Money & Me: Dubai-based fashion supplier to Lady Gaga and Shakira

Rashid Ali is the co-founder of the Dubai-based design house Amato Haute Couture, handling the finance and administration side of the clothing label, which caters to elite Arab clientele and international celebrities. Hailing from Swabi, Pakistan, the 37-year-old came to Dubai in 1993 with his parents.

Describe your financial journey so far.

I went straight to the textile business, following the family. We had a shop in BurJuman Center in Dubai. It is not there any more, but I have seen my earnings go up with the opening of Amato Haute Couture. It’s a brand now. I want to invest more in Amato Haute Couture but I also have other businesses I invest in such as an events management company, a car company and a hair salon.

Are you a spender or saver?

I am a spender, and I love spending on travelling. I go to Europe a lot and the United States for both business and leisure. Among my favourites are New York – it is a busy business place. And for leisure I like Germany, especially cities such as Berlin, Düsseldorf and Munich. There is so much to see.

What is your philosophy towards money?

Money for me is to give happiness. You can travel and spend. I do not like saving that much.

Have you made any financial mistakes along the way?

Yes, of course, everyone does. I opened a showroom in Deira about five years ago after opening the showroom at Al Hana Center in Jaffiliya in Dubai as the business was doing well. But it got confusing, as customers came looking for me at the Deira showroom when I was at Al Jaffiliya showroom and vice versa. We closed it down after about three years. Now we are planning a showroom in the Dubai Design District, also known as d3, by August.

If you won Dh1 million, what would you do with it?

Travel. I have travelled to many interesting places so I would start from zero and travel to those places all over again.

What has been your best investment?

Amato Haute Couture. This year we have gone to the top. We have supplied to top celebrities for some time now, to Lady Gaga, Shakira and Heidi Klum, among others. We do Germany’s Next Top Model [a reality television show] and we get in touch with celebrities from there. We meet them with our stylists. One of the interesting stories involves Katy Perry. I went to her concert in New York a few years ago and one of my friends introduced me to her as the Amato business developer. A few years later she came to Dubai and I went to meet her in her hotel lobby. She was staying at a villa in the hotel and she came down to meet me and remembered my name. I was very surprised.

Do you plan for the future?

Yes. Business-wise, we have several plans for Amato. We have already launched Amato perfumes, and this year we plan to launch a pret line, or a ready to wear clothing line, and make-up at Fashion Forward [a biannual consumer event from the region’s established and emerging designers]. Personally, I want to grow Amato into an international brand with offices abroad. I also plan for my two daughters, aged three and four. They will stay in Dubai for their school years.

What do you enjoy spending money on?

Travelling and shopping. I love shopping for shoes. I don’t have 100 pairs, but I have several.

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