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 Tamara Elena, founder of Ella Rose Jewels. With a passion for design, she started a jewellery brand that embodied perfectionism through every realm. “Ella Rose Jewels was made with love, by women for women. I took inspiration from my surroundings, and my love for beautiful and delicate things,” the designer explains.
Emirates Woman sat down with the brand’s founder to learn about her career path and how she’s converted her passion into a full-time business.
What was your favourite subject at school?
Art, dance & Biology. I’ve always been a very creative person from a young age and I got this from my mother. I was very quiet and shy as a child, and art and dance were ways to express myself. I practised ballet for 12 years and finished in second place in the Dutch championships. My days would consist of going to school and training after, I’m very grateful for these years, they taught me strong discipline. I finished high school and continued my studies. I studied fashion design and international Business in Rotterdam.
What was your first job?
I’ve had many jobs while studying. When I was studying fashion design, I worked at Mango on the weekends. I loved fashion from a very young age, and I enjoyed seeing all the latest drops in the store.
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What brought you to Dubai?
I used to come to Dubai for holidays in the winter. My father is Dutch and my mother is Lebanese. I was born and raised in the Netherlands. In my home country, its very cold in the winter so Dubai was the perfect getaway for a sunny winter destination. From the first time I came to Dubai, I fell in love with the city – with its culture, lifestyle and safety. I have been living here for nine years now and it has become home. I met my husband here, got married here and now have 2 beautiful children. I have launched Ella Rose Jewels here and I can truly say I’m living the Emirati dream; there is no place where I would rather be.
What inspired you to enter the jewellery space?
After I finished International Business Studies, I started working in a bank in the Netherlands and I felt so out of place – it was corporate and there was no way to express my creativity. I started searching around and got a job at one of the well-known jewellery brands in the Netherlands, working as an export manager. When I started working there the brand was already very big in the Netherlands and Belgium. My job was to expand the business worldwide. I exhibited every year at the Famous Basel world in Switzerland, JCK Las Vegas, and many more. Within two years I had expanded the business to 22 countries worldwide. It has been the most fun and best work experience I could ever have in the jewellery business. I was working with the best teams worldwide and it taught me all the ins and outs of the business. I always knew that one day I would be doing the same for my own company. I feel very blessed to be able to do what I love and to turn my passion for jewellery into a successful business.
Talk us through the inspiration for your pieces.
Ella Rose Jewels was made with love, by women for women. I took inspiration from my surroundings and my love for beautiful and delicate things. I get inspired by the women in my life; daughter, mother, sister, grandma and friends.
My daughter Ella Rose has been the biggest inspiration for the brand, that’s why I named it after her. She is very girly, delicate and sweet; it’s everything my brand stands for. I feel very grateful to be able to do this for her – I hope she will love it as much as I do when she grows up. I wear jewellery that has been passed on from my great-grandmother to me, worn by my grandmother, by my mother and now me, and I will pass it on to my daughter, Ella Rose. That is what I wish for everyone who gets a piece from Ella Rose Jewels, to pass it on with love, for generations to come. A precious gift to last for a lifetime. All the collections are classic and timeless with an affordable, yet high-quality offering. All pieces are solid 18k gold and Diamonds and come with beautiful packaging and a certificate – perfect for gifting.
What are the key elements of your role?
I’m working all around as most entrepreneurs do, but my main roles are in design and branding. I am a real perfectionist, and the finishing and details are very important to me, which definitely reflects in my pieces.
Talk us through your daily routine.
My kids wake me up every morning, very early. I make sure they are ready for school and then my workday starts. I work when my kids are at school and always try to be back once they come back from school to spend quality time with them, and then will work again in the evenings after the kids go to sleep. I’m an efficient worker and get a lot done in a day. I work with to-do lists and plan the week accordingly. Every day is different. One day I can be in the workshop designing, other days I’m in the office or out for meetings, the work is never ending as a business owner, but I always make sure to have a healthy balance between family, friends and work. I love going out for dinner and making the most of the amazing Dubai culinary scene. My favourite places are Clap and Iris (where I met my husband) – and I’m also a recent fan of Sushi Samba.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?
Do not let anyone discourage you and never give up on your dreams. It took me 18 years of work experience to get where I am today. Work hard, work with honesty and integrity; don’t copy and stay true to yourself. Everyone is unique and that’s where your power lies. When you are building something from your own unique self, you will be successful. It’s also very important to have realistic goals and expectations – nothing good in life comes easy. It takes time, discipline, and lots of hard work to achieve your goals. Be consistent – consistency is key.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
To make a financial plan before starting any business. I sat with a financial advisor and made a three-year financial plan. A business plan is nothing without a realistic financial plan; it’s the best guide to get you through the first years of your business.
And what is the worst?
To look at what others are doing in the business and follow the same trends. If you’re going to do the same as what others are doing, then what is going to make you unique and stand out from the others?
What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
The startup was the hardest from the website, to accounting, to finding an office space, to making a team, to getting all the licenses and paperwork in place, and most importantly – getting the first collection and all the images ready! It’s not easy and is a lot of responsibility but that’s what needs to be done to get started to achieve your goals and dreams.
What are the future plans for your brand?
I’m super excited about the future of Ella Rose Jewels. My future plans are to expand the team and become a well-known trusted online jeweller for the middle eastern market. We are also planning to open in-shop pop-ups soon. I also aim to create more awareness for the Free a Girl foundation we support. Free a Girl strives for a world without the sexual exploitation of children. They fight hard to rescue minor girls, give back their freedom and support survivors with medical and psychosocial support to process their traumas and prevent re-victimisation. They do everything they can to make sure their exploiters are brought to justice, fighting against impunity and for due process by supporting survivors with legal aid and tools to start their own fight. So far, Free a Girl has rescued more than 6.000 girls and they will stop at nothing to continue fighting. As a mother of two, I feel the responsibility to support Free A Girl, A foundation that touches my heart. Every child should grow up in a safe and loving environment.
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