Emad Ayad started Dot Design Group in the design and marketing industry. E enjoys pushing boundaries and creating memorable products for his clients.
What’s your story?
My story started in 1993 when I was playing competitive basketball in Sydney. I met a fill-in player who only played one game and our 5 minute conversation changed my life. I asked him what he was studying and he said Industrial Design. I then went on to apply for an Industrial Design degree at Newcastle University in 1994.
4 years later I graduated and started my career in Design and Marketing in Sydney. 2 years in the industry I realised that I had the appetite to take on the world. Starting Dot Design Group Pty Ltd with a fellow Industrial Designer Mr Rabah Maraby we managed to secure business accounts with Nestle, Bacardi and News Corp, working from a humble 40sqm office in Sydney’s colourful Kings Cross. We have now been operating for 17 years with our head office in Sydney and equally impressive offices in Melbourne, Brisbane, Hong Kong, Shenzhen and St Louis USA. Our customer base now includes Diageo, Clorox, Coca Cola, Canon, News Corp, Moet Hennessy, AB Inbev, 7-Eleven and Bayer. We design and produce custom in-store display solutions that vary from branded utilitarian solutions to sexy standout marketing props.
One of our claims to fame is the world’s first cooler box (The iSEE Cooler Box) with a clear front window allowing customers to see what is on ice at the point of sale.
We design 100% of our creative work in Australia and prototype and produce 90% of the work in Asia using various accredited manufacturers.
What excites you most about your industry?
The marketing industry is always pushing boundaries to create standout memorable experiences for its target audiences and brands. Coupled with an ever-evolving manufacturing industry which enables designers to create unimaginable solutions for their customers.
The internet age means we can work with customers in multiple cities and countries and having Asia as our hub for manufacturing allows us to be competitive when it comes to cost of goods.
What’s your connection to Asia?
Initially it was manufacturing and now it is customers looking for great design solutions for their respective markets. We set up an office in Hong Kong and now have an office in Shenzhen with production staff.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Hong Kong is by far my favourite city for business with most of our customers having offices in Hong Kong. There is only 3 hours time difference between Sydney and Hong Kong and 9 hours by air so this means we can do business in real time. Did I mention the food?
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
“Having a sense of urgency in life is what keeps you ahead of the game.” Raff Ripoll.
Who inspires you?
My father. A successful businessman who did not finish his senior school due to family obligations in Lebanon. Leaving a small village at the age of 17 to start his life in Beirut in its hay day. Then migrated to Sydney in 1974 with his wife and 2 kids with only $500.00 to his name. Starting from scratch he worked every day to make an honest living creating a successful gardening business which he has sold 3 times.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
The older I get the more I realise that it was never about the money. It is about my life journey and how I can share my knowledge and experiences with others.
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would take more business risks knowing that if I fail I can always get back up again.
How do you unwind?
I go to the gym 6 days a week at 6am in the morning.
I like to go camping and spend time with my lovely wife, daughter and son.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Vietnam – Ho Chi Minh City. The people are accommodating and very lovely considering their history.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Traction by Gino Wickman
How can people connect with you?
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>