Blending quality and fashion | Sunday Observer
Fouzul Hameed of Hameedia:

Blending quality and fashion

Product becomes quality 
Quality becomes brand 
Brand becomes fashion 
Fashion becomes life ....

Hearing the name Hameedia, I’m quite sure that many males, would stand still or turn around with much excitement and amusement. “It’s because of our quality and service. It blends with honesty, integrity and hard work,” said Fouzul Hameed. Clad in a plain simple blue t-shirt with the emblem ‘My Friend’, (the name of the welfare organisation launched by him to help critical issues in society), Fouzul found a few minutes to speak to me of his family business.

It was my grand uncle who started Hameedia, a small outlet for gifts and men’s clothing near the colour lights at Galle Road, Wellawatte in 1925. He sold it to my father in 1949,” Fouzul said.

Raffeedeen Fouzul Hameed was the third of the six children born to Raffeedeen Marikar of Beruwela and Johara Rafeedeen of Aluthgama. The three Raffeedeen boys were boardered at Zahira College, Colombo till their father bought a house at Vaidya Road, Dehiwela in 1971 and they started schooling from home. The three girls studied at St. Bridget’s, St. Lawrence’s and St. Clare’s.

“I studied at Zahira College, Colombo up to my O/Ls and then moved to Isipathana, Colombo. I was not much into studies, but a lot into sports, with a mind for business,” he said.

Fouzul was into hockey and played at national level. He captained the school football team. He played cricket with national level cricketers such as the Ranatunga brothers at Ananda and Madugalle at Royal, when at school.

After leaving school Fouzul played cricket for the Moors Club. “To date I play football,” he said.

After finishing school, the Rafeedeen girls got married to professionals and settled down, while the three brothers joined their father at Hameedia, as he was not in good health. The elder brother, Faiz Alavi took to Manufacturing while the younger, Hussain Sadique, Finance and Administration. Fouzul, who was the most energetic and active of the three, became the Managing Director.

Raffeedeen Marikar (Fouzul’s father) bought Hameedia from the savings of a few thousand rupees gifted to him by his mother in 1949. Mr. Marikar was a teenager when he stepped into business. The original Hameedia was moved to its present place at No.58, Galle Road, Wellawatte to turn a new leaf in the business.

After Fouzul and his brothers took over, the business evolved gradually to today’s success, spreading over to 18 branches all over the country. “The credit goes to all of us. Our success is the result of unity, hard work, dedication and determination,” said Fouzul. Under the wings of the three brothers Hameedia has been thriving in business not only islandwide, but abroad as well.

“People think Hameedia means expensive, as we’ve built a good name since the day my father was the head; with good quality, style and fashion. We’ve had a decent clientèle persistently. We have managed to maintain this stability. Sales might go up and down, but service standards stay forever,” Fouzul said.

Brands

Hameedia bears three brand names - Signature, Lebond and Envoy London which ascend in prices, in that order. The gentleman who wants to look smart in a posh blazer or deluxe full suit; or to spruce up with well-fitted slim or trim office wear; formal, casual or luxurious party wear; Hameedia would provide the solution.

“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it. But if you love what you’re doing, you tend to put the customer first. Customers don’t expect you to be perfect.

They do expect you to fix things when they go wrong,” believes Fouzul who has been in business since the early 1980s.

He is a designer as well. With his intuitive skills and talents he knows how a man could look smart and handsome.

Blending conventional styles with contemporary fashions, he knows how to innovate something novel and better for Hameedia clientèle. “My leisure is spent mostly watching anything in fashion and documentaries in innovations and new developments in the world. I always try to update my global knowledge especially in men’s wear. That has helped us reach the up-market,” he said.

In Central London

Taking their next step to approach World Class, a Hameedia shop will be opened next month at Kentsington High Street, Central London, UK. With high tech, best accessories and best fabrics imported from Italy and Japan, stitched in modern factories (in Ratmalana and Eravur) under expertise supervision Hameedia will launch a promising business worldwide under the proud flag of Sri Lanka.

Fouzul has been conducting a Grooming Academy for Men (may be not the first of its kind in the world, but for sure the first in Sri Lanka) at his elegant training room on an upper floor at Envoy Mansion on Duplication Road for the past ten years.

The Envoy Mansion consists of a cafe with healthy food, mini gym, barber shop and shoe care centre. In the Mansion is a mini-library and a set of sofas for family members of customers to sit and relax, till the customer finishes shopping or his grooming class upstairs.

“It’s my passion to make gentlemen look refined, eloquent and powerful. At my Academy, we teach them self-grooming, etiquette, and how to maintain a healthy life with a perfect body and so on,” he said.

Knowing it would be uneventful for ladies who step in to an outlet mainly for men, with male family members, Hameedia has added a Ladies Corner at Hameedia and Signature outlets.

His elder daughter hopes to launch a finishing school for girls this year.

Personal life

When it comes to his personal life, Fouzul plays a low profile adhering to a simple and modest living.

“I’m conscious of my stamina. I play indoor football with friends and exercise daily.

I consume healthy food. If I attend a party I make sure I burn the extra calories the next day. We should drive our business, not let our business drive us, and make us crazy,” he said.

“My mother is my role model. She’s in her 80s. She has showed us the path, how to work as a team, to be honest, sharing and caring. Amma has taught us to respect mankind. It was her idea that I launch – My Friend Foundation, a welfare organisation that provides assistance to underprivileged children, destitute families and impoverished schools island-wide. It has become part of my life and pastime.”

Hameedia sponsors many national level sportsmen. “Being s sportsman, I give a helping hand to develop sports in Sri Lanka.”

Fouzul is married to Nuha Fathima Hameed, a beauty queen he met at a function and fell in love with in 1994.

“She is a loving wife and a caring mother, a very supportive and charitable lady. We are blessed with three children - two daughters and a son. My daughters studied at Bishops and son at Royal.

My elder daughter did Fashion Communication and Management. Now she is married and helps me in business.

My younger daughter is studying for a Business and Management Degree and my son is into Fashion Designing and Marketing.

They study abroad and are with my wife. I miss them and try to visit them often.

“There’s no short cut to success. Work smart and work hard if you want to thrive. Honesty and integrity play an important role. When you come up in life don’t forget to work ethically if you want to maintain and continue your success. Look after your parents, poor relatives, workers and the needy in society. Pay your taxes on time and be a responsible and dutiful citizen,” he said 

 

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