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.

NACRE Living Interiors was founded by well-known industry names, Margarita Salionova and Surat Dzhelilova. The founders make for an exciting and influential example of interior design talent, with the launch of their first Dubai location now open on promenade level in Aurora Tower, Dubai Marina.

In the beginning they started to work on fit outs for commercial spaces and luxury hotels and residential developments, an area of the business they will grow over the coming years.

Some of the ultra-premium brands to be found in the stunning NACRE showroom space include Longhi, Raynaud, Ercuis, CTO Lighting, Vaughan Designs, Bella Figura, Giobagnara, Pinetti, Dedar, Sahrai and Alivar,
To understand more, Emirates Woman sat down with these entrepreneurs to find out more about her journey and what led her to launch her own beauty brand.

What was your favourite subject at school?

SD: Mine was geography because I got excellent marks – the teacher loved me for my beautiful eyes.
MS: Probably like everyone else at school, and unrelated to my choice of career, my favourite subject was physical education.

What was your first job?

MS: I worked as an accountant at my father’s place of work. Again, pretty unrelated to my current line of entrepreneurial work – there’s a pattern here. That said, practice in accounting gave me a good foundation for understanding the importance of budgeting which is crucial for any successful entrepreneur.
SD: I went to medical school, so my first job once I left university was an assistant plastic surgeon. It was a really high pressure and a role that was full of responsibility, but ultimately medicine turned out not to be my true passion point.

What brought you to Dubai?

SD: I wanted to move to Dubai for a long time before I made the change, as I just didn’t know where to begin. The sanctions in relation to my field probably worked as a catalyst for relocation, but I wouldn’t dream of changing it. Dubai is an incredible city.

MD: The gap in the market for what we offer, as I don’t think there are many offerings that are comparable to NACRE, and I believe we are meeting a unique demand in the market. But also, on a more personal level, residents and professionals in Dubai are known to create and inspire beauty, and I am excited to now be able to call Dubai home and become a part of it all within the interior design space.

What inspired you to enter the interiors space?

MS: From a really young age, probably around fourteen, I had a burning desire to do what I do today. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mindset, so this combined with a love for the home and interiors, really was a driving force from the outset. Throughout study at university I found myself, probably at the irritation of others, having a say in both my own living accommodation space and those of friends!

SD: For me, food tastes better on a pretty plate, and I sleep more soundly in a beautiful bed. Even if throughout the day, things don’t quite go to plan, having a comforting and inspiring home to return to that is your own space makes all the difference. I went into interiors to change people’s lives and to bring residents happiness.

NACRE Founders

Talk us through the concept of NACRE?

MS: The NACRE project is a one-of-a-kind platform in the UAE that allows clientele to create a fully fledged harmonious interior and exterior of the home. At NACRE you can find vintage, designer and exclusive tableware, furniture, textiles, home accessories, modern art, and much more.

SD: NACRE is a place where we want to create history – not only do we sell art, furniture and interior items, we sell emotions and nostalgia. I want every moment and memory associated with us to be remembered with a smile. It’s important for Margo and I to maintain good relations with our clients; I can’t believe we’ve only been open one month, and we are already so lucky to have a family that is made up of our amazing team, incredible clients, partners and friends who strongly support us. I have been in the sector for four years now, and all of my close friends today started as my clients. One of them helped me to choose a clinic for the birth of my daughter, another gave me my baby’s first stroller – there have been many moments like this that I still cherish.

What are the key elements of your role?

MS: I take the lead in more of the design element than Surat, the organisational role has fallen onto her shoulders! But in general, our roles intersect, no day is the same and we try to mutually distribute responsibilities.
SD: I’m more of the organiser, and I’m a strict director at that. Margarita is lead in design. We learn from each other every day.

Talk us through your daily routine.

SD: I wake up early in the morning and I commit to intense sports of some kind. Next, I open my diary and look at my endless to-do list, and I follow it rigidly to ensure I meet every deadline. I spend time with my daughter, we play and we go together to nursery. Every day brings something new to our world, and we are never bored.

MS: Every day is challenging, but interesting. I have a young son which I brought into the world at the age of 24, so I have to combine the role of a woman who works (hard) and the role of mother and wife. Each member of my family has their own daily routine. In the morning everyone goes off to work, and in the evening we meet for dinner, we share conversations, or go an evening walk along Dubai’s beautiful marina. I spend pretty much every weekend with family and friends.

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

SD : Always look ahead. Listen and hear yourself, sometimes it’s your inner voice trying to speak to you. Allow yourself to take risks If you really want it, you will achieve it.

MS: Live for the smaller moments to be found in the everyday, be present and feel and experience all human emotions – embrace the positive with the not so positive. It’s all part of life’s rich tapestry. We all seek perfection, but I believe that if we embrace change we can determine our individual destiny. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, but we can change the future by living in the moment and by chasing our dreams. Dubai is the perfect city to give yourself a try.


What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

MS: The best advice I received is to support my family and to keep the faith in my own abilities. No one has lived in your shoes or has had the exact same life experiences, and therefore only you can advise what is best for you and your unit.

SD: When you reach a new peak, dont be afraid to be at the bottom of the next path.

And what is the worst?

MS: It’s not so much advice but more the line of thinking that keeps you playing it safe. Living in fear and taking no risks in life will guarantee you fail by default, because you put your happiness at risk, so you may as well go for it, someone has to!

SD: Don’t take that risk!

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

MS: Launching in Dubai; it was thoroughly challenging due to tight deadlines ahead of opening. I’d imagine the entire editorial space of Emirates Woman wouldn’t be enough to give a summary of the series of events that were endured. That said, we made it, we kept plugging away and we are super proud of where we are today. We hope to see more great success to come, now we are through the toughest phase.
SD: Finishing the renovation in our Dubai Marina showroom, which lasted 7 months rather than 2 months.

What’s your future plans for the brand?

MS: Our plans are grandiose. We have a strong desire to work with some of Dubai’s largest hotel groups, the best interior designers, and of course private residential spaces as well as real estate developers. Watch this space.

SD: We have big plans. God laughs at us when we talk about our plans, so I always try to do everything in silence.

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