MUSE: Life lessons from inspirational women — Aida Sahraoui

Aida Sahraoui is the founder and CEO of Dubai-based digital agency WONE. (Supplied)
Updated 01 November 2019

MUSE: Life lessons from inspirational women — Aida Sahraoui

The founder and CEO of Dubai-based digital agency WONE on trust, over-delivering, and the life-changing power of ‘The Little Prince.’

Women are often perceived in a biased way. If you’re too feminine, you’ll be seen as silly, and not taken seriously. If you have a strong personality, you’ll be seen as bossy, whereas a man would be seen as “manly.” The problem is that only women really see this. The biggest challenge for women is simply having to prove that we have brains that actually work just fine, regardless of how we look or how we say things.

People may think I’m being pushy sometimes. When it comes to work, I can be very straightforward. I want the work to be great and I never take no for an answer. So maybe I am pushy — or maybe it’s the only way to obtain the desired results. We all benefit from great work, don’t we?

The best advice I’ve ever had is, “Under-promise, over-deliver.” It’s more relevant today than ever — particularly in my line of work, where, I’d say, 90 percent of agencies over-promise but under-deliver.

I’m so proud and grateful to have my own company; to have transformed a passion into something tangible, to wake up in the morning and create great work with the team for our clients, and to see my team gain independence and confidence in their work. It’s a total blast.

Trust is the foundation of any kind of bonding. When good intentions are there, you can have a lasting relationship — whether that’s a friendship or romance. And, of course, the opposite is also true. But trusting someone else can only happen if you feel confident and good about yourself. When people are jealous, or judgemental, it’s often because they have issues with themselves.

Destructive comments are not part of my life. I choose to eliminate all negativity around me. However, you can realize things about yourself when you are confronted by others, and that’s not a mean thing — it’s a constructive one. There are countless things that I’ve heard that have helped me improve, and I’m proud of it.

I think men need to learn to listen. Really listen. But I also think women can learn from men’s straightforwardness. I do believe we’re highly complementary.

A book changed my life. Ever since childhood, Saint-Exupéry’s tale, “The Little Prince” has been an inspiration. It’s such an interesting read, and it helps me keep in mind that even through the bumpiest times, there’s always the hope of encountering specific characters that will change the way you experience the moment.


UAE brand’s fresh approach to skincare looking good for future

Having lived in Dubai for more than seven years, Kathryn Jones learned a lot about the Middle Eastern market and the needs of people who live within the region. (Shutterstock)
Updated 25 May 2020

UAE brand’s fresh approach to skincare looking good for future

DUBAI: Skincare products can quite often sit on shelfs or in delivery vehicles for weeks and months, stored in unsuitable conditions.

And despite brands promoting them as organic and natural, some customers might question the effectiveness of products left lying around for long periods after being produced.

However, Kathryn Jones, founder of the UAE-based brand Kathryn Jones Hand Blended Serums, or KJ Serums for short, told Arab News how her company created fresh products every month for customers.

Jones, who is originally from Wales, in the UK, launched KJ Serums in 2017 and started her brand “out of necessity.” (Supplied)

“The concept of a freshly-made skincare serum is something quite different and our customers have really embraced it. They appreciate it’s a fresh product that must be used up within a month when it’s at its most active and effective and repurchased – almost like a food stuff,” she said.

Jones, who is originally from Wales, in the UK, launched KJ Serums in 2017 and started her brand “out of necessity.”

She added: “I simply could not afford the prices of some of the top skincare brands but still wanted excellent results.”

With her background in the biopharmaceuticals industry, she started experimenting and developing her own formulas. “The core proposition is ‘hand blended’ because that’s how it all started, by hand blending and perfecting the serum formulas myself here in the UAE,” she said.

Having lived in Dubai for more than seven years, the entrepreneur learned a lot about the Middle Eastern market and the needs of people who live within the region.

“Our climate here is extreme often for eight months or more of the year, especially in the Gulf region. A lot our customers will ask for a product that reduces oiliness and sheen on the skin and are reluctant to purchase products that contain a lot of oils, or are very heavily moisturizing,” Jones added.

The businesswoman believes the Middle East market is “wonderfully diverse” with different attitudes and expectations toward skincare products.

“Of course, this is a challenge to develop effective products which can address many different skin types and issues, but the market is truly receptive to new concepts,” she said.

Jones pointed out that with the current lockdown situation due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), people had more time to care for their skin.

“The coronavirus pandemic has obviously confined us to our homes, and, given the steady increase in the number of enquiries we are receiving, it suggests consumers currently have more time to consider their online skincare purchases and perhaps have more time to invest in an effective routine,” she said.

On whether the COVID-19 outbreak would change the future of the skincare industry, Jones added: “I think that many consumers, either through necessity or out of a desire to support local brands might have chosen to source their products from different manufacturers and therefore brand loyalties may have been affected to a certain extent.”