Welcome to the Emirates Woman weekly 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 chat with Deena Alawaid, a top hairstylist and founder of Dubai-based hair salon Collective. As the name of the salon would suggest, Deena created it for its sole purpose to become a hub for fellow hairstylists to be a “place where like-minded, hard-working, career-driven and motivated creators could come together and share their passion with the world”.

Having worked with some of the biggest names in fashion and beauty including Bella Hadid, Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Huda Kattan, Karen Wazen and more, Deena began to notice there is a lack of representation for Middle Eastern women in the industry.

“I want Middle Eastern people, especially women, to have someone to look up to in this industry and believe they can achieve it too,” the Canada-born hairstylist said of her goals for the salon.

Emirates Woman sat down with Deena to find out more about her career and the story behind Collective.

Collective Salon Al Quoz

What was your favourite subject at school?

I used to love law class. It was probably one of the only classes I looked forward to every week.

What was your first job?

I worked in retail back in my hometown of Halifax, NS.

What eventually brought you to Dubai?

I had just started my career in the hair industry and I felt an urge to chase big goals in a bigger city but also wanted to feel closer to my roots as I had always lived away from the Middle East.

Can you talk us through the inspiration behind Collective?

I have been in Dubai for eight years now and I always felt the industry was very male-dominated and competitive. No one really wanted to see individuals grow outside of their business and I really wanted to change that dynamic. I wanted like-minded individuals to come together, uplift each other and succeed both as individuals and as a team.

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

I guess my drive to keep growing. Believe it or not, I always felt the need to accept more jobs than my current employer had been offering. I wanted to do it all. And I realized that if I was my own boss then no one could stop me from doing just that.

What are the key elements of your role?

I am actively looking for like-minded hairdressers who want to do it all. I guess my role is bringing them together and giving them endless opportunities. I love seeing women uplift other women and helping them grow.

Talk us through your daily routine.

It’s never the same. I’m either on set, in the salon – or both. The only constant is that it’s busy but fun!

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

Don’t let rejection stop you from moving forward. I think anyone who is successful in life has had to hear a lot of “no’s” before any “yes”.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

Know your worth and always be professional in any situation.

Collective Salon Al Quoz (1)

And what is the worst?

I don’t think I’ve ever received bad advice but I do think the worst thing someone can believe is that they know everything within their field. You have to always keep learning no matter how much you’ve grown.

What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

I became quite in demand in this region at a very young age. It was very challenging, especially as a woman. I had to overcome the fear of thinking I didn’t deserve my success because of my age.

What are the future plans of your brand?

I would love to introduce a line of products which I find are lacking in our industry. And I would love to see every stylist on my team build up a name for themselves as individuals in this industry.

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Images: Supplied