A true testament to the modern Emirati woman, Dr. Shayma Fawwaz, Founder & CEO of GOSSIP The Brand is the highly accomplished visionary behind the multi-concept platform that continues to break new grounds across the UAE and GCC.
Launched in 2013, GOSSIP delivers an extensive array of experiences from food such as the GOSSIP Café and Desserts, to events and beauty including the GLO by GOSSIP that offers 360 make-up, hair styling and nail services at the location of your choice.
Below, Dr. Shayma Fawwaz talks to us of her ambitions for the brand and the many opportunities that women have in the region to start their own business.
What inspired GOSSIP the brand?
At a young age I had wondered what it would be like for Emirati brands to travel the world and spread their influences worldwide. I’ve always experienced Western brands spreading their influences here. Very little local brands do the same and travel outward to influence. I felt there was a real gap in the market for an Emirati company that could be turned into a global franchise. I wanted to create something that is Emirati at it’s heart and is influenced by Emirati culture, habits and experiential services.
What are the challenges of running a multi-concept brand?
I have faced challenges along the way but this is completely normal, as starting and running any business will come with its challenges. Success many times, will depend on how these challenges are met. I have always had the drive to overcome obstacles and keep moving forward. Focus and dedication is key to getting passed challenges. It is also important to try and place the focus on finding a solution rather than on the obstacle.
How is GOSSIP different from other concepts in the region?
For me it is its connection to the region, its innovation and its international appeal. Combining Emirati culture with international food trends and concepts helps establish our signature and is enriched in our brand DNA.
In what ways does your background help with the growth and development of GOSSIP?
Collectively, all my previous work experience has provided me with a different skills set that has assisted me greatly when running GOSSIP. Obtaining my PHD in genetics helped me to problem solve, my asset management experience taught me how to interact with board members and company owners and my history working at Mubadala Healthcare taught me how to run an operational business.
As a woman running a multi-platform business, what challenges do you face?
In recent years, the UAE has placed an emphasis on women’s rights and a lot is being done by creating opportunities for women in the workforce across various positions, including management, so they can reach their full potential. It’s imperative that we continue to accept and encourage women in business and to motivate them to be productive members of our community
What advice would you give to other women looking to start their own venture?
My advice to them would be to do what they love, be tenacious and persistent in their approach. Plans will often not materialize exactly the way they’d been mapped, but it’s important to still do whatever is in your capability to get the job done and things will fall into place accordingly.
What is your position on female empowerment?
I find it really empowering to see how far the UAE has come in all areas of business. Women in the UAE are very lucky to have the support of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai as well as Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, whose progressive thinking has helped put the UAE at the forefront of the global stage in regards to women and business. I have always felt that I’ve been given the same opportunities as my male counterparts and have grown up around some truly inspiring women who have motivated me, and my career. The UAE government has made significant progress in its mission to empower women in the workforce across various sectors and the nation’s women can today be classified as role models for the rest of the world.
How do you see GOSSIP brand expanding over the next five years?
I’m definitely focused on franchising my brand to take it that one step further in establishing it as a global name. Having also completed a PHD in Genetics and acted, as Vice President for Healthcare at Mubadala Investment Company, health would definitely be one of the sectors I’d diversify my portfolio in. Art is also an industry I plan to enter in the future, having formerly sat as a Board Member and Art Patron of Art Dubai Fair, and been an active member of the Friends of Arts for Abu Dhabi Arts.
What is your personal motto?
Never ever give up and nothing is impossible, you have to keep going at it and if you really want something you will eventually get it.
What makes you feel motivated?
Travelling and seeing the world allows me to see what other people are doing. The success of others drives me to want to achieve and pushes me further to do even better than before.
What do you say no to?
This is something that was taught to me by my father, he told me to be selective, and that it’s more important what you say no to, rather than what you say yes to.
Describe the view from your window today.
My view today is of trees, grass and the beach. There is nothing better than waking up to nature.
If you could summarize yourself as a businesswoman in one word, what would it be?
What book are you reading at the moment?
I am reading ‘Good To Great’ written by James C. Collins. It came recommended to me and once I have finished it, it will change the way I run my business.
What is your happy place?
Anywhere around my family and people I love. I also get joy out of seeing other people happy and sharing special moments with others.
How do you want the world to remember you?
I would like to be remembered as someone whose goals were ambitious but achieved through hard work and determination. I would also like to say that I was able to help shine a spotlight on all the great attributes this amazing country has to offer and share it with the rest of the world.