Ayman Fakoussa, Karla Otto, Alexander Werz, Isabelle Chouvet, Dipesh Depala

DUBAIKarla Otto and Isabelle Chouvet are moving into the Middle East in a partnership with the Dubai-based agency, The Qode. This is the first partnership for The Independents, which was created in the fall of 2017 with the merger of Karla Otto and Chouvet’s Asia-based events management company, K2.

“For the past year since we merged with Karla, we have been working to extend our capabilities to other markets and open where we thought it was important for our clients,” said Chouvet, chief executive officer of The Independents.

The Qode will represent The Independents and its two founding agencies, Karla Otto and K2 in the Middle East, becoming the operational partner in the region. The Independents has made an investment for an undisclosed amount in the Dubai-based agency, which offers communications, events, digital marketing and content creation services. “The Middle East is the first market we are partnering in,” said Chouvet. “It’s a specific market where we needed to have local expertise with us. That’s why we wanted to make an investment in the region.”

Dipesh Depala and Ayman Fakoussa, founders of The Qode, will retain the name and management of the company and continue to lead local operations. The eight-year-old agency already has several mutual clients with The Independents, including Givenchy and Berluti. “This partnership really helps us better serve our clients because it gives us access to many more resources which they already have in their network,” said Depala.

Fakoussa added: “It’s a great marriage of our brands. We have already worked closely together and I’ve always had a great relationship with Karla, dating back to when I was a client at Villa Moda. It’s a natural chemistry.”

Otto says the expansion into a market with a young, fast-growing HNWI customer base is critical. “The Middle East has been getting more important for luxury brands over the last five to 10 years,” said Otto. “I see it from all our clients, they have big flagships in the region, with so many luxury malls from Dubai to Doha. It’s a key market,” said Otto.

She describes The Independents as “a one-stop shop.”

“Our clients can have one global coordinator that works with different offices around the world. It’s much simpler for them this way, rather than having to work with different agencies in different markets,” she added.

The Independents now have 12 offices across the globe.

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