What started as a pendant for his girlfriend at the time, developed into the successful jewelry brand we see today as Dido Embaby Jewelry. The brand known for its customized Arabic calligraphy designs was founded by Dido Embaby. And so, we had to sit down (virtually, of course, and with more than 3000 kilometers separating us) with the engineer-turned-jewelry designer himself to discuss everything from his entrance to the jewelry industry to his advice to any young entrepreneurs.
Dido Embaby Cufflinks
Image Credit: Dido Embaby Jewelry Official Instagram
When asked about his initial interest in a unique field such as the jewelry one, Embaby described his entrance to the field as something “out of the blue.” He explained that when he started designing jewelry in university, it was merely a hobby and thus, it had never been his plan to develop it into a business.
Fun Fact: Back in his university days, Dido actually hated Arabic calligraphy!!!
As our conversation moved to the topic of passion, Embaby shared his belief that “passion draws a line between actually continuing or not,” especially when it comes to continuing or persevering despite all the hurdles and struggles that one faces when starting and running a business.
Additionally, Embaby discussed a fact that might come as a surprise to many, which is that for the longest time he maintained a 9-5 job alongside running his business. He said that it has been useful in helping to raise capital and yet, he would not necessarily recommend every entrepreneur to do the same. This is because he believes that, contrary to some misconceptions, it can be quite difficult for an entrepreneur to balance both a regular job and a business forever. Furthermore, he thinks that nowadays there are several other options for raising capital especially in comparison to when he first started out.
“The most important thing in a team is that they share your vision,” reflected Embaby on how to raise a team. He expressed that if your team do not share your views for your products or business, you will likely end up in a situation where you have workers who are not putting in the effort needed, thus you, the entrepreneur, will not grow. And while raising a team differs from one industry to another, Embaby acknowledged that in the jewelry industry, it can be “a bit hard” due to the nature of the product and also as a result of how “meticulous people are” with their jewelry. One of the main struggles, in his experience, is finding the required skilled labor in Egypt and ensuring that they are loyal in order to maintain the much-needed high level of security. His advice for raising a team as a business in the jewelry industry in spite of the aforementioned difficulty is to have a large role “on-site.” He believes that something that allowed him to not only gain a lot of useful experience but also, get to know the right people who could be a part of his team was spending a significant amount of time watching and observing in actual jewelry workshops around Egypt.
Because of the saturation of the of the jewelry industry with new businesses starting up every day via different social media platforms, we had to ask Embaby how he has been able to stay on top of the game. In response to that, Embaby stressed on the importance of creativity within the design development process. “People like new things” and this is especially true when it comes to jewelry. He elaborated on that point by explaining that this is particularly important for entrepreneurs who do not just want to sell. In his opinion, anyone can sell, but scaling is what can be “one of the hardest things in business.” He added that another extremely important element is to “develop a brand for yourself.” In his case, the Dido Embaby brand is based on three things: calligraphy designs, customizations, and standard designs. He also stressed on the importance of creating and emphasizing a bond and relationship between the consumer and the product when marketing so it is not just about a necklace or bracelet but about the connection between you and the brand.
Dido Embaby Personalized Bangle
Image Credit: Dido Embaby Jewelry Official Instagram
As for advice he has for new or aspiring entrepreneurs, Embaby restated his previous belief to not depend on people who do not share your vision. He also discussed the importance of having a business plan. We, then, moved onto the issue of leadership and the qualities that make a leader and Embaby shared his opinion that being a good leader requires you to understand each of your team member’s abilities and ways of thinking in order to successfully lead them and allow them to achieve self-fulfillment. He also explained that, for him, leadership skills are not something that you gain only through running a business with many of his own leadership skills being the result of his years practicing sports. (For more thoughts on being a leader as an entrepreneur, check out this short article).
Finally, Embaby gave us some insight into the brand’s future plans, which include the launch of new standard design collections that are based on how one perceives the world and the patterns in it. In addition to that, the brand has already started working on supporting upcoming designers and startups.