Emirati sisters find family business a thing of beauty

The Emirati sisters behind Bedashing Beauty Lounge are planning to franchise their business across the Arab region.

Dana Al Tamimi, Noor Al Tamimi and Bodour Al Tamimi, are three Emirati sisters who run the Bedashing chain of beauty lounges in Abu Dhabi. Irene García León / The National.
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In the past, family businesses traditionally referred to father-son dynasties. But the world has moved on and here in Abu Dhabi, three Emirati sisters are doing it for themselves.

Bedashing Beauty Lounge is run by three members of the Al Tamimi family - siblings Noor, 35, the chief executive; Bodour, 33, the chief financial officer and Dana, 30, the chief marketing officer.

The trio first launched the venture as Dashing Nails in 2008 but rebranded last August as Bedashing Beauty Lounge in line with their vision to serve a wider market across the region.

Today, they operate a team of 250 staff, with 20 based at their Marina Park Head Office. They have five branches in Abu Dhabi, and are launching two in Dubai and one in Al Ain.

Now the siblings are putting the finishing touches on plans to turn their Abu Dhabi venture into a global franchise.

“These will be the last of the branches we own - the rest will be franchised”, explains eldest sister Noor, the brainchild of the company, who says they will target Abu Dhabi franchisees first. “We want to move with a ripple effect – so we’ll start around Abu Dhabi, then across the UAE and out to the wider Arab region.”

Right from the start, Noor was determined to create a brand that could one day be exported globally.

“When we were small, it’s wasn’t easy to brand,” she says. “When you order something branded with your own logo, it has be ordered in large quantities. So we invested a lot. Even nail files needed our logo, so that we appeared to be an international company.”

The trio decided to be a ‘beauty lounge’ as opposed to a spa because they say they are not somewhere clients visit to chill out.

“Bedashing is vibrant and modern, for young people. You go with your friends and have fun with nice music playing - you can have a party there. And our baristas serve free cappuccinos,” says Noor.

The sisters’ Emirati father, Mohamed Al Tamimi was a Central Bank director who fostered an entrepreneurial spirit in his daughters from a young age.

“Our father encouraged us to finish school as early as possible,” says Bodour. “Noor and I started college at 15. At 16 we were going on internships, and at 18 we started working.”

Their mother is Jordanian, so the sisters grew up knowing two cultures.

Noor says: “This widened our horizons. We never faced this ‘no don’t go out’ attitude – it was ‘you have to have a great career.’”

Noor didn’t let her career ambitions stop her from also having a family – by 18 she was married and a year later had her first child. She now has five daughters, aged between 2 and 15.

When the sisters first set up the company, Bodour and Dana also had their own careers, Bodour with an investment house where she still works as a portfolio manager.

Youngest sister Dana was a sleeping partner until last February, when she quit her retail banking job. She has two children aged two and one, and a third on the way. “I resigned because of the kids. It’s not easy to work from 8am until 4pm every day. So I started working part time on our business, with flexible hours. I work from home and go to head office for meetings.”

Luckily, the siblings get on very well.

“We complement each other in the things we’re good at”, says middle sister Bodour. “Noor is the business brains, Dana is detail orientated and me, I like the legal stuff which Noor can’t stand.”

The trio also has a fourth sister, not involved with Bedashing. “She gets bored of us sitting together at family gatherings discussing the business”, admits Bodour.

The company’s beauty lounges will soon be fitted out with customised seats allowing busy women to have multiple treatments undertaken at the same time.

To help market their franchises, the sisters say they had to be clear what their brand stood for. Noor says: “We had to think: ‘what is the purpose of Bedashing’s existence?’ ‘Spreading confidence’. A woman feels confidant when she looks good, and when she’s financially independent. So the franchise concept is tied up with our purpose.”

The sisters want to find bright, “aspirational” Emirati ladies to become their first batch of franchisees, who will receive support from the company including a database of 50,000 companies, a training centre and manuals. They initial focus on Abu Dhabi is because the Khalifa Fund is funding their franchise development programme. “And if you’re Emirati and want to open a franchised unit in Abu Dhabi, then Khalifa Fund will finance 90 per cent of that for you”, says Noor. “We can also fit out their branches. We’re giving our eight years of learning from our mistakes to them on a silver plate.


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