The eldest of three siblings, I graduated with a degree in business studies from the University of Sharjah in the UAE. When I graduated from high school, my father told me that studying abroad was the first step toward shaping a person’s personality. He encouraged independence and always trusted my judgment.
In addition to my academic studies I also enrolled in a music institute to learn to play the piano. My mom was very supportive of this as she plays the violin, as does my sister. One of the most enjoyable times for us is when we play a piece of music together.
At first I thought of it as a hobby that I wanted to learn and improve, no more than that. Then one of my teachers gave me some good advice: if you are going to spend time, money and effort in learning anything, you might as well get a proper qualification. So I did. I took theory and practical exams and was certified at each level.
After I graduated from university, I got a job with a National Commercial Bank where I worked as a private banker for nine years. I loved banking and feel it is one of the best work environments in which to learn.
During the last year of my banking job, I started a small manufacturing business that specializes in dyeing leather. I juggled both careers for a while until I decided to focus full time on my new business. It was a major shift for me. As an entrepreneur, I have to wear many hats — including accountant, quality control, HR, marketing — especially at the beginning.
What attracted me to the business was the idea of restoring and reusing valuable leather items. It changes the consumption mindset: Instead of buying a replacement whenever something is damaged, the existing item can instead be restored and its useful life extended. Currently, the business is expanding from dealing in personal items such as leather bags, wallets and clothing to include leather furniture and car seats.
I also decided to find time to teach the piano. Watching Saudi women learn and get excited to play music is certainly very rewarding. One of my most difficult experiences was teaching a sight-impaired child. As I am used to teaching by demonstrating on the piano, I had to instead find a way to explain in words what I normally show by example.
The recent announcement that a music institute will be opening in the Kingdom is life-changing news. I aspire to see the culture of music spread in Saudi Arabia and hope I can be part of it.