Here's yet another line-up of enterprising Dubai females who are making a mark with their vision, grit and determination.
As Head of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) in the Middle East, Fazeela has responsibility for leading the operations in 11 countries. Representing more than 20,000 students, affiliates and members across the region, who work in all sectors and all levels of business across the Middle East.
Fazeela is responsible for growing the understanding of the value that professionally qualified ACCA accountants bring to businesses and economies in the region. Managing and building relationships with regulators, business leaders and strategic partners she works with the network of members to influence debate on key issues that impact the ongoing economic development of the region. Fazeela also works with educational institutions and government bodies to encourage new generations to undertake a career in accountancy and finance.
Fazeela is an FCCA member since 2004 and has over 15 years of experience in the field of accounting and finance. Fazeela has been the Head of Education for ACCA in the Middle East for the past 4 years and she previously was a Senior Manager at PwC Academy in Dubai. Prior to moving to the Emirates Fazeela managed and owned an accounting practice in the UK providing professional financial services to a variety of clients who were private individuals, small businesses and large enterprises.
Fazeela studied her Bachelor’s degree from University of Birmingham and her MBA from University of Strathclyde.
ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.
Elinor Davies-Farn is a Welsh entrepreneur, professional speaker and founder of Olew Hair, an award-winning haircare brand that specializes in natural, vegan and cruelty-free products specifically designed for curly hair.
Elinor set up the brand in 2018 with just £100 from her kitchen table in the creative hub of Leyton, East London after being inspired by “The $100 Start-up” by Chris Guillebeau. All products are made in the UK and Elinor was recently named as a leading 2020 “30 under 30” female entrepreneur.
After years of struggling to find the right products for her own Curly Hair and spending hours trying to strengthen her locks to conform to societies ideals of beauty, Elinor had a revelation and decided to ditch her hair straighteners and turn her kitchen into a test centre for the perfect haircare solution!
She spent hours in her kitchen mixing different oils and treatments and did extensive research into the haircare market, where she learned about the harmful chemicals and preservatives that are a mainstay of many of the products available on the market and that’s when Olew was born. Olew is the Welsh word for oil, paying homage to Elinor’s Welsh roots and to one of the main ingredients in her products. Olew has become the latest “Curlpreneur” to capture the curly hair market and during lockdown in 2020 the brand saw a spike in the sales of its entire collection. This was the result of many curly- haired consumers embracing their natural hair during the pandemic and searching for products that cater to their hair type. Olew’s Curl Cream has become one of the most popular products in the range, selling 2 every 30 seconds with a 120% increase in sales and the brand managing to triple its turnover in the same year.
In 2021 Elinor decided to bring Olew to the UAE/Gulf region as she received so much organic support and loyalty from the community in this region. She felt that customers deserved a speedier purchase process, i.e., same day dispatch or even better, being able to go into a physical store and test the products and purchase rather than waiting sometimes a month to receive their products.
Elinor is on a mission to encourage other ladies to embrace and love their natural hair and to always wear it with confidence.
Natasha Inman moved to Dubai in early 2020 with big dreams. An avid mental health advocate, and a chartered accountant by profession, Natasha never had ‘starting a business’ as part of her five-year plan. The pandemic lockdown changed that. It was during this time that she embraced her passion for making a difference. A year later, in May 2021, State of REM was born.
It was during the peak months of the pandemic that Natasha noticed a gap in the market for sustainable, ethical and versatile products that aided mental health and wellness. Inspired by the need, she built a sustainable business model that materialized into State of REM.
State of REM is all about investing in yourself. It is a luxury lifestyle brand that offers comfortable and versatile pieces for all-day, everyday use.
“We offer investment, sustainable loungewear pieces to the sophisticated, soulful, savage modern day woman, looking for products which not only benefit her skin and hair, but also make her look like her radiant, worthy beautiful-self, from dusk till dawn, season to season,” says Natasha.
State of REM bridges the gap between luxury and comfort, and caters to women who invest in themselves to feel good, to have a good night’s sleep, and feel comfortably stylish without effort. State of REM aims to create the perfect environment for a perfect day through the use of silk loungewear and accessories in fashionable styles that can be used during sleep, for coffees on the balcony, and for quick zoom calls.
