At Pattern, we believe the key to our success is our team. With 10 office locations and over 1,170 employees around the world, our team is comprised of a huge group of innovative and ambitious team members who make Pattern what it is. Our #PeopleofPattern series shines a light on our people – their responsibilities, achievements, and why they choose to work at Pattern.
This week we spoke with Leah Mullard, Head of Distribution in our Dubai office, to discuss her role and experience working at Pattern. Leah started working at Pattern in June 2021, following eight years in a smaller distribution company in Dubai. As Head of Distribution, Leah is responsible for working with brands looking to expand into the UAE market, and facilitates the successful distribution of products through online marketplaces and brick-and-mortar channels within the Middle East region.
I started with Pattern nine months ago as Head of Distribution, working in the Dubai office looking after the Middle East region. It’s a distributor-lead market in the Middle East, so you don’t get many brands with head offices here. Brands tend to work through distributors such as Pattern so we can help to grow their sales through multiple channels. While our core business is through marketplaces such as Amazon and Noon, I also help brands to build further sales through brick-and-mortar channels.
I introduce brands to luxury retailers, pharmacy chains, supermarkets, TV shopping (one local channel sells into 11 other countries, it’s still a very relevant form of shopping in this region). Travel retail is also a consideration with Dubai Airport being one of the largest hubs globally. In addition to this, airlines such as Etihad and Emirates offer onboard shopping. That’s the idea, to grow the sales in the region for brands who aren’t ready to come to the region and set-up themselves.
I work with brands at a variety of stages of evolution, including ones that may have no presence in the Middle East, but already be performing well on Amazon in other markets, or sold by prominent retailers. If a brand is successful through these channels in the US and the UK, it’s very easy to launch them here. They work very much to the same regulatory standards, it’s actually often easier to register here! The packaging doesn’t need to be changed, so it’s an easy bolt-on for a UK or US business.
Before Pattern, I worked for a smaller company in Dubai for eight years. It was a traditional kind of distributor in the region where I learnt a lot about the industry/region, and worked on launching and building some fantastic brands.
Typically, distributors in the region aren’t so well-versed with e-commerce/marketplaces, because it is still in its infancy in the Middle East. For example, Sephora started selling online in the region at the end of 2016, and Amazon officially launched early in 2019.
Whilst the past couple of years have seen e-commerce scale up significantly there is still huge scope for growth. I was so impressed with Pattern when I met the team as they have a digital- first way of thinking. What Pattern offers brands from a growth and control point of view, and how the business can really accelerate sales is something unique.
In the past there has been a tendency to over-inflate retail prices in the region. Pattern, do things a little differently where we maintain international retail pricing, as Middle Eastern consumers can always buy products at international prices if they are prepared to shop cross-border online. I think Pattern is such a dynamic company, we’ve grown so much over the last nine years and I really wanted to be a part of that.
The most rewarding thing for me has been the chance to set-up something new in the Dubai office, to get involved from the ground up. The team that I work with are really supportive, energetic, dynamic people. We have a great working relationship.
I would recommend working at Pattern to people who want an exciting career, who want to be part of something that is fast growing and has fantastic plans for the future. We also have offices in so many locations, if you want to travel with your career then there’s always that possibility. That was interesting for me, personally.
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