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 Natalia Leanca, founder of You Baby Studio, a concept that first started 5 years ago and has now turned into a community and brand that is well-known across the emirate and UAE.

Emirates Woman sat down with Natalia to discuss the ins and outs of the concept, the growth of You Baby Studio and what’s next for her.

What was your favourite subject at school?

My favourite subject at school was art classes. I loved these classes because they provided me with the opportunity to express myself creatively. Creating art allowed me to explore my imagination and emotions, and it was a wonderful way to escape into a world of colours and ideas.

What was your first job?

My first job was in the field of Human Resources. I worked as an HR professional in a developer company, where I was involved in various aspects of employee management, recruitment, and organizational development.

What brought you to Dubai?

I came to Dubai because a close friend of mine was already living here. She spoke highly of the city and its dynamic atmosphere, encouraging me to visit. After spending time in Dubai and experiencing its unique blend of cultures, modernity, and opportunities, I was captivated. Recognizing the potential for my personal growth in this cosmopolitan hub, I decided to make Dubai my home and establish myself here starting as a hostess in a Restaurant.

What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

Becoming an entrepreneur was a dream I had since I was young. I always wanted to create something meaningful and have a direct impact on people’s lives. Photography has been my passion, and I saw it as a way to connect with others in a profound and emotional manner. I knew that by starting my own photo studio, I could create a platform where families could capture their precious moments and memories for a lifetime. The idea of building a business that celebrates the beauty of motherhood, newborns, and families, while also nurturing creativity and connection, truly motivated me to take the leap into entrepreneurship.

Can you talk us through the concept & growth of Studio?

When I first began my journey, I operated as an individual photographer. It was a fulfilling experience, however, I felt that for ideas, concepts and experience which I want to bring into the market, I need to build a strong team. This growth allowed us to offer a more diverse range of photography services and expertise, ensuring that we could meet the unique needs of each family. I am a strong believer in the saying “If you want to go for a short distance, go alone and if you want to go for a long distance you need the right people next to you.”

Today, my studio stands as a platform where creativity thrives. We collaborate as a team to bring forth fresh ideas and perspectives, enabling us to craft unique and heartwarming experiences for our clients. The journey from a solo photographer to a cohesive and talented team has been both challenging and rewarding. As we continue to grow, we aim to become a leader in the MENA region, a go-to destination for families seeking beautiful and meaningful photography services.

How has You Baby Studio helped women in the UAE?

At You Baby Studio, we pride ourselves on being an all-women team of photographers. This approach has had a significant positive impact on women in the UAE. During each photo session, we strive not only to capture beautiful images but also to empower and uplift our clients. Motherhood and family life can sometimes be overwhelming, and we believe that photography can be a tool for women to rediscover themselves and embrace the beauty of their journey. Through our work, we create a supportive and comfortable environment that encourages self-expression and self-appreciation. It’s heartwarming to witness the joy and confidence that bloom in our clients as they see themselves through our lens, often leaving the studio with a renewed sense of pride and empowerment.

What are the key elements of your role?

As the owner and visioner behind You Baby Studio, my role encompasses several key elements. First and foremost, I provide the vision for the studio. I set the direction and ensure that our work aligns with our values and goals. Additionally, I play a crucial role in shaping the style and aesthetics of our photography, ensuring that our clients receive a consistent and memorable experience.

Another essential aspect of my role is overseeing the daily operations of the studio. This includes managing the schedule, handling customer inquiries, and coordinating with our team of photographers and other staff. I am deeply involved in the photo sessions, interacting with our clients to understand their desires and needs, and adding my touch of creativity to make each session unique.

Furthermore, I take on the responsibility of instructing and guiding our photographers. We value personalized experiences for our clients, and I make sure that our team understands the importance of capturing the essence and individuality of each family.

All women team at  the You Baby Studio

Talk us through your daily routine.

My daily routine is dynamic and filled with creativity and customer interaction. I typically start my day by reviewing the studio’s schedule and checking customer requests. This helps me prepare for the day’s photo sessions and ensures that we are ready to deliver the best service possible.

During the photo sessions, I actively engage with our clients. I find it essential to connect with them as this allows me to understand their preferences and create an atmosphere of trust and comfort. As the sessions unfold, I infuse each one with my creative ideas and unique perspective to capture those special moments that truly reflect the essence of the families we photograph.

Apart from the photo sessions, I also spend time instructing and guiding our photographers. I believe in nurturing their skills and fostering an environment of constant improvement and creativity. Additionally, I dedicate time to discuss personalized touches for each session, ensuring that our client’s expectations are not only met but exceeded. In the moments in between, I also handle various administrative tasks to ensure the smooth functioning of the studio.

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

My advice to anyone aspiring to become an entrepreneur in the photography industry or any creative field is simple yet powerful: Follow your passion. Passion is what fuels dedication and perseverance. When you are deeply passionate about your craft and purpose, challenges become growth opportunities, and setbacks become lessons to learn from. Embrace the journey with an open heart and mind, and surround yourself with a supportive network of individuals who believe in your vision. Never stop learning and improving your skills, as creativity thrives on continuous growth. Remember that building a successful studio takes time and effort, so stay patient and persistent. With passion, dedication, and a commitment to delivering value to your clients, you can turn your dream into a fulfilling reality.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

The best piece of advice I ever received was to embrace the unexpected and be open to the possibilities that life presents. Life is full of surprises, and sometimes the most incredible opportunities arise from situations we never anticipated. By staying open-minded and adaptable, we can seize these opportunities and turn them into something truly extraordinary.

And what is the worst?

The worst piece of advice I ever received was to avoid taking risks and stick to the conventional path. While stability is important, playing it safe may limit our potential for growth and fulfilment. As an entrepreneur, I have come to appreciate that taking calculated risks and stepping out of our comfort zone can lead to the most significant rewards and personal growth.

What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?

One of the most significant challenges I had to overcome was hiring and managing a larger team for the studio. As the demand for our services grew, I realized that I needed to expand the team to maintain the level of quality and personalized attention our clients expect. However, managing a creative team comes with its unique set of complexities, and finding the right individuals who align with our studio’s values and vision required considerable effort and dedication.

What are the future plans for You Baby Studio in this region?

The plans for You Baby Studio are ambitious yet inspiring. We envision becoming the largest women-empowered studio for families in the region. As we grow, we aim to continue nurturing creativity and empowering women in the photography industry. We strive to be at the forefront of innovation in family photography, incorporating cutting-edge techniques and styles while maintaining the heartwarming and personal touch that defines our brand.

This article was powered by You+Baby Studio. 

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Images: Supplied