1. Tell us a bit about you and your brand.
My name is Noor Al Tamimi. I am the Founder and CEO of Dashing International Group; a chain of lounges branded as Bedashing Beauty Lounge. I am a mother of 5 girls, the eldest is 19 and the youngest is 6 years old. I am Emirati, but my mother is Jordanian, so I am actually half Emirati, half Jordanian. I studied here in the UAE and majored in Finance. I started off working in the Banking industry, but felt it didn’t suit my personality. I consider myself to be creative and innovative. I’ve always had my own way of doing things and felt constrained in the 9-5 world.
The brand started in 2008. After starting my first business which was trading decorative accessories, I realised that logistics, inventory and stock-taking was not my strength and I felt I should go towards the service industry. It really began from casual conversations with my friends about starting a nail bar and based on the feedback, I started conceptualizing it in 2008. I then conducted a proper feasibility study where I engaged with various individuals and realized that even in a saturated market, I really could carve out a niche and grow a business from the ground up. And with the help of my sisters who were also excited to come on board, Dashing Nails was born in December 2008.
3. What is your goal for the brand?
From day one, we imaged Dashing Nails, which then became Bedashing Beauty Lounge, being part of an international chain. That was the vision. We thought and acted that way from day one, ten years ago. It was not easy to brand every item, from towels to nail files, clippers and nippers. But we acknowledged that we needed to look the part. So we also invested heavily and presented ourselves as an international chain from the get go. And thank God we believed, as we have grown from 1 to 14 locations.
We imaged Bedashing to be a woman. She’s modern, progressive — she’s a traveller who tries beauty services around the world. She’s very busy. She has a busy career, social and family life. However, she wants to look groomed and beautiful all the time. So this is what we look for when we hire. This is what we look for when we decide to add a new service. This is what we look for when we choose a franchisee. So if this is your persona, then you’ll be eligible to become a franchisee.
5. How does someone acquire a franchise?
Applying to the franchise is very easy. Firstly, you’ll sign the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) following which we’ll give you all the financial information to enable you to make a decision and to see if it appeals to you. You also have the opportunity to access your financial capabilities with regards to the amounts expected for a 20 franchise. We do not encourage people to take loans. If you are capable of investing about AED 1.5 to 2 million, then you are eligible. If you are Emirati, you can approach the Khalifa Fund to seek funding to become a Bedashing franchisee. We have an alliance with the authority and the brand is also pre-approved with them.
We are not! We have achieved quite a bit, but there is do much more that we wish to accomplish.
7. What are the biggest challenges of owning your own brand?
The biggest challenge is that you have no excuses. You have to make it happen. You have to make it succeed. You must think out of the box and make sacrifices in ensuring the success of your business. It is also about how effective you are in maintaining your success. Therefore, with every growth spurt in the company, I have to constantly reinvent how I manage. I also invest heavily in learning new skills and ensuring that I am kept abreast of all the latest trends in the industry.
I find that when I am faced with challenges, I ask myself, “what’s the worst that can happen?” Even if it is losing all our money, so what? ……We’ve enjoyed the journey. We’ve enjoyed managing this business. It’s really about asking yourself, what’s the best and worst that could happen as a result of your decision. Finally, weigh the risk and the reward and make a decision.
9. What words of encouragement do you have for women wanting to step out into entrepreneurship?
My words of encouragement are very simple. It is to set yourself apart from the rest. But mostly love what you do. Use your vision board to set out what you want to accomplish in ten years, then start today with whatever you can do today. You must step out in faith and with courage.
Yes!! Big time!! Big, big time. Just like any mother, for ten years of my life when I started having kids, I didn’t look after my physical appearance as much as I should. My go to look was flip-flops, a black top, black tights and Abaya – that’s it! No makeup!! That was me for ten years. Then, when Bedashing started to expand, I was like oh-oh I can’t continue like that. What message would I be sending to people? So yes, I felt pressured into trying to look my best, but once I did, there was a big difference in my self-confidence and deportment. I also noticed a difference in the way people perceived me. Whether or not you want to, you are the face of your brand!
11. What does success mean to you?
Success means I am better today than I was last year. I compare myself to myself and this is how I measure success. This is what new year’s resolutions should be about…...How can I be better this year? Set reasonable targets for the year that you can attain and feel good about.
12. In terms of the strategic growth of your business, where do you see yourself in the next ten years?
Behashing should be the parallel definition of beauty worldwide.