In first of this new series, we feature UAE's trailblazing femmepreneurs who are taking strides with their enterprising spirit and astute business sense.
It is a female owned small business from the USA with a range of 100% allergen-free, gluten-free, vegan baking mixes. Jill began baking at a young age with her Grandmother Lilly and has fond memories of baking by her side with her trusty KitchenAid Stand Mixer.
After gaining her Entrepreneurship major at the University of Miami, Jill encountered some food intolerances along the way that made baking trickier, and so after a dozen years of working in the food industry and training in pastry at L’Academie de Cuisine, Pastry Chef Jill decided to bring her passion for simple baking with pure, quality ingredients into the homes of others and came up with mixes that use all natural ingredients such as raw sugar, non-GMO aluminum-free baking powder and real dried vanilla beans, to name a few.
Today, Jill and her mother run all of their operations with the recipes based on many of Grandma Lilly’s. LillyBean by PastryBase are passionate about changing the notion that baking is difficult and time-consuming. Whatever your level of culinary skill, you can guarantee great results every time with LillyBean. The LillyBean by PastryBase mixes are currently available exclusively on Kibsons.com and soon in other well-known retailers in the UAE.
Hi Maintenance, the UAE’s newest, glamorous online fashion boutique was created by two career- driven best friends with a shared vision and a passion for fashion. Hi Maintenance was created to empower women and bring out the ‘Hi Maintenance’ in everyone!
Both British and living in Dubai, Hannah and Lisa observed that women all over the UAE were waiting significant amounts of time for their online orders to arrive, which were being shipped from all over the world. They also noticed a gap in the UAE market for stylish, yet affordable, high quality evening wear, which could be delivered to customers as quickly as next day, and just as easily returned.
Lisa and Hannah combined their entrepreneurial and business acumen with their love for fashion – and that’s when Hi Maintenance was born in June 2020. Having spent many years in the UAE, they understand women’s love for glamour and style, as well as the wide array of social activities and events in the UAE, which drives the constant need for that perfect outfit! Their goal is to provide customers with an enticing and exceptional online experience. The brand is constantly evolving and is gaining a fast following!
As a clinical psychologist for the past 13 years, Dr Saliha Afridi has spent 12 years working in the UAE and founded The Lighthouse Arabia in 2011, a community mental health and wellness clinic providing quality psychological and psychiatric care to children, adults, couples and families. Clinical psychology was not always the career path in which Dr Afridi first set her hopes. With her caring nature, love for reading and interest in understanding cultures, Dr Afridi graduated with an Undergraduate in Cultural Anthropology and Mass Communications from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Graduating with her masters and doctorate degree in clinical psychology from Arizona School of Professional Psychology, Dr Afridi presently specialises in men’s mental health, corporate wellbeing, parenting and child mental health and authentic happiness. Dr Afridi currently works solely with top performers in senior positions, such as MDs, GMs, and C-suite executives, to provide transformational counselling which allows her clients to go from good to great.
Currently sitting on the Dubai American Academy school local advisory board and on the advisory board for Carter Foundation, Dr Afridi has also worked with prominent companies and ministries such as The Executive Council, The National Program for Happiness and Well-being from the Happiness Ministry, many professional service firms and fortune 100 companies in her bid to dissolve mental health stigmatism and be at the forefront of the mental health movement within the UAE and the region. Although the UAE, specifically, has already seen much-needed reform in terms of mental health practices, Dr Afridi is hoping to further create opportunities for the residents of the country in terms of accessibility to mental health care.
As mental health conditions tend to carry shame and secrecy, Dr Afridi continues to drive forward change, challenging this perception to have it become just as ‘unloaded’ of a topic as speaking about physical illness. Dr Afridi’s vision is to make mental health practices more accessible through licensing and insurance reforms, changes within the education system to teach about mental health and emotional and mental wellbeing from a young age, taking a preventative approach to mental health rather than treatment based. Through her work with The Lighthouse Arabia as well as the community, Dr Afridi is committed to leading and being at the center of the continued positive mental health changes to be seen in the region.
Angelica, otherwise known as the Nanny Whisperer, is a qualified childcare specialist from the UK, with more than 13 years’ experience. She set up CloudNine Kids 3 years ago since living in Dubai and witnessing first-hand a real gap in the market. Although there were a number of at-home childcare facilities in the market, Angelica realised that common issues between nanny and employer such as language barriers, communication breakdowns and skill expectations were not being tackled, creating unnecessary issues and unhappiness for both parties. For this reason, Angelica decided to create a service that focused on the importance of supporting and equipping nannies and childcare providers with the right skills-based training to make a difference in family homes.
Angelica uses her personal expertise and practices to create a childcare agency that goes beyond the standard. With her passion for training, Angelica developed the UAE’s first childcare program accredited by Highfield (UK) specifically for the care of young children at home and used this accreditation as the foundation for CloudNine Kids. The CloudNine Kids recruitment model created by Angelica enables the company to hire the best childcare professionals and nannies that become trained and certified through her program.
Rym Yessad is a French entrepreneur and the founder of the startup concept Curlshops.com, an e-shop specialising in natural haircare products and hair accessories that are tailored for curly, wavy and kinky hair.
As a young girl with curly hair, growing up in France in the 90’s was challenging. Her hair was a constant reminder of the difficulties being an immigrant in a European country. Rym resorted to conforming to societal pressures and wore her hair straight during her teenage years. It was only until she was in her twenties that she mustered up the confidence and bravery to start wearing her hair curly and part ways with the hot tools and chemical treatments. Rym learnt to embrace and accept her natural curly hair and hasn’t looked back since.
The importance of understanding labels and ingredients for your hair and your skin came from her years of experience in the beauty industry. Rym’s previous experience in global beauty companies such as L’Oréal and Sephora are more expertise and skill she has in her arsenal. Rym fought against the stereotype of curly hair being “unprofessional” and that’s where the idea for Curlshops.com was born.
Rym started Curlshops.com with the mission of helping all curly haired women to gain their confidence back, respect their own natural beauty and to never be ashamed of their curls and ultimately wear them with pride. As a mother of twin girls with naturally curly hair, Rym found it extremely crucial to teach her girls to embrace their natural beauty at a young age and adopt this philosophy as a new way of life.
The e-shop offers a wide range of naturally based products from the United States, France, United Kingdom and Italy to name a few. Curlshops.com also boasts its own range of accessories, with affordable prices, not to mention the website includes a blog section to help women reconnect with their beauty and start their natural journey, one step at a time.