Emirati Women's Day: Sheikha Hind bint Majid Al Qasimi shares why women are innate leaders

Her company 'Designed by Hind' has established itself as one of UAE’s most successful boutique porcelain design organisations


Angel Tesorero

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Published: Sun 27 Aug 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 27 Aug 2023, 4:18 PM

Women are innate multi-taskers and leaders. Sheikha Hind bint Majid Al Qasimi has proven this with her leadership as chairperson of Sharjah Business Women’s Council (SBWC), and creator of design label 'Designed by Hind'.

Hind is an active contributor to Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, which operates under the umbrella of the NAMA Women Advancement Establishment. She is part of trade delegations and business trips abroad that seek new markets for the region’s traditional crafts.

Her own company, which was launched in 2011, has established itself as one of the UAE’s most successful boutique porcelain design organisations.

Ahead of the celebration of Emirati Women’s Day on August 28, Hind shared with Khaleej Times her personal views and the lessons she learned during her journey of entrepreneurship and business leadership.

Here’s our interview:

KT: How did you get into entrepreneurship and business leadership?

Hind: I embarked on the journey of entrepreneurship and business leadership driven by a deep passion to contribute to the growth of our nation's economy and empower women in all walks of life.

Witnessing the potential that lies within Emirati women, I felt a strong calling to create platforms that nurture their skills and capabilities. Entrepreneurship for me is not just about business; it's about empowerment, innovation, and societal progress. I have witnessed the power of women entrepreneurs in transforming ideas into impactful realities, and I wanted to be part of this transformative journey.

My love and passion for creating porcelain art pieces, was inspired by my late mother who was my biggest role model. Initially, it was just a window of self-expression, but as years went by, I knew it was my calling.

So, I studied fine arts at the University of Sharjah to receive the theoretical and technical knowledge I needed to start my design label, Designed by Hind. I continued running it successfully alongside my commitments at SBWC. Women, by instinct, are leaders and multitaskers.

KT: Were you confident that you will succeed? What were the initial challenges that you hurdled?

Hind: Because my interest was in a niche sector, I always questioned whether or not my artistic approach, designs, materials and overall perspective would be understood and appreciated by my target audience. All these years and several sold-out collections later, I am proud of the fact that I overcame my self-doubt to start Designed by Hind, and I am extremely grateful for the love, admiration and support it has received in the UAE and around the world.

Also, because I was a fine arts graduate, I was always being challenged by the question of how would I be able to transform my art and my creativity into a successful business enterprise. Crafting business plans, drawing up budgets, calculating seed investment requirements, keeping accounts, and so on — the logical side of entrepreneurship intimidated me. However, I took the challenge head on. I took lessons in accounting and basic business finance.

The learning curve was steep, but I climbed it with all I had. Looking back, I am glad I had the determination to turn the challenges into opportunities.

Also, becoming part of SBWC was an absolute game-changer for me. Having uninterrupted access to real-time knowledge of the UAE’s entrepreneurial landscape, learning about emerging opportunities, connecting with a massive network of female business owners, and being offered the tools and skills I needed to succeed made a big difference.

KT: What is the label ‘Designed by Hind’? Where did you get your inspiration?

Hind: The brand ‘Designed by Hind’ is a tribute to the rich heritage of the UAE, encapsulated in the delicate artistry of porcelain. It builds a bridge between historical Emirati traditions and today’s world, by skillfully merging elements of our past with contemporary designs.

"Designed by Hind" is not just about creating exquisite porcelain pieces; it's about re-imagining and revitalising age-old practices that hold significant cultural value.

The inspiration behind my brand comes from a profound desire to honour and restore the traditional crafts of the UAE. Each collection within ‘Designed by Hind’ tells its own story, re-imagining customary practices for the present day. For instance, the 'Sarood' collection reinvents the palm hair mat, a symbol of communal meal gatherings, into contemporary ceramic plates. This process retains the essence of original woven patterns, preserving their authenticity in a fresh context.

The recent 'Nabata' collection pays homage to the indigenous mountain flowers of the UAE, connecting us to the land's natural beauty. The pioneering "Tumenah" collection is inspired by a cherished tradition during Ramadan, where children recite verses from the Holy Quran and are rewarded with money and sweets.

KT: As chairperson, what can you say are the prominent success stories of Sharjah Business Women’s Council?

Hind: The SBWC has charted a remarkable journey of empowerment and transformation since 2009. Today, we boast a membership of 2,000+ members, and amongst them, 1,200+ are Emirati women, many of whom are successful entrepreneurs and business owners in traditional and non-traditional sectors like eCommerce, F&B, fashion and retail, IT and other technologies, business consultancy, and more.

SBWC has launched 45 initiatives, including seven newly established projects in 2022, to equip and hone businesswomen's skills and capabilities. By the end of 2022, SBWC had taken part in 180 exhibitions and forums in various sectors that bolstered its members' presence on the international stage, including GITEX, Women in Tech Forum, and even Torino Fashion Week. The council also provided an opportunity for its members to take part in its trade missions to gain experience from their counterparts around the world.

SBWC has received a great number of delegations and missions that have further expanded the council's network during these two decades, with its members reaching 48 countries in the Middle East, Asia, Europe and the Americas, including significant financial and economic centres such as the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Japan, Kuwait, Sweden, Brazil, and other countries that have strong economic partnerships with the UAE.

KT: What advice would you give to young aspiring businesswomen?

Hind: Don't be afraid to try the unconventional. Feel brave in taking paths less travelled, and redefine what you think is possible or not. As entrepreneurs, we can step into new territories and take smart risks that can lead to awesome outcomes. It's not just about running businesses; it's about spotting gaps in the market where we can bring in fresh ideas, our entrepreneurial energy, and problem-solving skills.

In the current developing and progressive business world, I'd say to young women to explore the non-traditional sectors, challenge the stereotypical norms. Fields like automotive, aerospace, construction, IT, and maintenance, might not be the usual path, but they allow you to carve your own unique trail and carve your mark on the industry.

Remember, your dreams have no limits, and with the right tools, support, and attitude, you can create your own successful path in the business world.


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