Welcome to the weekly Emirates Woman series ‘How I got my job as…’ where we speak to some incredible entrepreneurs and businesswomen both based in the UAE and globally to find out about their career paths that led them to where they are now; what their daily routines look like; the advice they’d give to those starting out; and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome.

This week, we sat down with Carol Sukkar, the founder of Home & Soul, a modern and minimalistic interior brand based here in Dubai. Noticing a gap in the interior space in the region, Carol designed to launch Home & Soul in 2015 aiming to provide quality pieces at reasonable prices which are also “ethically produced and sourced from manufacturers who were implementing sustainable practices”.

She discusses with us the challenges she faced as a small business during the pandemic and her plans to expand the brand in 2022.

What was your favourite subject at school?

Math is something I’m naturally good at, I understood formulas easily and I used to enjoy helping my friends out when they struggled to understand in class

What was your first job?

I worked at Matrox Electronics in Montreal Canada as a sales assistant.

What eventually brought you to Dubai?

My eagerness to work with a multinational, I got a job with Cisco Electronics at 25 years old in marketing and sales.

What inspired you to go into the interiors space?

In 2013 my dad closed his store in Jordan where I used to assist him and my mum advised me to open my own store. She suggested I took a trip to Paris where I visited Maison et Objet and fell in love with the idea of owning my own interior store.

What’s the story behind launching your own brand Home & Soul here in Dubai?

I felt there was a need for high quality, reasonably priced furniture and accessories with a bohemian vibe that had been ethically produced and sourced from manufacturers who were implementing sustainable practices.

What are the key elements of your role?

Where do I start…. I’m involved in every single part of the business! From curating and sourcing new furniture with our designer, to working with the finance team, and even assisting clients directly, both in-store and virtually.

Talk us through your daily routine.

I wake up and have breakfast with my children, then I work out before having coffee with my husband. Then I go to the store, check my emails, talk to my team and discuss any customer related inquiries. I spend the day assisting clients when they walk in the store, answering customer calls and taking care of any business that needs to be completed that day. I end my day with a nice family dinner and cuddles with my kids! I’m an early to bed, early to rise person, so I’m usually asleep by 9!

What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?

Keep going no matter what, believe in yourself and your vision, and focus only on what you can control.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

Persistence and determination never give up.

And what is the worst?

You need to shut down during COVID-19! Instead, I looked at how I could make my business practices and procedures ‘covid safe’. We re-vamped our e-commerce platform and grew online orders during this difficult period.

What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

Understaffing during 2020 with homeschooling, working, assisting clients, ordering new pieces and not knowing what 2020 and 2021 held for us! It was such an uncertain time for a business owner and mother.

What are your goals for the rest of 2021 & 2022?

Some exciting expansion plans for Home and Soul, stay tuned for more details!

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Images: Supplied