Profil Usahawan Pilihan
Datuk M. A Habib Mohamed
Habib Corp Bhd
As a family-owned business, Habib Jewels has beaten the odds from its roots as a small retail outlet in Penang’s Pitt Street some 50 years ago to become a local household name.
Founder Datuk M.A. Habib Mohamed’s aspiration had always been to offer the finest jewellery at competitive yet affordable prices for his treasured customers. Starting from a humble retail outlet, Habib had no models to follow but only his own initiative.
His strong motivation to create jewellery of exceptional beauty and quality through the finest craftsmanship has made Habib Jewels one of Malaysia’s most respectable jewellers today.
Habib’s sheer determination and hard work transformed the family-owned business into a raging success that survived the recession of the mid-1980s.
After going through some turbulent times, Habib attributed its strength to “giving customers what they want.”
With its high-quality products, the company’s clientele soon expanded from Penang to the peninsula’s east coast.
The business scaled new heights when Habib’s son, Meer Sadik, later took over the family business. Meer, the managing director, is assisted in the day-to-day running by his wife, Zarida Noordin.
Meer, a trained gemologist from the Gemological Institute of America, has a degree in business administration.
“Habib is also about heritage and trust which is something we have painstakingly built over the decades. For example, we won the Reader’s Digest Trusted Brand Award for three consecutive years, including this year,” he said.
“These factors are also something many other industry participants cannot claim to possess. From the onset, we have always seen ourselves as the customer's personal jewel consultant. We are consultants; we do more than retail jewellery.”
Meer’s business instincts, coupled with an innovative mindset, helped him expand the company beyond its traditional field of wholesaling and into manufacturing and retailing.
The company was the first jeweller to be listed on the second board of Bursa Malaysia, which was then (in 1998) known as the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange. In 2002, its parent company, Habib Corp Bhd, was transferred to the main board. The company went through a privatisation exercise in 2005.
Although the company is no longer a listed entity, its jewellery business is a fully integrated one, covering activities from manufacturing, wholesaling and retailing to marketing and franchising.
“We take pride in innovating to meet changing times and to meet expectations of customers who are getting savvier with each passing year,” Meer said, adding that its designers travelled quite a bit to find out what was contemporary and unique.
Also, Habib Jewels continued to fly the Malaysian flag overseas by actively participating in trade fairs and exhibitions in Hong Kong, the Middle East, Europe as well as in South-East Asia, he said.
Habib Jewels is currently the country’s sole distributor of Casa Damiani’s range of 20,000 different intricate pieces of diamond jewellery and PAMP’s fine gold bullion jewellery watches.
The company has also established exclusive partnerships with other renowned jewellers like Italy’s Chimento and the Hearts on Fire in the US.
“We started out as a humble single outlet. We are glad to know that we have significant share in the jewellery category, and we are clearly one of the largest home-grown integrated jewellery brands in Malaysia,” Meer said.
Habib Jewels is recognised as among the top 400 brands in Asia in a survey of 1,000 top Asian brands.
Today, Habib Jewels has 15 retail outlets throughout the country and a workforce of more than 100 at its headquarters at Ampang Point, Selangor.
“Going forward, we intend to strengthen our position and enhance our brand further. We are already a household name and need to maintain this pole position,” Meer said.