What's your story of success?
A.D: I consider myself a very cosmopolitan person. I was born in Russia but from an early age started to travel a lot for studying. I have my BBA from Russia, Italy, and Finland; and I did my two MBAs in Barcelona, Spain. In fact, I still consider Barcelona as my second home and spend there every summer. In total, I lived in 10 countries all over the world studying and working. For the past 6 years, I'm based in Dubai, UAE, and call it my home. Here I established my company a couple of years back and started my journey as a media entrepreneur.
Tell us about your professional journey?
A.D: After my two MBAs, I started to work as an International Director of a luxury lifestyle magazine Le CITY deluxe based in Barcelona, where I gained lots of experience during 5 years opening franchise offices in Russia (Moscow, St Petersburg), USA (Miami) and India (New Delhi). After that, for some time I shifted to a trading business and opened a company in the Dominican Republic, but after some time I decided to get back to the media business where I have lots of experience and long-term clients. It was a great decision, as my company Chic Icon is doing well and growing every year. Also, it's a great networking base that allows me to meet lots of interesting people all over the world, evaluate great investment opportunities, and connect people with each other.
Why did you choose Dubai as your base?
A.D: I've always been mesmerized by Dubai and its land of opportunities. I moved here 6 years back from Miami when I realized that the American dream is dead and reborn in the Middle East. Here is the real land of opportunities! Regardless of where you come from, which background or education you have, Dubai always gives you a chance... if you are hard-working and creative enough! Lately, Dubai became a real mecca for entrepreneurs from all over the world. Here you can meet anyone! However, don't come here for an easy life. Dubai will always test you! If you are not dedicated enough, you will not be able to survive here. It's moving fast and doesn't let you miss out.
Did Expo 2020 impact a lot on Dubai's economy?
A.D: It gave quite a good push and during 6 months we had lots of interesting events and people coming from all over the world just to see it. We shall see in the longer term its real impact! However, I feel the biggest push on Dubai's economy gave its politics during the pandemic of Covid-19 which attracted lots of tourists and expatriates from all over the world. Plus now we see lots of powerful Russians moving from Europe and US, as here they feel much safer and comfortable due to the latest events. It gives a great push to the economy, especially in the luxury sector.
Do you feel the luxury sector is growing here?
A.D: Absolutely! For my industry, it's one of the best places in the world. I feel Dubai is becoming the luxury capital of the world. The Middle Eastern luxury goods segment is estimated to grow by approximately 8.5 percent (2020-2025) despite ongoing challenges, according to Mordor Intelligence Report. Dubai alone accounts for 30% of the Middle East's luxury market. The UAE luxury goods market was valued at USD 2,977.69 million in 2020, and it is projected to register a CAGR of 7.17% during the forecast period, 2021-2026.
How does that affect your magazine Chic Icon?
A.D: We have more work now. It's been a good move for me to turn my magazine fully online. During the pandemic, we increased the number of readers and views to 1Million a month. Now more and more magazines are moving online, as print is not that effective anymore. The luxury industry is pretty challenging in the UAE and it takes time to win your clients, but once that part is done there are less headache on how to keep them.
We work locally and Internationally with top luxury brands such as Jetex, Bombardier, Six Senses, Graff, etc., and all of them are noticing the market growth in their sectors. Especially, in the sector of private jets, there've been lots of positive improvements lately. It affects their marketing budget too. Apart from the magazine, we also do luxury events. Many high-end brands prefer this type of channel to reach their target audience.
Tell us more about your events division?
A.D: We do medium size and boutique luxury events. Our aim is to gather together a great audience and brands for creative networking and enjoyment of luxury goods & services. Our goal is to maximize effectiveness and enjoyment for both clients and the brands.
We do gala dinners, fashion shows, cigar tastings, business networking, and anything that can attract your target audience. We have an amazing database of luxury consumers in the UAE, both local and International, who enjoy coming to our events. Usually, we do boutique luxury events inviting noncompetitive luxury brands to network and exchange their experience & clients.
It sounds great! What else do you offer in Chic Icon?
A.D: In my company Chic Icon, we use 360 degrees marketing & sales strategy to reach the desired target audience. Through the magazine & social media we are able to do a good PR and tell a beautiful story of a brand, with our events we are able to do a beautiful presentation and reach your final client; with our concierge service, we are able to sell your product to our clients who are already familiar with it via our magazine and events. All together it works really well! I'm proud to offer such a service to our clients from all over the world.
