When mother-daughter duo, Shadya and Suad Al Riyami, created their fine jewellery brand in 2008, little did they know that they would be the first to do so out of Oman. Since then, they have infused their pillars of Islamic heritage, architecture and nature into their designs to create a brand that reflects luxury.
Sharon Carvalho speaks to the women about the journey they have travelled towards creating their own story
How did the idea come about?
Shadya: With the women of this region entering the work force in droves, it became impractical to wear
traditional jewellery on a daily basis. Gradually, the use of these pieces moved from being a day-to-day part of our traditional costume to being reserved for important social events such as weddings and celebrations. A lot of this restriction had to do with the size and weight of the jeweled pieces. To preserve our heritage, we felt it was our duty to encourage the modern women to revert to their culture. Also, we wanted to promote our culture to women from different regions. With Deema, we wanted to find a way to blend traditional jewellery design with the latest trends in the market.
Where does the name come from?
Shadya: The brand is named after my youngest daughter, Deema.
How do roles get split between mother and daughter?
Shadya: At the office we work as partners with well-defined roles and a structured system. Suad comes from a legal background with strong interpersonal skills, which made her best at taking care of the legal affairs of the company. Also, she covers the PR and marketing side of the business. Finance and design are the areas where my strengths lie, hence, fall under my umbrella. However, we do work as a team, and exchange ideas and help each other.
What have you learnt about each other through working together?
Shadya: I learnt that Suad is very particular and takes notice of the little details. She is also a good negotiator. Suad: I learnt that my mother is a master in the art of multitasking. I cannot believe she used to deal with all the little details involved in running a business, on her own, before I joined Deema last year.
What material do you love working with?
Shadya: Precious gemstones especially coloured ones. Whether, they are fancy diamonds or other precious stones. We love working with stones that will add a sparkle to our designs.
What makes Deema different from other jewellery brands?
Shadya: Authenticity, innovation, and achieving the highest quality have been our motto since inception. The brand is known for its exclusive designs, highest quality, and excellent craftsmanship. Combining all these with the culture and heritage of the Gulf region make us
who we are.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Shadya: We could group the challenges into two types; industrial, and market related. The jewellery making industry in our region, in my opinion, is still premature because of which we face problems with finding the variety of materials, and, if at all we find some interesting stones; the cost is unjustifiably expensive. In addition, in the absence of skillful workers and workshops, making jewellery at the standards we set, locally, is a challenge. Then, building up market trust at the start was something that we had to extensively invest on. Nonetheless, gaining international recognition through publications and invitation to prestigious events was of a great advantage.
What are your hopes for the brand?
The short-term plan is to set up our new boutique in Oman, to be launched during the first four months of 2016. Later this year, we will introduce our living line to the market where luxury home products will be introduced to the public. For the long-term, our key goal is to position Deema in the international market as a high-end design house and as a brand that the country will be proud of.