“The myth is we only get to work on things we like”

WKND - - Work- Life -

Beirut- born in­te­rior de­signer, ar­chi­tect and founder Wa­jih Nakkash, opened Nakkash Gallery in Garhoud in 1983. The sec­ond branch came only 30 years later, and by that time, the in­te­ri­ors busi­ness had turned into a fam­ily com­pany with his son Omar and daugh­ter Aya step­ping in.

“You learn to get used to it and sep­a­rate the per­sonal from the pro­fes­sional,” says Aya, who ad­mits that she only refers to her fa­ther as Mr Nakkash while in the of­fice. “But it is much harder than peo­ple think. Others as­sume that we only have to work on the things we like and can pass on the rest to some­one else, but ac­tu­ally it’s the op­po­site — we have to un­der­stand and be in­volved in al­most ev­ery depart­ment.”

Wa­jih never pushed his kids into a ca­reer in de­sign. While Aya was grad­u­ally drawn to the fam­ily busi­ness, her brother Omar al­ways knew it was what he wanted to do. In fact, his ear­li­est rec­ol­lec­tion of work­ing for the com­pany was when he ‘ in­terned’ at the age of 12. How­ever, the brother- sis­ter duo also made sure they got ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing out­side the com­pany first.

“I wanted to have my own ideas be­fore I started work­ing for my fa­ther,” says Omar. “Just be­cause you’re the son of the founder doesn’t mean you can come in and wave your diploma around. In fact, there is al­ways this need to prove your­self. When it comes to a fam­ily busi­ness, I feel like there is an un­spo­ken rule to go above and be­yond.”

An­other chal­lenge of work­ing un­der your fa­ther is learn­ing how to deal with con­flict, says Omar. After all, there are al­ways dif­fer­ences in opin­ion, es­pe­cially when there is a need

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