Known as ‘Serial Entrepreneur’ by his board of directors, Khawaja M. Jawad has been a part of the prestigious Mahmood Group as their fourth generation. Starting from leather tanneries and textiles, over the past 85 years, MG has many diversified businesses under its name. With Mr. Jawad’s dedication, MG has further ventured into more businesses.
Tell us a bit about your educational & professional journey?
I have done my schooling and bachelors from Multan. I have my masters degree in entrepreneurship & international businesses from the University of Glasgow-UK. Being in the business for generations, it was a family tradition to join the company my forefathers found. My elder brother was a part of it already so I didn’t feel the pressure or a responsibility to join it immediately. I then utilized that time to get trained in textile; spinning, weaving, and ginning. I was looking after sales of yarn for quite some time. But then I realized it was not my calling. I felt I couldn’t really bring in a major change to an established business operating for decades with the latest technologies and trained staff. So I decided to do something different.
Enlighten us about your achievements as part of Mahmood Group and what are your future plans for MG?
I was looking for ways to diversify our group’s businesses. We then stepped into the food business and opened a franchise of one of the world’s leading fast-food chains; Subway – first in South Punjab. After opening 2 more branches of Subway, we stepped into the hospitality & food business in 2017 opening a restaurant named London Courtyard in Multan, followed by Aangan by LCY in 2019 and later a branch of LCY in Lahore.
In 2017, we thought to derive benefit from Multan’s unique geographical environment that produces the best kind of fruits and vegetables. I launched MG Agri Foods (formerly known as Roomi Foods) under which we imported Vapor Heat Treatment plant from Japan. VHT is the most sophisticated treatment for fresh mangoes and we are the only exporters of fresh mangoes to Japan. We also export fresh produce including mangoes, red onions, potatoes, mandarins, and dry fruits to Japan, the Middle East, and Europe.
Footlib-– a leather footwear brand was acquired by one of our companies; KTM in 2017. Together with Beyond East, Footlib was also brought under one umbrella of retail operations. Bringing in our experience in leather, we are providing the latest footwear options including casual, athleisure & formalwear along with accessories that never go out of style. Our range offers comfortable yet on-trend products for men & women.
Coming to what is next for MG, in the next two years, my plan is to venture into the hospitality business starting from up north. With our experience in food, exports and restaurants, we want to focus on providing quality service with good food and activities. We want to target the masses by providing affordable options without compromising on the service.
What inspired you to launch Beyond East during the pandemic era?
Since 2019, I was planning and working to launch a retail brand. Back then, our focus was launching an online niche loungewear brand but Allah had other plans. A few months later, I was introduced to Abdul Malik through a common acquaintance. His intellectual work and thinking have influenced many of world’s best-known retail companies. We then decided to venture into the retail business. Having Mr. Malik on board as our CEO, we utilized his global experience of 20 years in blue-chip and organized retail in US, MENA Region & Pakistan, along with Mahmood Group’s expertise in the textile sector. Together with this formation, we began researching for a retail apparel brand to bring our vision to life. As per the market stats, retail business during the COVID pandemic did suffer in brick & mortar however, a boom was witnessed in online sales. That motivated us to launch Beyond East during the pandemic, starting with an online store that was operational in October 2021.
Tell us about Beyond East and what does it offer?
Mahmood Group has been in the textiles business for quite some time. They have been manufacturing quality products for exports to world-renowned fashion houses – including yarn, and raw fabrics. Our main focus since day one is to utilize MG’s technical expertise of quality in fashion retail.
With a vision of becoming the chosen brand of our new generation, our wide spectrum of products offers accessible fashion for everyone.
Interpreting trends from East and beyond, we add our innovation and manufacture products that are fun yet suited for various occasions. Designed for ‘fashion lovers’, our products can easily transcend from daytime to nighttime look. We have an eastern range that offers casual wear, workwear, basics and luxe options. Made to inspire confidence, our western collection offers outerwear, co-ord sets, denim, bottoms, t-shirts and tops for men & women. Each collection has its own design & marketing strategy. They are designed and marketed in a unique way to suit the aesthetic of every season. This makes every collection distinctive from the rest.
What would you say is Beyond East’s USP and what makes it different from the others?
Our mission is to make a difference, Beyond East seeks to introduce timeless fashion in the market satisfying the fashion appetites of our audience with one-stop apparel solution.
Quality is our main USP. We are willing to let go of our margins but we do not compromise on products. Secondly, launching eastern and western wear together under one roof was a milestone for us. We provide an eastern and western clothing line for men and women, which is not only affordable but also designed keeping in mind the global trends.
We are also planning on offering more inclusive apparel options for the audiences. We aim on offering something for everybody.
What are your future expansion plans for Beyond East in the next five years?
We have quite a few goals on our checklist. I see Beyond East as the go-to brand for everyone. So far, within 6 months of our brand launch, we have 3 brick & mortar stores. We plan on opening stores in all major cities and fashion hubs of Pakistan and also hope to go international in the future. Further, we are working on shifting Beyond East’s entire production process in-house; from manufacturing yarn to the final product. We will be launching more product lines including kid’s wear, accessories and homeware making Beyond East a complete shopping solution.
What differentiates your design practice from others in the same field?
We are a people’s brand. When building our design team, we ensured there was creative freedom for all of them. Our team has a mix of different age groups which allows diversified thought processes without any restrictions. I strongly believe that the employees are your first customers. Following the ‘pull strategy’, we design products that are according to the current trends and are in demand by the audience.
Who would you say is your target market?
We identify our target audience as people who are young at heart and live life to the fullest. We began with offering western wear for Gen Z and Millenials and eastern wear for teenagers to women from all walks of life. In the future, we plan on tapping more target groups including people of all ages and sizes.
What advice would you give to future entrepreneurs?
“For me, growth is accomplished by listening carefully, constantly adapting and always delivering the best by rethinking new ideas.” My advice for future entrepreneurs would be to identify a gap and do something different to fill it in. If you see an opportunity or have an idea, do not waste time thinking, start working on it immediately because you might not be the only person having that idea.