April’s – ‘The Gratitude Issue’ – Download Now
Founder of luxury brand Odeem, Fatma Al Otaiba shares her exclusive new collection, combining attention to detail and outstanding craftsmanship.
What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine?
I’m an early riser so I like to get up by dawn. The first thing I do is brew my coffee, eat dates and pray. After that, I try to fit in a workout most mornings – I find this to be the perfect way to start my day with energy.
What is at the heart of ODEEM, the DNA?
Timeless pieces and quality – both in material and production. Odeem pieces are ones that last forever. It’s something to be worn now and 20 years from today.
How has being based in the Middle East helped or hindered in continuing to grow the brand in the last year?
The Middle East or, Dubai in particular, offers a lot in terms of diversity and talent. The support of those around me, especially the creative community, has added a huge amount to Odeem and we are continuously grateful for this support
How do the creative and commercial sides of the business work together and how does your role support this?
As both the Founder and Creative Director, I have found that without the creative, the commercial side is non-existent. Wearing both hats gives me the opportunity to bring the vision of the brand to life and with that creative vision, I am always confident of the end product.
Do you feel particularly drawn to either side of the business?
Definitely the creative side. I love seeing the final product and the fact that I am able to create this from the beginning. I specifically enjoy the evolution process and seeing how the product is realised. When its right, it’s very satisfying and that’s why one of my favourite things to hear from a customer is that the piece they’re carrying is not just beautiful but also feels very practical.
Tell us about the inspiration for the brand and how the aesthetic emerged?
It’s a personal aesthetic – it’s what I wear, and what I would like to wear. So, every aspect of the bag is thought of carefully in terms of functionality, colours, textures and quality.
I wanted a product that I am drawn to visually as timeless and unique, carries no label whilst still being positioned alongside other well-known luxury brands.
Do you create bespoke pieces and what is the most memorable piece you’ve created?
We do give our customers the option of ordering pieces of the collection in bespoke colours or skins but it always has to be a bag within our designs. The most memorable piece is one I created for my mum because it’s something she requested specifically. I love how much she believes in me, my products and the brand.
You only use the most superlative of materials combined with true attention to detail. Is this approach to design reflective of your personality?
The main inspiration for the approach to design comes from the quality that I seek in products. It’s reflective of my style, aesthetic, and love for certain fabrics and textures. Quality to me doesn’t necessarily mean price and luxury don’t necessarily reflect high prices – it’s all about how you feel or how the product makes you feel.
What has been the biggest challenge since launching the brand and how did you overcome it?
Our biggest challenge was launching in January 2020, as COVID hindered us when it came to brand awareness and participating in public events or pop ups that we needed as support for reaching new clients. We’re grateful, however, to social media and Dubai being a city that opened up much more quickly than others. This allowed us to be present for people to discover the brand and quality of products behind it.
How has social media affected the business and which platform has been most useful?
Instagram for sure has been the most useful. We were able to raise brand awareness and reach a wider market since we are not available physically yet. Instagram gave us the opportunity to show people our collection and shop it instantaneously. We are also launching our new website soon.
Tell us about your latest collection and how do you carefully select those with a social following to support the brand through such platforms?
The latest collection has been inspired by Nikita – one of our most practical handbags. We wanted to recreate this as a clutch. We carefully choose women that we are inspired by, that support our brand and whose style we love.
How did you define the perfect size for the new collection?
We wanted to create something that would have flexibility when it comes to carrying it both night and day – this is always an inspiration when designing Odeem pieces. The new collection is also the perfect size when it comes to travelling (i am hopeful that we will go back to travelling normally one day).
This is The Gratitude Issue- what are you grateful for?
I am grateful for a lot on both a personal and professional level – health, family, children, Odeem and the team behind it. The brand is not a brand without the support of a strong team and we need to always be grateful for that and all those around us.
April’s – ‘The Gratitude Issue’ – Download Now
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