During her school days in St. Michaelisdonn, a German village of 3,000 souls, Fatima Massalme often stood in front of the small jewelry shop in Johannssenstrasse to admire the glittering jewelry on display. She was especially thrilled by the beautiful watches. And she remembers vividly the magic moment during a trip to Hamburg when she pressed her nose against the shop window of the Wempe showroom on Jungfernstieg. Back then she was 12 years old, and what she saw was a revelation: earrings in playful designs, fantastic watches, necklaces and rings made of gold in simple or daring shapes, adorned with valuable gems — all displayed with perfect lighting. It was magnificent!
This passion for collecting became an ever larger part of my life,” Fatima Massalme says. Today, 35 years after her trip to Hamburg, she is the Brand Manager for jewelry at Wempe. In this function she is also responsible for the BY KIM brand. In other words, Fatima Massalme is the ambassador of this brand, which was created in 2000 by Wempe’s owner, Kim-Eva Wempe, and has been constantly refined ever since.
Subsequently she answered a vacancies ad and was hired by the Wempe showroom on Maximilianstrasse in Munich. She became a member of General Manager Dietmar Schülein’s team on April 1, 1998. “I’m very grateful to him,” says Fatima Massalme. “He trusted me enough to let me do things on my own. That’s how I found my niche: watches.” Massalme says she is still a walking watch encyclopedia today. When Dietmar Schülein suggested that she take advanced courses in jewelry as well, her career took off like a rocket. “I worked hard at workshops, attended lots of trade fairs, and absorbed all the knowledge I could about jewelry,” she says. For six years in a row, she was the best Wempe salesperson worldwide.
In 2010 it was obvious that Fatima Massalme was perfect for the job of Brand Manager. This woman, who loved jewelry and knew all about it, now became the intermediary who was expected to expedite communication in every direction between designers, buyers, salespeople, customers, and the management, connect all of the company’s levels with one another, and enhance the brand’s image. Her most important tools for this job are the optimistic spirit with which she fills every room she enters, her infectious enthusiasm and, last but not least, her open way of communicating with everyone. Her father taught her the golden rule that has accompanied her throughout her career:
“First listen to what other people have to say. You can talk later.”
What are the tasks a Brand Manager has to deal with?
For instance, there are the various jewelry workshops that she heads. Here the salespeople from the showrooms are familiarized with the new jewelry lines and collections. There are also lots of business trips, during which she reinforces her contacts and presents the new collections to customers.
Our customers give us a great deal of information. Their wishes and perceptions influence us in many areas, ranging from sales to design and the structuring of our collections. If a hook doesn’t sit right or a supplementary part is desired, we respond to the customer’s wishes.
One very concrete example of her work is the BY KIM brand handbook. “In this handbook we’ve documented the brand’s vocabulary. We want to make sure that all the showrooms worldwide and all the people who deal with the BY KIM brand are working with the same information and with uniform concepts. This book is a guideline — a kind of framework within which Wempe employees can express their individuality,” she says.