We’ve all had that moment when we feel as though we’ve hit a rut in our career path. But how many of us have been brave enough to step into the unknown and start out on our own? Walking out on a secure monthly salary and benefits can be a risky move but giving yourself the freedom to be led by your passion is a liberating experience. So says, Adel Alansari, who launched his own boutique brand consultancy this year. After years of working in creative marketing and fashion, he’s now using his experience and passion to help local and international businesses develop their brands and he’s never been happier.
But what prepared him to go it alone? The effervescent Adel admits that he would never have taken the leap without the foundation of experience he’d gained from past work. “My previous roles have provided a 360 degree view of the world of marketing for which I am extremely fortunate.”
Following university, Adel began his professional career working as an account executive in an advertising agency. There, he says, he was able to develop his creative skills as well as learn a lot about how the client’s approach and mentality could affect the success of a brand’s marketing strategy. “I saw, again and again, how a company’s corporate culture got in the way of realizing their marketing objectives. Budgets were frittered away, campaigns all too often failed to deliver, and rarely was marketing spend truly evaluated against ROI. It was frustrating.”
After a number of years on the agency side of the marketing world, Adel joined Alshaya’s world of fashion, as brand marketing executive for River Island. “Fashion had always been my passion, and being able to combine that with my growing understanding of the marketing process was a perfect match.” His unique approach to the business was hugely successful for River Island and he was quickly promoted within Alshaya to Marketing Manager for Harvey Nichols, Kuwait tasked with launching the new store.
“Alshaya is more than a company. It’s an amazing business school– it’s phenomenal.” Admits Adel. “If you want to understand corporate, Alshaya is the best point to start, and I was lucky enough to be trusted to be creative there and make things happen there. It was fantastic.”
But in 2013, Adel left Alshaya for a bigger challenge: to head up marketing across Alyasra Fashion’s Fashion and Footwear brands, including ECCO, DKNY, Kenzo, MaxMara, and Jimmy Choo. “I had gone from servicing individual clients as their account manager to making the marketing decisions for a multi-brand fashion company. I was dealing with local stakeholders and international brand managers and, at the same time, was still very much a fashion consumer – so I had, without really planning it, developed this very rounded, 360 degree understanding of the marketing and branding process”.
So, the question remains – why leave that successful career path and set out on your own? “I loved what I was doing, and was thriving, but Creative Marketing and Corporate Culture often don’t go smoothly hand in hand. Companies are always trying to tighten budgets and support services, such as marketing, are often the first to get hit. Marketing can be done on any budget – but the budget and objectives have to be clearly defined so as not to waste what you have. If you spend more time fighting internally than building your campaigns it dulls the creative sparkle, and then everything starts to fall apart.”
“I have a very creative approach to everything in life. I hate routine and love project based work where results are clearly measurable. I had learned so much from working across corporate entities, but I wanted to spend more time doing what I really loved: designing, creating, styling: and less time in corporate meetings. That’s really what led me to launch DoubleA.”
DoubleA Creative Solutions is a service that melds his experience of agency work and corporate marketing management. He describes it as a “Boutique Creative Consultancy” where he, as Creative Director, can freely help clients who wish to “tsuj” up their brand image.
“I offer everything from brand design or redesign, to creative direction, photo shoot styling, and campaign management. My expertise is in helping your brand get noticed. I have been lucky enough to build up a fantastic contact book over the past few years including suppliers, advertisers, media and influencers. Coupled with my own creative instinct, I am now in a position to be able to support businesses in a more personal way than an ad agency can, but with the expertise of an in-house marketing manager.”
And he does it with flair, and uniqueness. “I think it’s essential to dig deep and get to know the client first, to find out [or help them discover] who they are before trying to understand what they want – this not only gives better outcome in the long run, but also builds a bond between us, which is vital in the creative process”.
Adel’s service goes beyond helping brands establish the creative flair to make them stand out among others. DoubleA is focused on delivering long term results. His creativity is matched only by his enthusiasm for what he does and talking to him you really get a sense that he believes every brand can be special in its own way. “Throughout my career, I’ve loved giving brands a face-lift. That’s where I really shine. Every brand offers something unique. The challenge, and the thrill is in finding it – packaging it – and promoting it.”
And since leaving the corporate world and setting up on your own what are you enjoying most? “I’ve been working a lot with magazines lately, to do creative styling and creative direction for photo shoots. It’s one of my favorite things to do as it really ticks all my boxes!”
Adel’s goal is to “break the mold” of marketing trends in Kuwait by offering something different in the industry. “Agencies in Kuwait are a dime a dozen. There’s a lot of the ‘this is how it’s done’ mentality here, but not a great deal of real creativity and passion. I’m not interested in turning DoubleA into just another agency. Long term, I would like to form a larger collaborative. To have graphic designers, and artists with vastly different styles on call. To have writers and freelancers ready to jump on board for specific projects. A fluid, collaborative, creative consultancy that really serves the individuality of every prospective client.”
This collaborative movement is a message to all talented individuals who have something to offer. As Adel says, “There are other people out there who already do what I do, and many more that would like to. Each of us offers a different perspective and creative style. We don’t need to compete, we need to support each other – and fight for the right to start home-based businesses here in Kuwait. There’s something great about creating a collaborative community outside of the regimented corporate world. And not just for marketing, but for life in general.”
And does does he have any regrets about leaving that corporate world and going it alone? “No! It is a bit scary at first, but if you follow your passion and focus on delivering great results to your customers, it is the best thing you can do. I have never been happier.”
And he looks it.
DoubleA is social media savvy! Find out more about this service by following them on Instagram @doublea.solutions and Facebook: DoubleA Creative Solutions. Contact Adel via email: [email protected] for enquiries.