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