Money & Me: ‘It's a blessing and a curse to be a saver’

Hanah Victoria, founder and chief executive of children’s wear clothing line Kidd, is learning to enjoy spending in a healthy way

Hanah Victoria, founder of children's clothing line Kidd, says buying a house in Dubai will be a milestone. Leslie Pableo for The National
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Hanah Victoria learnt to save and value money as a child because she came from a big family where her parents taught their nine children to fend for themselves.

Today, Ms Victoria, 28, draws on those lessons as she balances a full-time role as a children’s wear fashion designer in Dubai and founder, chief executive and creative force behind Kidd, a clothing line for ages between three and 12.

She has funded the business from her savings and current job. The brand was launched last November.

“Kidd is a kids’ wear brand only. We represent mindfulness. It's motivated by kid energy, so during the design process, I got opinions from kids on what colours they like, for instance,” says Ms Victoria, who’s been in Dubai for three years.

Ms Victoria, who lives in Damac Hills, was born and raised in a village in Middlesex, just outside London.

She studied fashion design for four years at Birmingham City University and then worked with clothing retailer H&M in Sweden.

Her father works in the film industry, while her mum works in the funeral sector.

Did wealth feature in your childhood?

I grew up in a small village in the UK. Growing up, my parents always made sure I appreciated the value of money. I earned pocket money by helping around the house.

I have eight siblings, so I had to always share everything, which taught me a lot. My mum and dad always worked so hard and to be around that growing up made me into a hard worker and to understand that you need to work for what you want.

How did you first earn?

My first job was in a local bakery. I was about 14 years old and was paid around £35 ($44) for a full day’s work. This gave me a sense of freedom, where I started to pay my phone bill, among other things.

I also worked part time at university to cover my bills.

I came to Dubai based on a job opportunity and before that, I was in Sweden at H&M for two-and-half years.

What prompted you to enter your profession?

I have always been creative and studied arts for most of my education until I decided to go to university and chose fashion design because I always had an interest in clothes.

I’ve always had a rebellious side where I wanted to do something different and challenge myself.

I was the first student at that university to specialise in kids’ fashion and at first, I was told not to, but that’s what gave me more motivation to do so.

Any financial jolts?

Since I don’t have experience in the buying and production side of the business and because I make locally in the UAE, prices are higher and quantities are bigger, so I had to start quite big.

Money was a scary thing for me because I don't have investors. I had no clue about numbers. I just had to absorb information from friends and colleagues.

Because I stayed in my job, it was not a massive financial strain, it was more a risk to my savings.

What are some challenges you face as an entrepreneur?

It’s having to do everything yourself. I come from a design background and don't have experience with money or running a business.

Being an employer, you have to learn as you go and take on the responsibilities because when you're starting out, you don't have a team.

Are you a spender or a saver?

I’ve always been taught to save from a very early age and to prioritise your money.

Paying rent and bills from an early age really helped me to understand how to manage money.

As I’ve got older, I’ve now learnt to also enjoy spending in a healthy way.

Have you been wise with money?

Yes. Saving was a big thing in my house. I had eight siblings and my mum wanted us to learn how to fend for ourselves.

So, I've always been good with money management. I've never had to borrow money.

Even when I was in university, most people would ask their mum and dad for money, but I had a part-time job to cover my expenses.

As I've got older, I'm now stepping into a new phase where I'm financially stable and reversing my money mentality. Sometimes it's not good to just save and do nothing else.

What is your best investment?

My business has financially all come from me and I’m so proud of that.

I’m excited to buy my first property in Dubai this year.

Any financial milestones?

My milestone would be getting to my first six figures in my bank account.

Buying my house in a few months will also be a milestone. In my career, tripling my salary in such a short amount of time was life-changing. It is quite hard to achieve in my industry, so I'm proud of it.

How do you grow your wealth?

That's something I'm learning now. It's a new thing for me.

I'm fortunate enough to have a job now where I am financially stable. I was forced to save and didn't know any different, so now I'm learning about investing and buying property now.

So, it's a blessing and a curse to be a saver. I am looking at getting on the property ladder.

I am trying to learn and research about what I can do with my finances and not just save it, it's also good to spend if it's done right.

I'm now stepping into a new phase where I'm financially stable and reversing my money mentality
Hanah Victoria, founder and chief executive, Kidd

What is your philosophy towards money?

Money definitely makes some things easier and can fulfil you in some ways, like helping your family and friends or buying nice things, but happiness comes from within.

Even though I’m at the most financially successful time of my life, I’ve always had some of my most unhappiest times.

It’s important to never lose the value of money, no matter how much you earn. Money should amplify you, not change you.

I would say I’m becoming wiser with money as I get older.

Earlier, it made me feel safe knowing that I had savings. Whereas now I feel money comes and goes and if you work hard, it's always going to be there.

I'm not as protective of money as I once was. Earlier, I wouldn't spend on anything and it was a fear of not having enough. Now, I'm a bit more free. I'm getting into a healthy balance of spending and saving.

Dubai is full of distractions and it’s a very easy place to spend and get carried away, but I’m very disciplined and stay focused.

Any cherished purchases?

Buying my mum and dad flight tickets, or a holiday. For me, it would be experiences like holidays or taking a trip to England.

My cherished purchases would also include helping friends and family.

What luxuries are important to you?

Time and experiences. This includes going on holiday, experiencing new things and spending time with friends and family.

What are you happiest spending money on?

I'm happiest spending on holidays and experiences that create amazing memories.

Any advice for your younger self?

The advice I would give to my younger self would be money isn’t everything and it comes and goes, so enjoy spending in moderation because you work hard for it.

What are your financial goals?

Future financial goals are to buy my mum and dad their dream home, invest in property and own land in different locations.

I also want to allow my parents to retire whenever they want. My financial goal is to focus on my business, invest in Kidd, grow it financially and invest in assets, too.

Updated: March 15, 2024, 6:02 PM