Fatima E. Al Shirawi: Leading entrepreneur in GCC
1. At the outset, please give us a glimpse of yourself.
My name is Fatima Al Shirawi, and I am a colour consultant in GCC. I founded The Gracious F in 2008 in Dubai,after pursing my studies in Washington DC, London School of fashion and Polimoda. With a Passion for Travel, education and giving back to the community, my core values are : Empowering women to be educated and their best self individually and professionally Sharing her knowledge and expertise to serve the community and support local and youth talent Learning every day and developing helping her team to grow and exceed in their individual and professional lives.
2. Briefly describe your company and the products or services you are offering.
Successfully combining colour psychology in all spectrums of individual re-branding and self-development, to businesses that are looking to enhance their awareness and strategy through colour solutions in branding & marketing, Luxury Retail training, PR, Workshops or residential and corporate interior design.
3. Going back to your early career decisions, tell us what factors influenced your decision to be an entrepreneur?
My fathers’ side of the family are all mainly entrepreneurs with businesses in diverse industries, and my mother’s side all mainly doctors. At a very young age I was already very creative and perceptive with human psychology, therefore I pursed Sociology and Marketing as a bachelor’s degree, and later specialized in colour psychology from the colour affects Institute in the UK, combining both of my skills. I always wanted to help Individuals & Businesses overcome their barriers & reach their goals with support of colour science, and this was the primary for which I founded The Gracious F.
4. Who are your clients? How do you ensure the unbreakable faith of your clients?
Our services are applicable to many industries, from Interior Design, Retail, Government organizations to Coaching & Training centres. Most of our clients fall within luxury products & services segment.
5. Shed light on your team. What ethos is maintained for the employees in your company?
I believe that its important that your team is motivated personally as much a professionally. I hand them all the tools to help them develop their skills and grow within their careers. A good example is a Individual Colour Session – that allows them to understand their weaknesses & strengths through their personality report, the colour kit that they also receive, allows them to use colour to their power, personally or professionally with the knowledge of which hues fit them best and which occasions to use them.
6. As your company grew, or re-grew from your pivot, what were the primary challenges?
The first challenge was building awareness and understanding of this crucial science, when we speak of colours, individuals automatically assume this has to do with only with fashion, style, or trends. Even though colour psychology has been studied more intensely in early 1980’s, the impact of colour on our products, design, consumer behaviour is unimaginable. Simple way to explain is, 80% of our feelings and reaction over colour is Sub conscious.
7. How did you get where you are today, and who/what helped you along the way?
My family has been my pioneer of my support, and along the way every client, or organization that has benefitted through colour science has been my biggest motivation, to do more, help more individuals and organizations understand the importance of colour science and how to use it to your benefit. Most of my projects and new clients come through referrals.
8. What suggestion you would give for companies on how they can contribute to a more balanced and equal industry?
I suggest companies to Invest in understand their teams better, offer them tools and training which can also enhance their personal lives. Focus on the needs of your team as they are the pioneer of your success, and of course, learn and apply colour science to your branding tools, marketing tools, interior, team building – Your growth in revenues and efficiency will be a incredible 😊
9. Please take us to the routine of your day, from the time you wake up to the time you go off to sleep. Also, share your hobbies.
Once I wake up, I have my breakfast, message a good morning to my team and start planning my day. As the only colour expert in my team, my team and myself must make sure my calendar and schedule are set weeks in advance. My hobbies are reading, drawing, spending time with my family and my Yoga and & Gym keep me balanced and sane after a busy day at work.
10. Tell us about a favourite book that inspires you.
I have many favourite books, currently Its: Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Toll. This book shows us how to become your true self by accepting stillness and silence. The ideology is that when we are no longer limited or bounded by our thinking mind, any suffering or pain disappears and we are able to move forward towards a new awareness of our relationships, environment and of the profound wisdom that is to be found in stillness. Truly inspiring and especially useful during the worldwide crises we are all currently facing where our overall emotions are very vulnerable.
11. What does the future hold for your company? Kindly share your future goals. What are you most excited about?
Our services have recently been launched online, our clients are now able to have their sessions online, and tool kit and reports are sent to the client upon completion. In 2018 I built a in house training COLOUR MATRIX – specifically for large retail organizations. This 360-program including, customer profiling, buying, visual merchandising and sales training is a cheat sheet to extraordinary performance and revenues. This program is now available online too.
12. Mention any awards and milestones that your company has received.
Business Leader Award
Winner of the Middle East, North Africa & Asia Best Business Leader Awards 2015 – 10th December 2015 – Burj Al Arab, Dubai
Honorary Awards for outstanding leading businesswomen across the MENA
Asia Pacific Enterprise Awards winner in 2015
SME Beyond Borders. Global Model for Success Award
- As a source of inspiration for many, what would your advice be for female entrepreneurs, who are planning to enter in the business world?
I believe female entrepreneurs have a gift, the gift of multi-tasking. I would advise all female entrepreneurs to follow their dreams, nothing comes easy or without hard work, but if you focus and plan your goals, there will be nothing stopping you from success.
- What is your favourite quote?
‘Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic Motion’ by RUMI