Alif Investments hopes to please all people all the time

The Life: You may not have heard of Alif Investments but you might be familiar with some of its brands. The company's chief executive and director, Asif Jabbar, discusses who its products are aimed at.

Asif Jabbar, the chief executive and director of Alif Investments. Antoine Robertson / The National
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You may not have heard of Alif Investments but you might be familiar with some of its brands, including Emly & Chilli.

The Alif conglomerate, which was formed in 2010 in the UAE, has its fingers in many pies, including fashion and food. Here, the company's chief executive and director, Asif Jabbar, discusses who its products are aimed at.

Why was Alif Investments formed?

Alif Investments was founded by a group of like-minded people driven by their passion and innovative ideas to provide high-end fashion, food and entertainment within the conforms of Shariah. We formed this conglomerate with a strategy to contribute positively to the UAE economy by developing a strong diversified business focusing on the 'made in UAE label' and providing employment opportunities.

Who are your products aimed at?

Our core target audience comprises of Asians in search of tradition, variety and excellence bundled together to provide convenience and satisfaction. But as we have established our presence in this segment we are now planning to scale up and cater to the premium-market segment. Our shopper base has also grown. Where earlier we appealed to consumers from the subcontinent, it has now widened to reach locals, western expats, as well as tourists.

Why set up a conglomerate with such diverse industries?

Alif Investments is poised to take on the world, building on the Shariah business acumen, a modern and innovative outlook. The diversity translates to fulfil the basic needs of the consumer pertaining to food, fashion and entertainment, thus catering to the daily requirements of the average individuals.

Why not stick to one sector?

We believe that each brand that we have launched has a role to play in growing business. Our aim is to provide quality, affordability and value for money to consumers of every strata and every category. Dealing in different brands and in different categories helps us to achieve our objective and at the same time utilise our expertise to develop every brand in to a profit centre on its own.

What are the challenges of running a conglomerate with such a of diverse range of businesses?

When you have so many brands to look after every day is full of challenges. The main challenge is to cater to such a diverse audience from different nationalities and satisfy their expectations. So far, we have managed this well and have earned a good reputation. Dubai has been our testing ground and with the immense learning we have achieved many positive changes, introduced new products, recruited a good team, strengthened our operations etcetera. We are therefore confident that we have gained enough experience and are ready to expand in different GCC markets.

* Gillian Duncan