Having dreams and pursuing them is a lesson we learn with Muna Saad Al-Sulaiti, the designer and founder of fashion line, Muna Saad.
“Trust yourself and start, don’t wait too long, just jump in so you can learn from any mistakes.” – Muna Saad Al-Sulaiti
OHLALA – Tell us a bit about yourself and how you reached the position you are in today.
Muna Saad Al-Sulaiti – My name is Muna Saad Al-Sulaiti, I’m Qatari and an International Relations Affairs graduate from the Institut Universitaire de Technologie in France and I work in the oil and gas field. During my stay in France, I developed my interest in fashion. I understood how elegance and how a person wears clothes could be very interesting in terms of lifestyle creating a strong impact. I became inspired to create my own line, Muna Saad, with my own touch, crossing cultures through my designs and my identity. I have worked on myself taking courses in fashion and pattern making so I can understand the construction of garments and pieces. I love and appreciate art and am still working on developing my skills.
OHLALA – How was the path to arrive here?
MAS – The path was quite harsh as I was depending fully on myself and my own decisions. I have always tried to learn and to search for the right sources and that was a big effort and huge risk as I lost resources by learning along the way. I will always appreciate my family and friends’ support during those times.
OHLALA – What have you achieved that makes you the proudest in your career?
MAS – A lot of skills that I didn’t even imagine I could learn or master one day. I have established my own brand that has a deep and very honest identity talking from my personal experiences. Thank God it is doing well, and I am so grateful that I have started to be recognised by westerners who are interested to work with me.
OHLALA – What do you think was the biggest challenge you had to face?
MAS – The biggest challenge was my lack of real knowledge and how I was so fast in taking wrong decisions that cost me a lot of effort and money. The lack of trust can be a challenge, it’s always hard to prove to people that you deserve a chance and that you are talented and will give it your all. Also, the fear of rejection and failure was always the monster that chased me while I was building my name.
OHLALA – How do you feel about having conquered so much as a woman? Is there any woman in your field or from a different area that served as an inspiration to you?
MAS – Actually my brand is built on this specific identity – women’s empowerment. I’ve created my own brand slogan which is ‘I’m influential, I’m a woman’ and that is the message I deliver to every woman and girl who associates with my brand – that you are strong and you can always be an influence in different ways and aspects of life. Oprah is one of the strongest influences that I know and, from the Arab world, the Egyptian writer Nawal Al Saadawi who is a strong feminist.
OHLALA – What’s your motto in life?
MAS – I’m influential, I’m a woman. Basically, I can do it if I believe in it.
OHLALA – How do you balance your personal life and work?
MAS – Let’s start by saying there is no perfect balance between work and personal life. You need to be very careful with organising your time. I’m the kind of person that always works hard on myself to be in a good mood and that can affect my creativity very strongly. I always try to pick days when I can organise myself away from my day job or take some leave days so I can work on my creativity and personal brand. I can’t live without art and creativity, so this a great motive for me to achieve balance and even helps push me in my day job.
OHLALA – What do you do that allows you to disconnect from work?
MAS – Leaving the work place or getting away from the space is the best option for me. I like to take a drive and go to a very calm relaxing place, put my favourite music on, get good coffee and just disconnect. Music is always a very strong part of my life; it heals whenever times feel stressful.
OHLALA – What piece of advice do you give to young ladies out there starting their careers?
MAS – Be original with ideas. Take your time in thinking of what you really like to do because if you don’t enjoy it, you will be stuck and hating it in time. Ask the right people for advice about your decisions. Study the situation and collect as much information as possible before taking further steps. Seek help and lower your ego because you will always need support from the right people. Trust yourself and start, don’t wait too long, just jump in so you can learn from any mistakes that you didn’t cover in your research phase. Mistakes are the best teachers.