Five Minutes With…Emmanuel Deroude, CEO, Tati

French fashion brand Tati’s CEO Emmanuel Deroude talks about why he thinks the time is ripe for the brand’s launch in Dubai.

Could you explain a little about the concept of Tati and the products offered?

Tati is one of the rare iconic French brands. Since its creation in 1948, Tati has invented everything, or close to it: rock-bottom prices, self-service, partnerships with famous designers…

In the past few years, the brand has completely overhauled the way it operates, sells and manufactures. It has reinvented its model to become a vibrant, festive, carefree brand for the entire family.

Since 2010, Tati has integrated fair cost at the heart of its positioning. Fair cost means fair price. Contrary to low cost, in which product quality is sacrificed, Fair cost maintains the quality and removes or optimises superfluous costs. Tati has its own style office with nearly 80 employees who create Tati fashion and observe trends and new looks. The 140 Tati stores receive a new collection with 200 new products every three weeks.

How much of a potential does the UAE and the wider Gulf offer to Tati?

We have been fortunate to have solicited a lot of interest from abroad, and this prompted us to begin a new cycle of growth. Twenty years after opening a store in New York, we have decided to establish the brand with local partners in the Gulf. In partnership with Al Shamsi Holdings, stores ranging from 3,200sq m to 3,900sq m will be opened: one in City Centre Mirdif, Dubai and another in Yas Mall Abu Dhabi in the UAE, and we have already opened one in City Centre Bahrain, Al Manama in Bahrain in October.

Why did you choose Dubai as a location to open first Tati store in the country?

We are looking for large areas where we can market our different corners. We focus on areas where there is high purchasing potential and where we can reach families with an average income. So Dubai is the perfect place to open a store.

Despite a booming population and high spending power, there are concerns of retail sector saturating in Dubai. Do you feel that is true?

There is actually a lot of supply and competition in the medium and high-end, but this is not the case for our market which caters to different types of customers. Dubai needed new players in the Fair Cost market.

Do you have a specific strategy to deal with the competition in Dubai’s retail market?

Competition is high in fashion in Dubai, but Tati’s business model is based on much more than just women’s fashion. For the last four years, the brand has been offering something for everyone in the family and has considerably expanded its range of products to: Fashion, Beauty, Bridal, Decoration and Linen.

Tati’s own in-house design department, with its 80 product managers and designers, keeps track of trends and contemporary moods, and issues a new collection of 200 original items every three weeks in its stores. This concept of in-house design, the cornerstone of the “reinvention” of the Tati business model, responds to the expectations of modern-day customers – quality, style, service, comfort and fashion.

Why did you choose Mirdif City Centre as your first store location? Are you targeting a specific crowd in a certain area?

Dubai and the United Arab Emirates in general have been falsely depicted as super-luxury markets, especially in Dubai Mall and Mall of Emirates. In Mirdif, there is a middle class that wants modern goods, but at affordable prices. Tati meets their expectations.

The store will average 37,000 sqft. Like our flagship French store, the store will be designed with mini-boutiques dedicated to fashion, household equipment, jewellery and bridal wear. We are also adapting them to cater to demand for specific categories in the region, such as kidswear. The kidswear section will be expanded by 60 per cent in Mirdif.

Will Tati be addressing any market gaps in the apparel sector?

Tati will provide over 5 000 “fair-cost” fashion products per season. We have a large number of day-to-day products with an excellent quality/cost ratio. Prices will be 30 to 40 per cent cheaper than the average competitors. New products will be launched every week and more than 70 per cent of articles will be sold for under Dhs55.

What are some of the challenges that you foresee as you enter the Dubai market?

Tati is a rare iconic French brand. The challenge we will have to face is to launch the brand in Dubai and GCC area and to make it known to customers.

Will Tati be opening any other stores in the GCC? If so, which are the countries with most market potential?

We are very excited with our coming growth in the UAE and are happy to share this challenge with our partner, the Al Shamsi Holdings, one of the most recognised players of the region. Potential is high. We hope to move to 20 to 30 stores in GCC countries in the next five to seven years.

Dubai is infamous for its extremely high mall rents. Has that affected your decision on where to place yourself?

Dubai’s strength is its incredible power consumption, its booming population and high spending power. All this has a price, right?

How do you see Tati’s bridal section shaping up in the Dubai store? Do you see a solid growth in that area?

In 1960 Tati launched its own bridal collection. Tati has the expertise on this market and provides a fashion collection that combines the wedding dress but also the cocktail dress. This creative dynamic led to Tati being invited to present its first pop-up store at Galeries Lafayette, the Parisian shrine to fashion, from 3 February to end April 2014: an ephemeral boutique entirely dedicated to a collection of wedding fashion designed by William Carnimolla, former assistant to Tom Ford. This collection has been a success that we are safe will entice Dubai customers.

What’s your leadership style?

I wanted to recreate a true business spirit. With Tati: take risks and do not fear failure!
Regardless of its popularity, a company is nothing without the men and women who breathe life into it every day. Change can lead to success only when every employee is involved in the process.

Define success in five words…

Involvement, envy, ambition, listening and service.

Three tips for becoming the boss…

• Work hard
• Always be one step ahead
• Find the right team

When I’m not at work I like to…

Play sport and travel to discover new cultures, new people, new landscapes…