An Interview About Style Doctors UAE With CEO Elin Mai
In 2004 Style Doctors CEO Elin Mai decided to combine her love for fashion and helping people by being her own boss and starting her own styling company offering styling services for everyday people.
After 15 years of success in the UK and having styled in excess of 13,000 people, Elin helped launch Style Doctors USA in New York and Miami in 2016 and in the Middle East’s fashion capital, Dubai in 2018.
In this interview Elin answers our questions regarding the business, her experience as a female entrepreneur and the challenges she has faced during her career. She will also talk about the UAE branch and share her thoughts and hopes regarding Style Doctors in the UAE.
As the CEO of a company and a female entrepreneur would you say you face more challenges?
I think every business owner whether they be male or female come up with challenges on a daily basis. I’m lucky in the sense that from a young age I was encouraged to be an entrepreneur. I would make clothes and crafts and with two other girls started a stall selling these items when I was just nine years old. I say I’m lucky as my sex was never an issue in the sense that I was rather determined to succeed whatever I did.
I would probably be saying differently if I was working in a male dominated environment but the fashion industry has been predominantly female during my career.
What is your biggest failure and how would you say it contributed to your success?
Rather than a failure, I would call everything a learning curve. Whether it’s a project or idea that has been a success from conception to completion or something that was a struggle, I see everything as a chance to learn. I’m sure all business men and women would tell you that when you run a company, you don’t have time or energy to dwell on things. You simply have to learn and move on.
If you had to relaunch Style Doctors UAE from scratch knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?
With the company only its infancy in the UAE in terms of business , it’s far too early to look back and reflect.
“I am incredibly proud of the first year we’ve had on the UAE and the company has exceeded each target it has been set as every level”
We have an amazing team of stylists in the Middle East, a great team of creative assistants and a strong development team looking after the region. I couldn’t be happier with the way the company is going so far.
How do you manage to create a balance between work and personal life?
It’s a very difficult balancing act because even when you try to have time off, your mind is still thinking about the business. I do however try to have a weekend without emails. I am far more productive if I am able to have time away from technology and let the other parts of my brain come alive. Travel and experiencing new cultures is also a hugely important part of my life.
Would you say culture and history have an impact on the fashion industry in the UAE?
The UAE is a melting pot on terms of culture which has a big impact on the fashion industry in the region.
“With so many different nationalities in one place, it makes the UAE an exciting place on so many levels. Every time I’m in Dubai, I discover something or someone new”
There is new talent emerging continuously and I see the area as having huge potential in terms of the fashion industry. The recent Arab Fashion Week proved to be a huge success and could rival some of the better known fashion capitals. Having taught stylists in Dubai, I have seen fist hand the potential of some young stylists.
“As a shopping destination it’s unmatched in terms of the retail landscape. The malls are vast and the choice immense”
What would you say is different about Style Doctors UAE clients?
Fundamentally people are people whether they’re from London, Dubai, Malaysia or Brazil. We all have similar needs in the sense that we all want to feel confident, want to feel good and feel comfortable. These key factors remain the same wherever you are. Our clients in the UAE like anywhere else are limited for time and looking for expert guidance to make their lives easier.
What are your future hopes for Style Doctors UAE and what is the next step?
We hope to continue with the success and surpass targets year on year. I am personally very happy with the way Style Doctors UAE is developing and performing but on the flip side, I also see a huge area for growth. As a CEO, I try not to spread myself too thinly and attempt (I don’t always succeed) to give every part of the business my due care and attention.
I often get people asking me “where are you launching Style Doctors next” as if it’s something that can happen over night. Setting up a company in a different country is a long process which requires a lot of planning and implementing. Setting up a non tangible, service based company is another thing entirely.
From getting the right team together, to looking after the website, to currency, to local laws, there are many things that require constant attention.
With such potential and need for Style Doctors services in the UAE, this region is where my main focus is right now.
Thank you Elin for that insightful interview about herself as a woman in business in the UAE. Find out more about our UAE styling services here.
Photos and video by: Youssef
Clothes courtesy of: Bloomingdale’s