RANA AL EID
Founder of Café Céramique, Azur Spa and winner of the Most Innovative Woman Entrepreneur Award
It was in 1996 that Rana Al Eid started a branding and corporate identity company called RED Design. Six years later, in 2002, she set up Café Céramique, guests could stop by and enjoy a coffee and design, paint or create ceramic works of art. Prior art training was not mandatory.
By the time Friday featured her in the September 16, 2009 issue, she was a successful entrepreneur. ‘It’s important to dream big,’ she said at the time. Rana did.
Six years later, she sold her majority stake in Café Céramique, and after taking a short break, set up Azur Spa – also a success.
‘I sold my shares a couple of years ago and now am at a sort of crossroads in life.’
‘My extended family will be leaving Dubai this year and my daughters are pursuing education abroad.’
Ever the entrepreneur, she is exploring markets overseas for her next venture. Known to work closely with her team, Rana believes part of the secret of success is ‘about choosing the right people for the right positions, then leading them in a democratic or participative style. ‘I value the input of my employees and I value their contribution to the decisionmaking process. It is wonderful to watch them grow, get more involved and dedicated in raking in the results.’
She sees her role in a company as a ‘conductor is in an orchestra. Once we get the rhythm then things flow beautifully and from there on it is only about improving and tweaking and practising.’
While success drives her, Rana also makes it clear that it’s important to maintain a work-life balance. ‘Over the years, I learned to relax a lot more and set my priorities. There is always something to be taken care of; if we don’t step back and relax then we end up messing everything up.’
A believer in constant self-development and growth as opposed to instant total transformation, she says ‘if our intentions about being better than the day before are clear, the change will happen seamlessly.’
Rana wrote a book, Think like a Woman, Act like an Entrepreneur, after ‘a lot of women were asking me for advice and guidance’, but says that she was a little surprised by the kind of questions she received.
‘Most questions were not about the actual nuts and bolts of a business but more about confidence, how to deal with naysayers, how to overcome society’s pre-conceived ideas etcetera. I thought it would be a good idea to share my story and find a way to empower women who are looking to start a business or who just want to forge a path of their own making.’ Balance is key: ‘Although you might get personal gratification and praise for being a superwoman and wanting to do everything, I don’t believe that this is a sound or sustainable strategy,’
She says that while we all go through ups and downs, it’s important to face our fears. ‘The experiences we go through do not define us and they should not hold us prisoner,’ she says.
Rana, a successful entrepreneur, says that it’s important to dream big