Money & Me: Dubai PR manager says beauty ambitions pay off

Marketing and PR executive Hend Helmy switched from a career in hospitality to the beauty and cosmetics sector, a move she hopes will one day see her set up her own business.

Hend Helmy wants to set up a social media platform for GCC women. Reem Mohammed / The National
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Hend Helmy is a marketing and PR manager for The Loft Fifth Avenue, a chain of high-end beauty outlets. The 31-year-old, who moved to Dubai six years ago from Egypt with her family following the Arab Spring protests, started her career in the hospitality industry before switching to her passion – beauty and cosmetics. Ms Helmy lives in Dubai with her parents.

How did your upbringing shape your attitude towards money?

At a young age I had so many hobbies including Latin dancing, which is one of my passions. I became a part-time instructor and never earned money, which made me realise that life is not only about money. It is about what you enjoy doing. I travelled a lot with my parents and moved with them to Dubai. I am very grateful for everything I have and certainly believe that money always comes and goes. However, I save a certain amount every month so that some day I can open my dream business, a digital and social media platform for GCC and Middle Eastern women.

How much did you get paid for your first job?

I started my career as a personal assistant at a real estate developer in Egypt, where I earned Dh500 a month. I never complained about the lack of money. On the contrary, I learnt how to discipline myself and never spend more than I have. I also learnt to be grateful for what I earn, yet be ambitious and work hard to reach the standard of living that I’ve always wished for.

Are you spender or saver?

I am more of a spender. I don’t like to deprive myself of anything, especially if you live in a place like Dubai and you work in the beauty field full of bloggers and celebrities. However, I like to be reasonable in my spending.

Have you ever had a month where you feared you could not pay the bills?

I actually live with my parents here, which I am grateful for. However, I understand the value of money and saving. This was something that really came to light when I was switching jobs and had no income at the time.

Where do you save?

In a bank. I have both a current and a saving account.

What is your most cherished purchase?

My 2016 Mercedes-Benz C Class, which cost me US$44,000. Driving it every morning makes me happy.

Do you prefer paying by credit card or in cash?

I usually use a debit card as I hate carrying cash – it just fills my purse. However, I don’t have any credit cards. I am totally against them because they can make your spending get out of control and simply drown you into debts. I am more of a realistic person who likes to abide by a budget.

What has been your best investment?

Since I am single, I believe work is my biggest achievement. I always dreamt of working in TV and media and my current job allows me to do that. Six years ago, I was a coordinator and now I am head of a department. Therefore I believe a person should invest in themselves by working out, drinking a lot of water, eating healthy. In other words, by keeping lean and clean, I think this is the best investment.

What do you most regret spending money on?

A pair of D&G trousers, which I bought because the personal shopper was super-friendly and nice to me. I paid a fortune for something that I didn’t need or like.

What financial advice would you offer your younger self?

Know the value of what you spend, be yourself and try not to impress others. Also, appreciate what you have and be grateful for every penny you earn.

Do you have a plan for the future?

I do. I would like to have my own digital and social media platform that would target GCC and Middle Eastern women. Through the platform, I could give them advice on health, beauty and well-being, and answer different inquires. I believe in women’s education and I think I could provide that.

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