How a university dropout became a millionaire
ENTREPRENEUR HAS MADE HER MILLIONS LEARNING FROM REAL LIFE EXPERIENCES
Emirati Sara Al Madani, 35, is a university dropout, yet that has not stopped her from attaining name, fame, and success in the UAE.
“Education and information are available everywhere. Life teaches you other things as well. At the end of the day, it is your own drive, ambition, and perseverance that takes you to success,” says Sara, a serial entrepreneur, blogger, and influencer based in Dubai.
Earning money at the age of 15
Sara Al Madani says started working when she was just 15.
“My father always told me that I had a mindset bigger than my age and I would do things differently than other kids. I believe I have lived up to his expectations. At 15, I became an entrepreneur by launching my fashion label that specialised in customised abayas for women,” she recounted how she started it all.
For a father who spotted the difference in his daughter was it he who funded her start-up at the age of 15?
Her response was a quick no. “I did odd jobs. I took part in public events. I also did some modelling. Over time, I had saved Dh25,000 and I put it all into my business,” Sara said.
Al Madani finished high school at Sharjah American International School. Later, she enrolled herself at the American University of Sharjah where she studied film direction and acting.
“At the end of the second year, I had to make a choice to run my own business or to focus on my university. So I dropped out of college to pursue my dreams.” And the pursuit of her dreams has taken her wherever she is now.
Years later Sara went back and finished her course in cinema at a university in the United States.
“Education is important, but if you have no access to the information you are looking for — it is of no use,” she says.
Al Madani launched her fashion company with a fashion line in her own name. She created outfits for high-profile clients and celebrities including Madonna (when the singer visited the UAE back in 2012) and Stephani McMahon (WWE chief brand officer when she came to Abu Dhabi for the Special Olympics), among others.
“When I was running a business at 16 and I was managing people in their 40s and 50s,” she remembers.
“My fashion company reached international levels. For 20 years, I kept the company alive and then I moved on to other businesses. For me, learning never ends,” she said. “I never had a background in fashion but I learned a lot about it from observing things around me.”
“I had a vision. I wanted to empower Emirati women by customising abayas to suit their needs and style. It was a big hit. I just changed the way their traditional attire looked,” she says.
In 2013, Sara got married. She got divorced a year later, after her son was born.
“People said my career and ambitions would end after the birth of my son. They said [after that] your life changes, your dreams are stolen, you stop living, you start to merely exist. But it was actually the opposite for me. When I had my child, he made me want to do more. Soon, I started seven companies and ventured into industries that I had no prior knowledge or background.”
Today, all of her companies are turning in a good profit, says Sara. “It is not at all easy running a business. There are ups and downs. I have shut some businesses as they don’t serve my purpose anymore. New ventures are cropping up and I am always on the lookout for something new and interesting.”
Life teaches you other things as well. At the end of the day, it is your own drive, ambition, and perseverance that takes you to success.”
Sara Al Madani | Emirati entrepreneur
After 2014, Sara diversified her portfolio and emerged as a key figure in different areas including fashion, beauty, and entertainment. In the same year, she was selected by His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah as a board member at Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, making her the youngest member on the board. Three years later in 2017, she was selected to be on the board of the UAE SME Council in the Ministry of Economy of Dubai.
Following her success as a young entrepreneur and businesswoman, Sara was picked to inspire women in the UAE to be more active and self-confident to achieve business success.
“I believe that it is important to be an active member of the community, inspiring the younger generation and continuously sharing knowledge and experience. That is why I took to public speaking, sharing my journey to all who have a dream and want to see it realised.”