Designer Shaik Brings Arabian Heritage to the International Market

Born out of a dream to build a brand that embodies opulence and distinction, Bahrain-based company Designer Shaik Inc. specializes in the design, product development, production and marketing of luxury products, including perfume, timepieces and fashion accessories. Founded in 2002 by Mohamed Al Asfoor, the Designer Shaik brand captures a sense of style and taste that is rooted in Arabian heritage and the mystique of the desert sands. Mr. Al Asfoor explains his motivations for creating the brand, how intellectual property (IP) has supported his business growth and the challenges he has faced in bringing his products to market.

What were your motivations behind establishing Designer Shaik?

In establishing Designer Shaik I wanted to create something remarkable that took inspiration from the mystique of the Arabian Shaik persona. I had to travel extensively how to bring the industry to Bahrain and make my products a reality. I am proud to contribute to the creativity behind the ‘Shaik’ character and all that it inspires; a character that represents the vibrancy and zest of Arabian culture and that embodies the romanticism of Arabian heritage.

Bahrain-based company Designer Shaik specializes in the design, development, production and marketing of luxury products, including perfume, timepieces and fashion accessories; (Photo: © Courtesy of Designer Shaik)

Tell us some more about Designer Shaik’s products

Designer Shaik’s handcrafted, distinctively designed products and packaging are perfect for customers seeking the ultimate gift. Our perfume-refill service, for example, makes our fragrances a timeless gift. The intimacy and artisanship of our products reflects the pride, dignity and strength of culture rooted in the unique Arabian experience.

What were the biggest challenges you faced in developing your products and in bringing them to market?

Designer Shaik has faced a number of challenges, from developing our internal infrastructure and bringing resources to the local market, to technically linking Designer Shaik customers with business partners and transmitting knowledge. The fact that we are now competing internationally with limited local resources is a significant accomplishment for us. We are proud to be achieving worldwide recognition of, and acknowledgement for, our unique, dynamic and highly effective marketing strategies. Going forward, we anticipate developing more sophisticated products with more technical engineering.

At what point did you realize IP could support your business?

Since Designer Shaik has expanded internationally, we have encountered numerous attempts to infringe and impersonate the Designer Shaik brand and replicate our products. That has caused us to develop countermeasures to protect our brand. This experience has shown us that IP protection is necessary because it gives us a strong legal basis to protect ourselves from these attempts.

What role do IPRs play in your business?

Building a brand requires the trust of our consumers. Specifically in design, it is crucial to be a leading supplier with a unique product. Obtaining IP rights was therefore a vital step towards building our brand and defending it against infringement.

IP plays an increasingly important role as our brand grows internationally. It is the company’s biggest asset in terms of our creative input and advancement. For these reasons, Designer Shaik has acquired IP in the form of trademarks for our name and logo, industrial designs rights for our watch hands, watch shape and perfume bottle and a patent for our watch strap.

Founded in 2002 by Mohamed Al Asfoor, the Designer Shaik brand captures a sense of style and taste that is rooted in Arabian heritage and the mystique of the desert sands; (Photo: © Courtesy of Designer Shaik)

How would you like to see the IP system evolve?

We would like to see the IP system within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) further improve. We would like to see more support and protection and a stronger response to infringement. All of these are necessary for our business growth. We would also like to see simplified measures and more action to do battle with those who copy and sell online replicas of our branded products. We believe that brands should also be protected from the infringement that occurs in the free trade zones.

What can IP Offices do to support businesses like yours?

In general, we would like to see IP Offices offering greater protection for SMEs in the online environment. This would include a quicker response to infringement, a vigilant trademark market watch and greater support in opposing trademark applications made in bad faith.

What are the main lessons you have learned in taking your products to market?

A key lesson we have learned during this process is that IP protection is necessary to encourage more creative and scientific output from SMEs.

It is vital to protect those with natural talent so that they can contribute to the well-being of the world. Without the appropriate sanctions against infringement or copying, the growth of “thinkers” and the development of institutions is threatened.

Designer Shaik has acquired IP in the form of trademarks for its name and logo, industrial designs rights for its watch hands, watch shape and perfume bottle and a patent for its watchstrap; (Photo: © Courtesy of Designer Shaik)

Why is it important for SMEs to focus on IP?

For SMEs, IP is as important as the creation of a product itself. One cannot do without the other.

What advice do you have for other SMEs when it comes to IP?

My advice is to develop knowledge of IP. It is vital for SMEs to understand that they need IP protection at an early stage of their journey to market. Ideas require time to develop, and protecting those ideas early can pay off in the long-term. Without the necessary protection of their IP, and SME’s capacity for business growth can be disrupted by infringements.

What are your plans for the future?

As our company expands, we plan to establish a continuous presence around the world with displays that identify with our ‘desert’ theme. We hope that this will promote a greater understanding of the essence of our brand, and will enhance its global relevance and the depth of our technical advancement. At the same time, mindful of the need to protect the environment, we will continue to improve the quality of our products by using better and safer raw materials.