How does Sig Distro succeed? By Doing the Opposite of Everyone Else.
By Matt Weeks
There’s something that sets Sig Distro apart from its competitors. It’s not the company’s worldwide presence, which has helped it to establish brands in places like Dubai and Venezuela. It’s not their 50,000-square-foot warehouse, savvy social media strategy, or popular, charismatic products.
It’s what behind all that.
Pull back the curtain, and you’ll find something rare in this industry: A triumvirate of Lebanese women, all firmly in Gen Z, handling the business. Together, they make moves that keep the company innovative and thriving, while competing against men twice their age—and winning.
“What sets us apart from the other companies is that we’re young. Extremely young,” explains Julia Hamieh, one third the brain trust that runs things at Sig Distro. “Our age range is between 22 and 25. I’m almost certain we’re the youngest in the industry. We’re also women, which is somewhat uncommon in this space.”
She’s quick to point out that their age, gender, and race aren’t mere differences. They’re professional advantages.
Officially, Hamieh serves as the company’s marketing manager, but her duties extend far beyond the graphic design, social media, and trade show preparation she does. She and her two colleagues, Youmna Al-Moussalli and Stephanie Jabak, are responsible for the day-to-day operations and much of the strategic planning that keeps Sig Distro running.
“Not a lot of companies in this industry have women in their higher up positions. So, when you’re this young and especially when you’re also a woman, you bring a different eye to the marketplace,” she says. “You look at things from a different perspective, especially from a marketing angle. I think we’ve given Sig a different touch.”
On the org chart, Hamieh and her colleague report to the company’s owner. But make no mistake—they are a driving force in the company’s direction.
“He gives us complete freedom to do what we think is right, what we think is best,” Hamieh says. “We obviously go to him to get confirmations, but he has never been against any idea we’ve brought to him, whether it was creating a new product or creating a new name for a product.”
They enjoy the sort of trust that is usually earned little by little, over years of service. But for Sig Distro, moving fast and staying young has proven to be a winning business plan.
While Hamieh’s age may give her an edge when it comes to marketing the company’s supply of vapes, glassware, and accessories to young consumers, she acknowledges that her youth also makes the unsavory side of the industry more apparent. She faces down prejudice with regularity.
“Despite the challenges I face as a young woman in this male-dominated field, I am still capable of standing my ground,” she asserts. “I’m confident in my expertise and what I have to offer.”
It helps that Hamieh is naturally charismatic and quick to win over her clients with her knowledge and experience. As she explains her approach to networking, it’s easy to imagine her words forming the core of a bestselling sales book written as an antidote to the dominance of the last generation’s tech bro culture.
“Being Lebanese has helped us, too. We’re able to adapt to every culture, religion, and race that comes our way. Not to get political, but we are very much able to be respectful to everyone. As Gen Z, we understand that it’s a very sensitive time, so we are always careful to come with a lot of respect. We start all our conversations with a lot of respect and a lot of formality, but also very openhearted,” Hamieh says.
“And we bring that also into the products. Our first thought is that we need something fun because people who are buying our products are young, but then we also want to sell products to the older generation, who make up a large portion of the wholesalers and distributors. And thankfully, my boss has taught us how to deal with people of all ages and who might have a different mindset than we have. Thanks to his mentorship, we know how to drive a conversation and maintain a respectful exchange with anyone, regardless of age, gender or ideology.”
That kind of attitude translates into more business for Sig Distro, which means more work for Hamieh. But that’s part of the youth thing again—she likes putting in the hours.
“This industry is very fast moving. Every week, there’s something new coming out,” she says. “It’s why I fell in love with the industry. This is my comfort zone; these are my people, and this is where I want to grow—and this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. It just makes me very happy. I wake up excited because I keep learning new things.”
“We want to see more women in this industry,” Hamieh adds, “Particularly, more women in leadership. A woman’s journey is a testament to the power of diversity and innovation.”
So, what’s the secret to success? For Sig Distro, it’s simple. Just listen to women.