Founder of Café Céramique, Azur Spa and win­ner of the Most In­no­va­tive Woman En­tre­pre­neur Award

Friday - - Anniversary Special -

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

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