Inspired by New York, made with love in Dubai
"Every day I have challenges and every day I have new question marks. And every day I try to find the solutions and face these challenges."
Founder of The Bowery Company, Christiane Nasr, is in the business of bringing a bit of New York style to her home in Dubai.
After falling for The Big Apple and the countless pieces of beautiful furniture that have been inspired by the city, Christiane set about creating a space where she could sell these items to customers in the United Arab Emirates and beyond, unifying her passion for design and an entrepreneurial spirit in the process.
“About two years ago,” says Christiane, “in 2014, I was in New York, in the Bowery district, and saw this store filled with beautiful products. And I was inspired to start this company, The Bowery Company… It’s inspired by New York, because I’m completely obsessed with New York! At that time, there was nothing like this in Dubai, which is strange because so much of the community is made up of ex-pats. So, I just grabbed the opportunity, and I decided, as soon as I came back from New York, to start my company.”
Working all hours
Christiane is also a living, breathing definition of multi-tasking, because alongside the creation and curation of a successful e-Commerce site in The Bowery Company, Christiane also maintains her job in finance.
Born in Beirut, Christiane emigrated with her family to Canada before returning to Lebanon to finish her studies in economics. After that, she moved to Switzerland in 2006 where she worked in finance. Christiane was there for six years before relocating again to Dubai, staying with the same employer.
Early December Christiane won a prestigious award by Harper’s Bazaar Interiors as The Best regional furniture brand for 2016, an incredible achievement as she was competing against well established names in the region.
When discussing her professional background, Christiane says, “my parents are doctors, my sisters are doctors…I’m the black sheep! I’m coming from a finance background. And I decided to do this completely out of passion because I am obsessed with interior design.”
The right skills for the job
Christiane’s professional background means that she could self-finance and carefully plan her initial collection, but she has had to learn many other skills as she went along, showing true resilience and hard work. “This was all started using my own savings,” she says. “I started with the website, and I bought a chunk of furniture and lighting from the US. It’s quite strange, I knew nothing about logistics, marketing, PR, website design, I knew nothing.”
Now Christiane has hired others who share her passion and want to help The Bowery Company grow beyond Dubai and the UAE. “This summer, I launched the website in Arabic, and I started to shipping to other Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait which will help me become a leader in the Gulf. So far I’m doing good.”
Looking for inspiration
Christiane uses her Facebook and Instagram channels both as a business tool to promote The Bowery Company, but also as inspiration for products and her future success. “I follow a lot of Instagram profiles and Facebook pages,” she says, “and you see a lot of women who have set up incredible businesses. These are inspiration to me, because I want to be one of them, I want be an international player. I want to dream big. Both platforms have helped me a lot because the images talk. The images speak louder than words sometimes.”
Just like the city that inspired her, Christiane is all about the hustle. She works hard every day to manage two very distinct lives, and she has some inspiring advice for other entrepreneurial women. “Never let someone convince you that you are not capable. There’s no limit. Us women are so powerful and driven, we do everything with passion. Sometimes you have to be impulsive and don’t think too much. When I started, a lot of my friends were like ‘you’re crazy!’. But I started small, with a small chunk of furniture, and I tested the market. Trust your gut and believe in yourself. Don’t listen to anyone who’s going to try and prevent you from believing in yourself.”
Learn more about Christiane and The Bowery Company