? What initiatives did you take for a safe business run during the economic downfall that was suffered throughout the world?
Challenging moments for all. But the first and utmost was to be in contact with our partners more than ever. We did so. Allow me to repeat a quote here 'The Gap between what’s expected & what you deliver is where the magic happens, in business and in life' - Jay Baer
We also initiated a theme called 'Power to Go …2020' which was to benefit our partners by relieved payment terms, provision to earn additional margins and contributing in retaining best talent. We started with continuous engagement from the partners and based on their feedback we implemented this theme. Still going on and in Q4 with good anticipated trajectory on landings.
How do you tend to develop the Pakistani market and do you think we can meet up to international standards?
My interactions have remained with Pakistan market in almost all my roles, in past 15 years. To an extent that I managed a transformation project of one of the leading beauty players of earlier times, based here. Which went very well. I am glad and happy to say that Pakistan market is getting ready to meet the challenges and yes, in some cases it does picture international standards , but more to happen. I see commitment from various players in luxury market to deliver / maintain identical standards of display while ensuring best customer experience to be made as practice. On top, our younger generation is talented & exposed to modernity of businesses.
With the growth of modern E-Commerce trends, what new ventures are you working on these days and how do you know you’re choosing the right partner for the given business plan in mind?
E-tailing has picked up significantly on this side of markets during C19. While working with Amazon, Boutiqaat, Namshi and several other players, we definitely see a need in Pakistan to launch an authentic / value driven platform. Some existing players have done a good job, but yet a lot more to be done. I am on Advisory Board of an upcoming E -Platform, which will be launched very shortly in Pakistan. Besides, we see most of Brick and Mortar stores launching their e.platforms as well. Good direction, more the better.
What is your style of management? What are the key points to maintaining a dream team under one’s leadership?
I am strong advocate & follower of 'Pacesetting leadership style'. I find it the most effective style for driving fast results.
'We need to be measure ourselves and our team on performance, setting / achieving goals and believe in accountability'
Pacesetting leadership style is motivational and helpful in fast-paced environments.
With such a hectic yet successful professional life, how do you balance your personal life with it?
I strongly believe that one has to find a right equilibrium. But this is the most difficult one. With all the time differences on continent, much more time is definitely needed to cater successful professional life. However, finding time & to the right balance, is the key.
Any message for our readers?
Never undermine yourself. We all are unique and have certain set specialities. Let’s keep exploring those and rest leave to Allah almighty.