Starting a business in the UAE takes time, effort and a lot of patience. This is why we are always inspired by women who just get on out there and do it. This month our RHWAD Spotlight Lady is Yesika Suarez. Originally from Venezuela with Polish roots, Yesika moved to the UAE in May 2009. Recently she and business partner Lorena opened Mamis – a beautiful boutique carrying the latest fashions of maternity wear located in Al Seef Mall.
Describe yourself in three words:
Direct, proactive and kind.
What do you consider your greatest professional achievement?
My greatest professional achievement to date has been completing my Masters Degree in a second language. Eleven years ago I left my home country looking for better quality of life and job opportunities. After two years of studies, I successfully completed my Masters and found a job as a Process engineer. Little did I know that this job would lead to meeting my husband and eventually bring me to the Middle East.
Do you have children and how have they influenced your career?
I have two boys age 4 and 1. Having kids is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me, but of course, it has come with many sacrifices. Let’s start by mentioning sleep deprivation – definitely hard and exhausting to start your working day with only a few hours of broken sleep. Memory loss – before having my first child my memory was sharp, now I am lucky if I can remember what I was meant to get when I went up the stairs and into my room. Time management – leaving work on the dot to make it in time to get my youngest from nursery and take my eldest to his extra curriculum week activity. One starts wondering if the day should have more than 24 hours so there is time to dedicate to my husband and myself.
How do you stay connected through social media?
I couldn’t be more thankful for the invention of the smart phone. I can check Facebook, internet, emails any time. The main issue is to make the phone battery last enough.
What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
This is a tough question. There are many other professions that seem interesting, but I am not sure if I would like to attempt studying something new.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Life and work balance is difficult to keep. It is easy to get submerged in your work and allow your phone, tablet and laptop to take your attention from your family. However, I try to separate myself from any device and dedicate my time to my kids. If it is something urgent that can wait, then I encourage people to call me rather than emailing or texting. During the week when time and energy allows it I try to go to zumba class. One hour where everything but the song I am singing in my head is forgotten.
What websites do you visit every day?
Everyday I check out the BBC and CNN websites to keep me up to date with the news. Facebook and Linkedin to keep me connected to friends and work colleagues.
Who is your hero and how have they helped make you who you are today?
I know it might sound cheesy but my hero is my mother. She showed me the meaning of trust and competency. She has always been supportive to any of my crazy ideas, even if it meant being thousand of miles away from her.
My favorite people in Abu Dhabi are my husband and my two sons. My three favorite places are: Yas links golf club, Al seef mall and Corniche beach. My three favorite things to do are: play golf with my husband, take my kids for a bike ride and go shopping.
What is your goal for retirement?
I would like to be in a place close to where my kids are. I come from a culture where family reunites and get together often and would love to keep it that way for when my kids grow up.
Do you have any advice for women who would like to start their own company in Abu Dhabi?
If you are looking to start your own business in Abu Dhabi I would say that patience is paramount, along with a good PRO. Keep in mind that when you think things are ready – there is always something that pops up and needs time and money to solve.
How did you come up with the idea to start your own company?
I have always liked the idea of having my own business. One day talking to my friend Lorena, I mentioned that I was thinking of doing something but wasn’t sure yet what. She then shared with me that she was also thinking of starting a business and she had in mind a maternity and baby carriers shop. She asked me if I would be interested in opening a shop with her. Our little project started in March 2014 and finally materialized last Sunday 15th of February when we opened our doors to our loved customers for the first time.
What challenges as a business owner have you had to overcome and how?
Every step to setting up a company in Abu Dhabi is full of challenges. You soon realize that somehow YOU end up doing the job of the person you have paid to do THAT job. I will tell you story that sounds funny now that we overcame it, but it was very frustrating when it happened. One of the last things we had to go through while setting up our company was to have electricity connected. Finally after several months of waiting for our commercial license, we thought we were all set to open our shop. We turned the power on and the lights came on in the unit next to us. How did they get the cabling wrong?…..I am still wondering!
What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
If I knew I couldn’t fail I would run for president of my country.
For more information about Yesika and Lorena’s business, check out Mamis on Facebook or stop by the shop in Al Seef Mall.