DUBAI — On a four-day trip to Dubai, Moda Operandi chief executive Deborah Nicodemus will be scouting for a showroom space. “We are moving into the region in a big way,” she told WWD, noting the Middle East accounts for more than 15 percent of the retailers’ business — and that number is growing.
“We have a loyal client base here and our objective is to serve her in a more personalized manner,” said Nicodemus.
In addition to the showroom, Moda is hiring 10 Arabic-speaking stylists to better serve customers.
The Dubai volley is part of a global expansion plan that started in Europe in September 2014 with its first such showroom, dubbed “Mews,” in London’s Belgravia neighborhood. Nicodemus billed it a tremendous success. “When we launched, our Q4 plan was to do $350,000. We ended up doing $472,000 in a week,” she said. The London showroom attracts a large number of Arab clients.
In the invitation-only space, clients are presented a curated selection of items, including apparel and fine jewelry that is flown in for them from around the world. Items are not stocked in the showroom. “The idea was to create an intimate environment for customers. Moda has always been known for this high-touch experience, even online,” she said.
The spaces are also used to host designer appearances. Recently, Moda’s Mews in London hosted Giambattista Valli, who presented his latest collection.
Nicodemus noted finding the right location for a showroom can take some time. “We don’t want to attract foot traffic,” she said. Although she is scouting potential spaces now in the UAE, she isn’t giving a deadline for opening it: “But if I could find a location today, we would open in the second half of this year. That’s how committed we are to the Middle East. It’s a long-term commitment.”