January 11, 2019
Dominique Siby Founder and Designer of fashion brand Felio Siby
Dominique Siby, was born in the African nation of Gabon within a family of 12 brothers and sisters. Dominique was born in to the fashion world by way of his mother owning a series of women’s boutique clothing stores in his hometown. His father was the head of an oil company in Gabon for more than 23 years before becoming a government official. At the age of 10 years old, Dominique dreamt of being a fighter pilot after watching Tom Cruise in the movie Top Gun. As a young boy with a typical upbringing, Dominique would never miss the motor racing on television and enjoy watching the classic Formula One battles between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost with his father. Throughout his adolescent years, he would increasingly have a keen eye for mechanical gadgets – always admiring his Dad’s watch collection and taste in luxury cars.
At the age of 12 years old, Dominique moved to Paris with his family to continue his schooling. Throughout his early teenage years, he became increasingly exposed to the world of high fashion, glamorous style and international luxury the French “City of Light” (La Ville Lumière) was globally renowned for. While growing up in a quintessentially European culture, he viewed the United States as a more promising land of opportunity where his creativity would flourish.
In 2001, at the age of 19 years old, Dominique moved to the U.S to study English at the EF International Language School in San Diego, California, where he would become fluent after completing his course.
During the same year, Dominique saw an opportunity to move to Florida and attended Miami-Dade College to study an Associates Degree majoring in business. It was in his early twenties, while traveling from city-to-city, that Dominique became increasingly fond of men’s accessories and the different styles of duffel bags available in each country. Seeds for a new business were planted that would soon germinate in to an entrepreneurial vision over time. Shortly after meeting his wife Evelyn in 2002, Dominique began studying for a BA degree at Florida International University, majoring in International Relations. During his studies at FIU, a strong ambition encouraged by his father at a young age, opened a door in to the automotive export business, in which Dominique excelled – forging relations between the U.S and his native African continent. This gave him a strong foundation for conducting business across borders, reinforced with his hard earned knowledge from university. His independent ability to negotiate and deliver results for customers also earned him his own financial stability and nest egg for the future. Dominique graduated from FIU in 2008.
Dominique explored the music business by starting his own label with a friend, DMS Entertainment, which developed in to the representation of several local artists in Miami. Despite a period of success with his start-up label, Dominique didn’t view himself as having a career in the music industry and decided to pursue his vision of launching a luxury fashion business. He began traveling across the U.S to form relationships with clothing manufacturers and soon realized that European producers were perceived as the most credible within the field of luxury apparel. He also knew that he had to set himself apart from the competition with a unique selling point, in order to stand out among other brands within an over saturated market.
Dominique developed the concept of incorporating exotic skins from his native country in to a line of clothing. He sourced a manufacturer on the west coast that was able to integrate his chosen materials, starting with python and crocodile, in to a line of jeans, shorts and t-shirts. Dominique became increasingly inspired and his creativity blossomed in to plans for a product that was his true passion – men’s bags. With months of research and development, Dominique conceived his first design for a men’s duffel bag made with crocodile that would be produced by a company in Los Angeles. This ignited an aggressive effort by the emerging designer to take his idea to the next level and dedicated all of his time and resources towards launching a complete line and business of his own.
By 2012, and following several trips to Italy to form relationships with some of the leading luxury manufacturers, Dominique was able to partner with a premium producer of bags that was known for manufacturing the collections by leading brands of the world, such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci. This prompted Dominique to move forward with a major investment in to the production of a complete line of duffel bags for men, integrating the exotic skins of crocodile and alligator that would be produced in a variety of colors.
One year later, Dominique fulfilled his goal of combining his newfound love for luxury with his own African ethnicity, while honoring his family name and heritage. His company, Felio Siby, was formed, using a derivative of his father name, Felix, with the surname of his ancestors spanning many generations. With a large collection of men’s duffel bags and backpacks now established under his newly formed brand, he turned his attention to creating a line of women’s bags with the valuable guidance from two foremost women in his life – his wife and sister.