What is your concierge service about?
A.D: In our concierge service, we offer a full relocation service to Dubai, UAE that includes company opening, residence/ visa services, bank account opening (both commercial and personal), property search, etc.
Is it a good time to move to Dubai now?
A.D: Absolutely! Dubai is a very safe and comfortable city with pleasant weather 8 months a year. Plus here your finances and company will be safe and not dependent on any sanctions.
Now it's a good time to invest in a property here as we expect an increase in prices very soon! My concierge service will be able to help you to choose the best options available on the market.
What else do you offer as a Concierge service?
A.D: Apart from that, we offer exclusive vacation options in the world's top destinations such as Dubai, Mykonos, Ibiza, Maldives, etc etc. We offer something very exclusive such as the North Pole cruise on a nuclear ship or South Pole tours. Not many companies are able to do that! When in the UAE, for example, you'll have the medium plan and super luxury options on safaris, yachts, private jets, hotels, villas, restaurants, etc.
What differentiates Chic Icon from other luxury lifestyle magazines on the market?
A.D: We are the first luxury lifestyle magazine with a self-awareness approach. Our mission is to show how to have material prosperity together with a piece of mind & balance in your life. Unfortunately, many people can't find this balance. In Chic Icon, we have a great team of international contributors who will help you to gain peace of mind through coaching, spiritual practices, and creative methods such as aroma psychology, theta healing, and numerology. On the other hand, we provide exclusive content on luxury traveling, gourmet, jewelry, supercars, yachts, private jets... only the best from what money can buy! From the position of letting yourself only the best things in life, both material and spiritual.
We are also planning to do self-awareness events in Dubai together with such masters as Sadhguru and Vedanta school which is known as a keeper of ancient wisdom and philosophy.
What are your plans for the near future in Chic Icon?
A.D: We are planning to grow and expand Internationally opening offices in such destinations as Saudi Arabia, China, USA.
Very soon we will be included in the Google news which will allow us to grow our readership base and increase the views dramatically. The constant improvement of our content is one of the main goals.
In terms of events, we are planning a private luxury event with Elie Saab and an Award Gala dinner in Burj Khalifa honoring the best luxury brands & companies of the UAE.
What are your personal plans for the near future?
A.D: To grow Chic Icon both locally and internationally, I also plan to launch this year a precious stone jewelry brand with a spiritual approach. It's gonna be something very creative and unique!
Also, very soon I'm launching a fashion brand line together with Haute couture brand Mirocha Maison from Dubai. It will be a chic and elegant clothing line for modern businesswomen who want to look great both day and night.
My other big dream is to launch a mobile application charity project that will unite small and big charity organizations all over the world with a different cause to create a transparent and easy donation portal that will also provide information on how donations are used with reports and web cameras.
That's a great idea! How did you come up with that?
A.D: This idea was born in my mind a couple of years back when the pandemic just started and we experienced the first wave of Covid-19. At that time, many financial resources were cut and focused on the pandemic fight only. That affected the most unprotected ones. Millions of people in need all over the world were brought to the brink of death because of the lack of usual donations. Back then, some charity organizations from Peru and Kenya contacted me to raise awareness of that problem. So I came up with an idea to create a charity organization that would help anyone in need, no matter what happens, with no discrimination. The application will allow you to send donations anywhere in the world just in a few seconds directly to those who are in need. A good part is that you will receive monthly reports on how your donations were used, and in some cases, you'll be even able to get access to web cameras of some charity organizations anywhere in the world such as schools, hospitals, etc.
That's an amazing initiative, good luck with that! Tell us a bit more about your upcoming jewelry line?
A.D: The idea behind the brand is precious stone jewelry with a deep meaning and creative designs inspired by ancient cultures and wisdom. The name of my jewelry brand is Dakini which in Buddism means Goddess. It is a manifestation of liberating energy in female form. Dakini in Sanskrit, Khandro in Tibetan, literally means “sky dweller” or “sky dancer,” and is the most sacred aspect of the feminine principle in Tibetan Buddhism, embodying both humanity and divinity in feminine form.
The idea of my jewelry is to bring the divine within you! Imagine wearing the sacred ancient protective jewelry designs from Egypt, India, or Tibet. More and more people are coming back to spirituality these days, so the jewelry line that will align both spirituality and material beauty is my mission.
Photo: Fashion Journey
Outfits: Miley Cao