My UAE: de Party starts here with events planner Reem Lootah
Reem Lootah is bucking the trend.
Not only is she one of only about 4 per cent of Emirati women who work in the private sector, but she’s also going it alone.
Lootah, 26, runs the Plaza de Party events company, organising birthdays, weddings, engagement parties and other celebratory occasions.
She studied multimedia and design at the American University of Sharjah and began her career on the creative team of Dubai TV.
“I always had a passion for events,” she says. “I used to do parties for friends and family members. I wasn’t really thinking about starting it as a business, but I got a lot of comments telling me that I should pursue it.
“I have an entrepreneurial spirit in me, so I decided to quit my job and start out on my own. The only thing I was worried about was the people around me, my family, were scared about it, but for me it was the right decision. I knew it was something I could succeed [at]. I have no regrets, it has been a blessing.”
Instagram has been her best marketing tool. She has about 9,000 followers on the photo-sharing application. “In the local community there is a huge awareness of Instagram – you might even call it an obsession. It’s become a platform for people to try out new businesses.”
Themes for events have included The Lion King, pirates, a sweet-16 tea party, UAE heritage, a BBQ-themed 30th birthday and pearl diving.
“Sometimes some clients won’t have a clue of what they really want; that makes it fun for me. The more challenging the better.”
Perseverance, she says, is key: “I’m not saying you will be successful in one day; you will need to give up certain things for a certain amount of time. But if you are passionate, you will make it work and it will be worth it.”
Visit her Instagram @plazadeparty.
What do you do to relax?
I love to go to the movies – you can relax for a couple of hours. I also love the beach. I try to go to the Dubai Ladies Club in Jumeirah.
What is your favourite pastime?
When I can, I love to travel. It’s a way to explore new cultures, and I’m a bit adventurous.
What item can you not live without?
My Samsung Note 3. I need it for my work, to take pictures and sketches. It has a double purpose.
Where is your favourite place to travel?
South Africa. It is amazing because it has the combination of everything. It has adventure and relaxation and countryside and city. I loved Cape Town and Kruger National Park, where I saw lions, leopards and giraffes.
What is your favourite cartoon film?
Ratatouille. Because it has the message that anyone can be someone that’s great in a certain field, as long as you have the passion for it.
What is your favourite film?
Coco Before Chanel. It’s a very inspiring story of a really inspiring and unique woman. For a less serious option, Bride Wars is always fun to watch.
What is the best piece of advice anyone gave you?
A friend told me to “stick in there”. I always remember it. When things are a bit challenging. It’s easy to give up if you don’t have the faith. If things are hard, I remind myself to stick in there.
What is your favourite television show?
My favourite show that I recommend to anyone that wants to have their own business is the UK version of The Apprentice with Lord Alan Sugar. I learn so much from it. It’s both entertainment and educational. It has simple lessons for someone who doesn’t have any experience. I really enjoy the tasks; I learnt a lot about business.
Who do you look up to?
With regards to my business, Amy Atlas, the American entertainment planner. I do a lot of research – you have to stay up to date.
Where do you like to eat in the UAE?
Maria Bonita, the Mexican restaurant in Jumeirah. It’s very chilled and has amazing food.
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Published: May 29, 2014 04:00 AM