Firoz Merchant is the Founder and Chairman of Pure Gold Group, a multi-national company comprising Pure Gold Jewellers, La Moda Sunglasses and Pure Gold Properties. Pure Gold Group was established by Firoz Merchant in 1989 in Dubai and today the company has presence in GCC, Asia and Asia Pacific. Firoz Merchant’s story is that of a determined entrepreneur who never gave up on his dreams in spite of many hardships since youth.
Firoz Merchant grew up in a family of modest means in India. He was one of nine children in a family of six boys and three girls. His father Gulam Hussain, was a real estate broker and his mother Malekbai was a housewife. The family’s real estate business often did not do well and they led a hand-to-mouth existence. When Firoz was 11 years old, he discontinued his education to support his father in the day-to-day running of the business. Gradually, learning from his father, he was able to grow the family business.
After his marriage, he decided to visit Dubai for honeymoon with his wife Rozina. In Dubai, he was mesmerized by the Gold Souk and he felt a connection to the country and the gold trade. After he left Dubai, he expressed his desire to his father to move to Dubai and try his hand at the gold business, and thus began the next phase of Firoz Merchant’s life.
Firoz Merchant arrived in Dubai in 1986 without much money in hand but nevertheless, had a dream to make it big. He took a strong leap of faith when he opened his own jewellery store, ‘Pure Gold Jewellers’ in 1989 in Dubai’s bustling Gold Souk.
Within two decades of establishing ‘Pure Gold Jewellers’, today, Pure Gold Group has blossomed into a large retail business with presence in 11 countries- UAE, Jordan, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, France, India, Sri Lanka and Singapore. Pure Gold Jewellers currently boasts 125 modern retail outlets making it one of the fastest growing jewellery retail chains in the Middle East and India.
The company also operates state-of-the art factories in India and China and provides employment to 3500 people. As the Chairman of the Group, Firoz Merchant drives the company’s plans to establish 300 jewellery stores by 2018.
“I believe hard work, ethics and a long term vision are crucial to an entrepreneur’s success. Even when times were hard, I never gave up. I persevered and today, with Almighty Allah (SWT)’s blessings, we are a major player in the jewellery industry,” he says.
Pure Gold Jewellers is not only one of the leading jewellery retailers in the region but one of the best, in terms of service, quality and customer care, which is an achievement recognized numerous times by various industry awards including the “Best Service Performance Brand” award by the Dubai Service Excellence Scheme (DSES) of the Dubai Department of Economic Development, in the large business category for six years between 2007 and 2015.
The company also topped in the ‘Best Customer Service’ category in the UAE jewellery sector in an annual study conducted by international consultancy Ethos Consultancy for the year 2009 and 2010. Pure Gold Jewellers has been consistently ranked as a ‘Superbrand’ by UAE Superbrand Council for five consecutive years since 2009.
In December 2014, Pure Gold Jewellers, became the first and only jewellery retailer in GCC and India to be awarded with the prestigious “D” mark – World Diamond Mark, by the World Federation of Diamond Bourses. Notably also, in 2014, Pure Gold Jewellers, also celebrated 25 years of operations.
Today, Firoz Merchant is one of the most renowned business leaders in the Middle East and widely recognized for both his corporate and humanitarian initiatives. Firoz was named the “Philanthropist of the Year” at Indian CEO Awards 2016 by ITP. This was especially for his initiative in helping debt laden prisoners in UAE jails.
He is also ranked No.25 on the Forbes Middle East List of Indian Owners 2015. Additionally, Arabian Business, places him at No.36 on its 2016 Richest Indians in the GCC list with an estimated net worth of USD 440 million. Firoz Merchant is also featured in “The Super 100” list of Corporate Business Leaders & Professionals from India in the Middle East & Africa and is also on the board of Dubai Diamond Exchange.
Over the years, Firoz has tirelessly worked with numerous local, regional and international charities and also helped many expatriates in unfortunate circumstances.
The most unique humanitarian initiative he is committed to is ‘Forgotten Society’, which aims to help debt laden prisoners in UAE jails. Starting in 2011, he has helped repatriate 5,500 insolvent prisoners so far spending USD 3 million (Dirhams 10 Millions) till date.
Under his leadership, Pure Gold Group has also contributed to relief work in many countries affected by natural calamities including India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, Maldives, Germany, and Levant countries.
He has also provided support to the Red-Crescent Society, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charitable Foundation, Dar Al Bait Society, Bait Al Khair Society Jamiya Asarika Al Khaliya (Sharjah Charity International), UAE Genetic diseases Association, Breast Cancer Control, Faraj Fund, Directorate General of Police, Ministry of Education UAE, Ministry of Health UAE and Zakat Fund Abu Dhabi, to name a few.
During the severe flood in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir in 2015, Firoz lend a helping hand to the victims. In 2015, Firoz took the initiative to donate US$ 45,000 to help 1,300 families affected by devastating floods in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Recently, INR 400, 000 (50% of what has been allocated) was transferred for funding the repair and renovation work of Jameelabad School of Thiruvallur District in Tamil Nadu.
Firoz also started a new global initiative in 2016 with a pledge of USD 3 million, to install or restore wells and hand pumps in villages to provide clean water for drinking, cooking, farming and other purposes.
Pure Gold Group’s vision is to become the most recognized brand by offering world’s best customer service and great value without compromising on quality. Firoz’s aims to leave behind a legacy by accomplishing milestone successes in the jewellery retail sector.
According to Merchant, they have come a long way, but the journey has just begun. His mission is to grow the company to become the most preferred jewellery brand by offering outstanding value, impeccable designs, and superlative customer service with unparalleled after sales service and buy back options, exceeding customer expectations, leading customers to become the company’s brand ambassadors, thus aiding in its growth and popularity.
His leadership style is that of empowering people to work towards a common goal with crystal clear transparency in all dealings.
Firoz believes in keeping his professional and personal life separate. He loves spending time with his family – wife Rozina, who is his unflinching supporter and confidante; his son Karim Merchant, the CEO & MD of Pure Gold Jewellers; and his daughter Amreen Iqbal who looks after the diamond section; and his son-in-law Imran Iqbal, the director of the La Moda sunglasses. Firoz also devotes time to keep himself fit and in good health, so he regularly works out and also enjoys horse-riding.