Do your best or don’t do it, says Sara Al Madani

Rupkatha Bhowmick

Emirati serial entrepreneur, investor and a mother, Sara Al Madani also sits on different boards like the UAE Ministry of Economy’s SME Council and Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The brain behind diverse businesses – ranging from fashion, F&B to beauty, consulting and technology – she believes in meeting every commitment with full potential, ethically and efficiently. “After committing to something, I feel, it’s wrong to not give your best.”

What’s intriguing is how she manages to handle all her endeavours. “It really is about the mindset and learning to use time efficiently. If and when the right idea strikes, I have the energy, drive and passion to take on more,” she says.

And as a successful woman entrepreneur she believes “women need inspiration not empowerment.”

Do women tend to try harder, than men, to be successful?

Yes, they do because they feel the need to prove their ability and success every step of the way. That’s how the society is designed. Change takes a while to take effect, because it’s a change of mindset. Before being categorised as male or female, we are human beings and shouldn’t have to prove our worth to anyone. But is it purely a man’s fault that women have to try harder to prove their success? I guess not, because typically it is the women who tend to condition young girls to live and dream in a certain way. Young girls are taught to look upon men as dependent figures, not equals. However, it’s never too late to bring about change; and it starts with us. For example, my husband is an entrepreneur and investor and we both understand each other’s lifestyle as hustlers. We both help each other to achieve our dreams. We teach our son to be kind and human to everyone, irrespective of gender, religion and so on.

Is it difficult to be a working mother?

I actually went back to work within a week after delivering my son. And he inspired me to launch more businesses, because I want to secure his future. He didn’t curb my growth. It is possible for women to start a family and still pursue their dreams.

How are you changing perceptions about GCC women, especially entrepreneurs, being privileged?

I hope I am changing perceptions about GCC women! If I am able to do so, it is through my sense of purpose in everything I do and hard work. I am not from a business family, but today I own many businesses, not only in the UAE or the region but globally. I started on my own without any funding or support. And there wasn’t any privilege in my first business – Rouge Couture, now rebranded to Sara Al Madani Fashion Design – landing up in bankruptcy and losing everything I had and start again.

What did your worst adversity teach you?

My worst adversity – a nightmare actually – taught me that if we are really willing, we can change any situation. I lived through bankruptcy and managed to get up and pull myself together and launch several businesses thereafter. That failure taught me a huge lesson – that if we want, we can learn from every mistake and move ahead without becoming bitter. Even after that failed partnership, I still trusted partners and built more relationships, but chose them well.

Do you ever want to go back to the past and do something different?

That’s an absolute no for me. I don’t believe in regrets. ‘What if’ will not pay my bills nor change the course of my life. It will only mentally drain me, thinking about the past that’s already gone. What I look forward to is ’tomorrow; waking up every single day wanting to be a better human being than I was yesterday – by being kind, supportive and non-judgmental.