7 Moksi Women answering my 7 questions : how they are Living and Working in Dubai.
I was so happy all these 7 women wanted to participate - even more when I could work with the lovely Rebecca Rees - who photographed all their outdoor portrait photo's. We only had 1 day (a crazy busy day!) to make it all happen, since everyone has a busy schedule. So one day in March, we drove around Dubai in the heat and visited them all.
People have a certain image in their heads when thinking of Dubai. Instantly only thinking of the luxurious side of living here - which is here too. But there are more people simply living their normal everyday lives - being a mother, being a creative or running their business. They mix this all together - most of them doing so while creating their home away from home. To me, that's what makes them great & inspiring Moksi Women.
So, let's start this first week with powerhouse Judith Hobby!
I've met Judith 2,5 years ago when I just moved to Dubai and had an instant click with her - she is sweet (without her my wedding party would have looked very different!), driven and a great inspiration to me personally. I love wearing her clothes, they make me feel good and are super easy on the body (did I mention there is even one item named 'Maureen'?).
A former lawyer from New Zealand, Judith founded JHC in 2011 here in Dubai and designs all her clothing for women who have busy lives and don't want to compromise on their styles. I'm truly happy that our paths have crossed and I hope you can find not only some great clothes in her online shop (she ships internationally!) but you will be inspired as well. As the sign on her desk says: "Well behaved women rarely make history."
**What inspired you to start your business / work in this branch?
Previously, I had a business with a friend buying clothes overseas and selling them here. It was fun, especially the travelling part, but it got increasingly difficult to find new and interesting pieces, so I tried my hand at designing a couple of pieces. These sold out in one day and that's what inspired me to keep going.
**In your work, what is your favourite creation you have made so far?
In every collection I have a favourite piece. Or pieces. I make my clothes for myself, so I'm usually dressed in JHC. As we have quite a range of designs its too hard to pick a favourite as it depends on my mood on the day.
**Working in Dubai, how would you describe it to anyone not living here?
As with anywhere there are pros and cons. The cons are that it can be really difficult to grow. You can start with markets etc, but the next step of having your own space is really expensive and difficult to arrange. Having said that, the pros are that the culture in Dubai is really open to people trying different things. It may not work, but 'giving something a go' is encouraged. I would say this is more so than in other countries where you tend to be pigeon-holed. Here you can reinvent yourself as many times as you like.
**Which side of running your own business / working in this branch excites you the most?
I love the freedom of having my own business. I love the fact that its my project and I decide everything. There is no one else to blame if I get it wrong and I know it was my hard work that caused it to grow. It's not without stress, however.
**As a working mother, how do you keep a good balance between work and your life at home?
It is hard. Especially working in the weekends. But I have really tried to limit that recently and I feel much happier with the home/business balance now. I try to keep Friday (our "Sunday") free and if I need to work, I do that on a Saturday.
**Do you have any tips for other women who want to start their own business or work here in Dubai?
You need to be flexible and look for ways around problems, some of which aren't obvious. Do your research and don't trust what you are told. Find out for yourself. But it is a great place with a lot of freedom to grow.
**And last, what is the best part of living in Dubai?
I love the lifestyle. I'm happy here, although I think a lot of that comes down to a tax free salary!
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*Photo Judith made by: Rebecca Rees for Moksi Collective.
*You can visit Judith's studio at: www.judithhobbyclothing.com