A premium and diverse collection of women’s bags, purses and totes were produced and designed with quality Italian leathers, as well as with crocodile, alligator, python, ostrich and bull shoulder, following endless visits to oversee the design and manufacturing process in Italy. Dominique’s design creativity flourished and the collection grew with a brand of style and elegance that would appeal to both women and men. In the summer of 2015, Dominique moved in to his first retail space at Miami’s Design District – housing the location for his first boutique in the city’s luxury shopping neighborhood known for its high-end stores.
Dominique was invited to his first Formula One grand prix in 2013. Singapore was known for its lavish luxury lifestyle and was a popular stop on the racing circuit, attended by the rich and famous followers of the elite sport. It was here that Dominique began to live his dream and passion for motor sport. Smelling the fumes and experiencing the paddock gave him a determination and drive to become involved in Formula One. Dominique began following the F1 sponsorship business and noticed the popularity of watch brands associated with the sport. He remembered always admiring his father’s watch collection as a young boy and growing up watching his Formula One heroes on television together. Dominique would soon forge some valuable contacts within the Formula One world while traveling to grand prix races in different countries.
In 2015, Dominique began to research in to the design and development of luxury timepieces, which took him to the home of the finest watchmakers in the world – Switzerland. Dominique envisaged his own collection of watches under the company name that would integrate his signature style of exotic skins. Six months after meeting a number of Swiss watch makers, his first timepiece was created that would reflect his Felio Siby label in both luxurious style and quality craftsmanship. With his first timepiece now in production, his next objective was to use the watch to leverage his network of contacts within the Formula One world to become a potential sponsor of a driver or team.
After meeting Sauber’s team member, Felipe Nasr, at the 2015 Singapore Grand Prix, the top Brazilian driver fell in love with the sleek design of Dominique’s initial timepiece and agreed to be the company’s brand ambassador, establishing the first Formula One driver endorsement campaign for Felio Siby. This gave Dominique an ideal launch pad that would catapult him to become a much talked about newcomer in the world of Formula One sponsorship, while allowing him to engage this sophisticated audience with his luxury brand.
Dominique also viewed the professional tennis world as an elite sport with a demographic that his brand would appeal to. Dominique developed a relationship with CAA, the leading sports and entertainment management company, that represents the world’s top ranked Czech Republic tennis player, Tomas Berdych, who, like Dominique was an avid watch enthusiast. The two formed a natural friendship and a successful negotiation resulted in Tomas becoming the second brand ambassador for Felio Siby, with Tomas helping to co-design a watch in his name. Luckily, the world’s top ten player did not have a watch sponsor at the time, so the stars were aligned in Dominique’s favor.
While becoming increasingly involved within the world of Formula One, and during his travels with the grand prix circuit, Dominique saw an opportunity to approach the UK’s leading Formula One team, Sahara Force India. His goal was to replicate the arrangement made with Felipe Nasr, but instead to become the watch sponsor of the team and its drivers. Following several discussions with the team’s principal, and exceptional arrangement was made that would become a first in the history of Force India. Felio Siby would become the watch sponsor of team drivers Sergio Perez from Mexico and Nico Hülkenberg from Germany, as well as the team’s official “Lifestyle Partner.” This prompted Dominique to get back to the drawing board and resume his discussions with Switzerland for a watch design that would reflect the Sahara Force India red and orange corporate identity, while remaining consistent with the Felio Siby signature look. The Sahara Force India Watch and Lifestyle Partnership with Felio Siby was announced at the Russian Grand Prix in May 2016.
Envisioned as the crown jewel to the Felio Siby line of fashion and luxury accessories, each limited edition timepiece has been assembled with skillful precision by the finest Swiss watch manufacturer. Dominique has combined his love for high-class craftsmanship and elegant flair with luxury sports and a global life in the fast lane, to introduce a timepiece series that exemplifies human ingenuity and precision engineering – both of which are underlying themes for the endorsement campaign by brand ambassadors Felipe Nasr, Tomas Berdych and Sahara Force India.
Today, Felio Siby presents its avante garde line of shirts, jackets, bags, shoes and accessories for men, together with its line of bags, shoes and accessories for women at its boutique store located in Bay Harbor Islands, Miami Beach. When he is not designing and negotiating alliances, Dominique enjoys traveling across continents and relaxing with his wife Evelyn and their three daughters, Celine, Emma and Danya.
W: Felio Siby