Glen Martin, brand manager and luxury connoisseur
From Ones to Watch for 2014 to rockstars like Glen Martin — brand manager for Aliel Jewellery at the company's first Middle East flagship store — we've a lot to celebrate and be proud of.
Our Man In Dubai...
UK-born Glen Martin his parents George Lawson Martin and Merle Cynthia Samuels both deceased were born in Jamaica — and he himself holds firmly to his roots... started working in fashion in 1994 for UK-based designer Nicole Farhi, which was the luxury label of the huge French Connection brand that dominated the '90s.
This was followed by a move to the LVMH group where he worked under the Fendi label in their flagship London store on Sloane Street.
Three years later...
He moved to Harrods where he handled the LVMH & Gucci Group, as well as many smaller designer brands. He would oversee Harrods own bought brands in the iconic store's Five Rooms of Luxury.
After five years at Harrods...
the plan was to move to Italy in 2007 to work with Gucci in Rome. "I even started taking lessons in Italian," he shared with SO.
" I was headhunted by the Villa Moda group who looked after many of the luxury labels in the GCC region (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE). After forwarding many of my friends' CV, who signed up immediately, I eventually signed up and relocated to Kuwait to be part of the operations team, opening boutiques/malls and concessions for brands like Gucci, YSL, Bottega, Prada, Miu Miu, Dolce & Gabbana, Tom Ford and Valentino across Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Dubai. My base was mainly in Kuwait but I eventually moved to Qatar.
The Financial Crisis of 2009
The Middle East suffered due to the financial crisis in 2009, which affected the luxury retail segment quite badly and resulted in many job losses within Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar. Dubai was impacted, but not as much as the smaller GCC countries thanks to tourism and retail.
I eventually moved to Dubai in 2010 with Crate & Barrel where I opened two of their flagship stores. This was all very good but I missed luxury and after a year moved into Luxury Recruitment - working with all the major brands and their HR departments where I supplied them with the best staff from across the world. Unfortunately, this role was too target driven for me and I was about to move back to Kuwait with an offer from Hermes but then one of my clients, Aliel - an Italian fine jewellery brand - whom I had been recruiting and consulting for, asked me to join them as their brand manager. Three interviews later, in addition to one very heated interview with the family, I decided to join the team.
I have been working with Aliel for over two years, pushing the brand within the region without saturating the name. I'm working closely with high- net worth clientele and the royal families of the UAE & GCC. I am also looking at business development in the international region to help expand the brand.
Due to my retail experience and recruiting/consulting many candidates with senior roles within the luxury global brands are now friends. I'm very fortunate to be invited to many events in Dubai, which allows me access to a niche pool of high-net worth clients. A definite plus for my job as brand manager at Aliel Jewellers.