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Meet Abdul Ahmed CEO of Adesso Man

April 16, 2022
5 mins read
Abdul Ahmed CEO of Adesso Man
Abdul Ahmed CEO of Adesso Man

Abdul Ahmed is the founder of Adesso Man, a men’s lifestyle brand that aims to help men feel confident and look good.

Abdul, his partners Ayaz Raja & Lucas Anderson have created a purpose-driven brand and offers premium functional products that are durable and affordable.

Abdul was born in Pakistan to a father who worked in jewelry manufacturing.

He grew up in the family business and eventually moved to Canada.

Abdul is passionate about brand development, retail, consumer behavior, and product design.

He has over 20 years of experience in retail and fashion, having worked for Guess, French Connection, Mexx, and The Gap.

He graduated from Mount Royal University in Calgary with a marketing degree.

His focus was on strategy and brand development.

While still in college, he founded Adesso Man while working full-time as a retail salesman.

The brand has created 20 jobs and generated over $2 million in sales.

Abdul is a volunteer who works to promote conscious consumption.

His team has raised over $50,000 for different charities and organizations and has supported 15 small Canadian businesses.

Abdul uses his platform to create meaningful relationships within the community that help the most vulnerable members.

Abdul is an avid traveler and enjoys experiencing new cultures.

He also loves to eat and watch basketball.

What is the story of Adesso Man?

Adesso’s story began in 2013/2014. While still at university, I made a mock business plan to help me envision a men’s lifestyle brand.

The shop would serve as a hub for men’s fashion and grooming.

My father, a family jeweler, had many retail shops and was a strong business supporter.

I have always been interested in the jewelry and fashion industry.

I started my retail career as a manager in 2006.

It was something I knew I would be doing for the long term.

I used my business plan to create Adesso Man.

Adesso Man was founded in 2016 by my business partners Ayaz & Lucas as a passion project to transform the men’s fashion market.

Adesso Man was created to address the modern man’s needs.

We noticed that the popularity of men’s care and style increased due to social media, but there was still a gap in Calgary and Canada.

It was challenging to find unique accessories or grooming products for men that allowed us to express ourselves.

There were few options for European-inspired, high-quality accessories or apparel in Canada.

Adesso Man began as Adesso Accessories and evolved to become a lifestyle brand that offers a variety of lifestyle options for men looking to feel confident in their appearance.

How do you stay productive?

My typical day begins with me getting up at 7 a.m. Every morning, I make time for myself.

This is important because it sets the tone for my day.

It is up to me what feels best for me. I could pray, meditate, listen to a podcast, exercise, clean up, clean, or do breakfast.

Then I go through my list, which I usually update the night before.

I then check my email and get on with work at 9 a.m.

Today, I work remotely three times per week and am in the stores twice per week.

I have an 8 p.m. work cutoff and enjoy taking back my weekends.

My evenings are spent working out, eating dinner, visiting friends, watching basketball, cleaning up, and occasionally watching a TV show.

My goal is not to work more than 10 hours per day and sleep six hours each night, so I have eight hours to concentrate on myself.

​How do you bring ideas to life?​

One word. Teamwork. Our team is open to collaboration and has an incredible system.

Trust is built between us, and we work together to solve our audience’s problems.

Although we can’t bring every idea to life, we can test and evaluate whether they are valuable to our stakeholders before scaling up.

We aren’t afraid to take calculated risks, and we often fail without fear because we believe that failure leads to growth.

When we don’t have the necessary tools or knowledge to implement a plan or idea, we leverage our networks by collaborating, partnership, and sharing resources.

Which trend excites you the most?

The trend towards greater transparency and accountability in business and industry is what excites and scares my heart.

We are more responsive to our customers, stakeholders, and the community.

Even if we are a small company, our impact can be huge.

It is essential to be transparent about how we do business, our intentions, and how much we care about society.

The public is likely to expect this of us going forward. Even if they don’t, it is the right thing.

Companies will be required to examine their business practices and develop systems to ensure internal checks and balances.

​What habits make you productive?

I am setting up a to-do and being accountable.

What’s your advice for the Noob?

Nothing. I wouldn’t have been here without my younger self.

What is one thing we can all agree on?

It’s true; I used to have hair. For quite some time, I have been living a bald existence.

​What do you recommend as an entrepreneur?

Have empathy. This is something I promote often.

It is essential to be compassionate for your customers and employees as an entrepreneur.

This principle also applies in our personal lives.

What’s your rich strategy?

Our strategy is to grow our brand through a robust local presence, loyal customers, physical retail shops, pop-ups, and events.

My father owned a retail shop, and I worked in retail.

My passion was to create a unique customer experience by providing authentic service and store design.

Despite the rise of e-commerce, I felt it was still essential to building long-term loyal customers.

It was important to establish personal relationships with potential customers and provide opportunities to learn about our brand and products.

Our unique concept had few competitors and seemed to fulfill a market need.

Shopping malls noticed our brand through multiple pop-ups and events.

We were able to negotiate favorable rent terms, which allowed us to establish a presence in high-traffic areas of the city.

This was an excellent opportunity to increase brand awareness and find ourselves in the local marketplace.

To drive more customers to our stores, we invested our profits in content creation, marketing, product development, PR, and building our online presence.

This strategy will be used as the world changes with our customers.

How do you overcome Failure?

We traveled to Edmonton, a major city in the Province, just a few hours from Calgary, to look for a chance to open stores.

Although we initially saw positive results, we slowly realized that our chosen market and store locations were unsuitable.

We had several slow months, but we believed that things would turn around.

In the end, we stayed there longer than necessary.

We decided to cut our losses by moving back to Calgary, where we will continue to manage our two locations and work on our online brand.

We made a mistake by not doing enough research on the opportunity and becoming blinded.

This cost us a lot. This setback was overcome by making personal sacrifices and increasing our business.

We weren’t ready to give up, and we were rewarded for our perseverance as we pulled ourselves out of a hole.

What’s your recent best buy? ​

Hmm. It changed my life. It allowed me to organize my computer, clear out clutter, and create more space for myself.

It made my laptop work faster and more efficiently.

What are your favorite Softwares or Apps?

Todoist! It is my to-do list. It helps me stay on track, organized, and accountable for the most important things.

This creates momentum and makes me feel more accomplished.

Which book would you recommend?

This book is Marketing by Seth Godin.

It’s a game-changer in the field of marketing strategy and philosophy.

It shows you how empathy can be used in marketing.

​What’s your favorite quote?​

“Marketing is about our quest for change in behalf of the people we serve. We do this by understanding the irrational forces driving each of us.”

Seth Godin

TL;DR by Abdul Ahmed

It’s impossible to do this alone. Make sure you have the right people around you.

Listen to your customers and team members. Your job is to be there for them.

Higher productivity and efficiency can be achieved by being organized, setting goals, and being accountable.

As an entrepreneur and in your personal life, lead with empathy

Failure is growth, so don’t be afraid to fail.

Keep your focus on what you’re good at and stick to it.

If you try to master multiple things, you won’t be able to excel at any one of them.

Enterprenuer

Enterprenuer is a social interview and story publishing platform for entrepreneurs, founders, businessmen, businesswomen, startups, and anyone who inspires people globally.

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