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 fashion entrepreneur Nadine Merabi, who launched her namesake ready-to-wear fashion label, that was launched with her business partner, Blue Wilson and has now grown with 90 employees in the last year.

Nadine Merabi Resort jumpsuit

Her journey began one evening by watching YouTube videos on learning how to sew, where she then began building her label from scratch. By creating affordable luxury pieces, such as feather-trimmed co-ords and delicate lace jumpsuits, the brand has grown to reach red carpets, special occasions and other notable events.

By growing her eponymous fashion label in a short period of time, the pieces have already been worn by celebrities such as Claire Rose, Sofia Vergara, Becky Hill and more. The brand later made its mark at various fashion weeks around the world in London, Milan and New York.

Having recently launched the brand’s first ever Resort Collection, the pieces showcase new seasonal categories including swimwear and vacation-inspired silhouettes, while maintaining the signature MERABI glam.

To delve more into her journey as an entrepreneur, Emirates Woman sat down with Merabi to understand how it all began.

What was your favourite subject at school?

I have always been very sporty, hence I’d say that I would give the best of me at PE! I tried many sports and ended up playing hockey. I do remember feeling very drawn to textiles and drawing, but nothing that I took seriously as a potential career. My love of fashion and creation unfolded later on in life.

What was your first job?

I played professional field hockey for 10 years! The field is where I really learned the teamwork and empowerment mentality.

What brought you to Dubai?

As an international business and, alike every brand, there are certain cultures, countries where your brand is better known. I am British-Lebanese and I am very attached to my origins. I am looking forward to doing more in the Middle East, and Dubai is currently very high in our list of cities where we’d like to be more frequently – we have noticed how much MERABI is loved.


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A post shared by NADINE MERABI (@nadinemerabi)


What inspired you to enter the fashion space and launch Nadine Merabi?

A lack of great statement pieces, that would not compromise on quality, but not with an unattainable price point is what inspired me to watch that YouTube video on how to start sewing that evening. Sometimes I stop and think about that very specific moment and I must say it feels a bit unreal that, in a way, it only took a YouTube video to give me the strength and courage to take on this journey.

Talk us through the concept of the brand?

MERABI is all about the wow factor and statement pieces. It all relates to the concept of empowerment and feeling like your best, most confident self when you wear the pieces. MERABI tries to inspire and create confidence from within through our pieces.

What are the key elements of your role?

Being a creative director means to translate what I have in my mind in the form of designs and eventually full collections that have a theme, but stay true to the MERABI DNA. So I’d say that the key elements of my role is to have a vision, come up with ideas and add a bit of dare to it all.

Talk us through your daily routine.

No two days are the same for me. I get up and take time to go for a run or work out at the gym. Then, it’s usually office time, which can entail working with the product teams; designing new styles, creating patterns, customising our fabrics or with our creative team for our next campaign production. Then I go back home to my husband and kids, have dinner together, play a bit, watch something on TV and then it’s bedtime!

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

It’s very easy to say it but hard to fully believe in it – just three simple words: never give up (no matter what / who, I should add).

Tell us more about your pieces.

Our pieces are aimed at making the wearer feel special and to make a statement. They are made with the utmost care and by using fabrics that are sophisticated but feel comfortable to wear. I would never make something that I wouldn’t wear, that I wouldn’t feel great in, and that’s how I want others to feel!

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

My Co-Founder, Blue Wilson, told me that I should design something Instagrammable that people will stop to look at while they’re scrolling. I’ve really taken that advice and it was almost a precursor into how the business grew so much through Instagram.

And what is the worst?

I am sure someone has heard at least once in their life something along the lines of “Why are you bothering doing this” or “This is way too difficult for you to achieve”. I didn’t and will never listen to these sayings.

Nadine Merabi resort

What’s the biggest challenge you have had to overcome?

Growing the business globally is a constant challenge. We grew quickly in a very short period of time. We had to adapt quickly by moving to a bigger warehouse and growing the team from 30 -100 in 12 months. But I think the biggest challenge, like for many brands, must have been the pandemic, but somehow we ended up turning the negative into a positive by releasing our luxurious Darcie pyjamas, which changed everything for us and we not only survived, but grew.

What’s your future for the brand?

We’re expanding more to the US and focusing quite a bit there. Last February we had a presentation in New York during NYFW and a press event in Los Angeles in May. We are really focused on international expansion and honing in on where we see organic interest in the brand. We are also catering to the Middle Eastern market in more detail, as well as exploring new cities.

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