Designed and manufactured in the UAE, State of REM uses only 100% ethically-sourced silk known for its benefits on hair, skin, and quality of sleep. State of REM first launched with the Gratitude collection: loungewear and accessories in three timeless colours. The brand also offers the option of personalizing loungewear and accessories to make it even more special.
Koala Picks launched in October 2019, promoting healthy lifestyle habits for families. Their products range from healthy sweet and savoury snacks, which can be purchased in single boxes or as part of a subscription service, and delicious breakfast and baking items which can be purchased on their own. The concept was founded by Aya Assaf and Omnia Abdelhalim who are best friends, and the idea of Koala Picks came up almost 2 years ago when Aya’s eldest son who was 4 at the time started to ask for unhealthy snacks such as cookies, candy, muffins, etc. As parents, Aya was very conscious of what kids eat and we felt that there weren’t enough healthy snack options in the market. So, Aya and Omnia decided to take matters into their own hands and build a brand that offers healthy snacks for kids and parents. Their promise to customers is no refined sugar, no preservatives and no artificial ingredients, only natural ones. All Koala Picks recipes are made from scratch in-house by the talented team in their licensed kitchen, with all items approved by a certified nutritionist.
Koala Picks started off as an e-commerce business by selling only through the website, however they started branching out and reaching out to different retailers to grow their product distribution. Koala Picks deliver across all of the Emirates and you can also purchase Koala Picks items from Café Confetti, Cheeky Monkeys, Fun City, Fun Block, Velocity Trampoline Park, Farm Box app and Depachika Food Hall in Nakheel Mall. In Abu Dhabi you can find Koala Picks snacks in Abu Dhabi Coop Plaza 30 and SPAR supermarkets in Khalifa City, Khalidiya and Shamkha. They operated from a small shop in JLT over the past year and a half. To scale up operations and automate a lot of the manual work the team has to do, they have decided to move to a bigger facility in Dubai Investment Park. They will start production from the new facility this July. Koala Picks would like to expand operations in the UAE first and then move to adjacent markets in the GCC and North Africa region.
Aya is an ex-corporate with a background in marketing. Aya leads product development and operations for Koala Picks and is also a proud full-time crafty mom.
Omnia is a super organized, social butterfly with an advertising background and a passion for copywriting. She manages brand communication, social media and marketing for Koala Picks.
Monica Malhotra is a passionate entrepreneur always looking for ways to create something with a positive impact. This passion has led her to start-up businesses in education and more recently in online publishing.
With an educational background in finance, Monica is an Economics and Accounting B.A. graduate from Claremont McKenna College and a qualified Certified Public Accountant (CPA). She also has an MBA from the Stern School of Business (NYU) in Finance and Digital Economy.
Before launching The Gaggler, she was a generalist with industries ranging from management consulting and pharmaceuticals to real estate and investment banking on her resumé. Her diverse 25-year career has seen her live in the US, the UK and the UAE so far.
In 2009, Monica’s passionate urge to create something different in the Early Years Education space brought her back to Dubai, the city she left as a high school graduate. Monica kickstarted her entrepreneurial journey by bringing the New York-based edutainment franchise, Kidville, to Dubai in 2010. Two years later, she transformed the Kidville edutainment playbook into a comprehensive education-based nursery curriculum and attained certification from the Dubai Ministry of Education.
After exiting the education business, she noticed a gap in the market. A voracious reader of pop culture and avid researcher, she noticed there was a disconnect between the act of consuming magazine content, including advertisements, and acting upon purchase behaviour instigated by that content. And that’s when the initial concept of The Gaggler was born.
The Gaggler is an online publishing platform that provides regionally relevant content, with diverse points of view, and authentic storytelling. The platform features clickable actions for the viewer to deep dive into the topic or to efficiently make purchase decisions after reading product reviews, expert advice, or life hacks on its website. The Gaggler aims to enrich women’s thoughts, offer diverse perspectives and ideas, and create awareness about insightful topics specific to women.