1. WHO IS CHERYLE DIAS?
Cheryle Dias is an artist. That’s who I’d say I am. I’m a mother, a wife
and manager. I know myself well and that’s my strength. I’m constantly in touch
with my inner nature through my senses. In my work, I consider myself very
effective and constantly try to deliver the best. Managing events is my forte
as I know how things should be put together. My simplicity does not allow me to
gorge on the use of PR to promote myself. I don’t take extraordinary steps to
stand out from the crowd. But I feel my work speaks for itself. And perhaps my
personality adds to it.
In one word, I would say is that Cheryle is a ‘complete’ person who looks
after her responsibilities extremely well, be it in her home, her office or
with personal relationships with friends and family.
I would say I inspire myself. There are so many talented people who get
to great heights. I cannot tell that such people have inspired me completely.
My inspiration is myself... I have seen what this simple person — I myself, can
do. I have single handedly done what people with big teams and several
departments do over days.
My beginnings were small with limited money and no support systems. But
now, I have reached a position where I have a good name. I don’t count success
in millions and billions, but in knowing that my name stands out. My father
says making money is not a big deal; making a name in the industry is the real
deal. And I feel I have accomplished that. I would like to encourage anyone wanting to go into business to not hesitate. Instead, follow your passion and be insanely focussed. This unwavering focus will lead you to achieving your aims and targets. This is the rule of life. The process maybe a bit slow, but you will achieve
When I came to Dubai 18 years ago, I worked in a well-paying 9-5 job and lived a fantastic lifestyle with minimal savings. I got married, had children and went with the flow of things. At that time, due to the nature and stability of my good job, I didn’t get much of a chance to focus on my designing skills, though I was an artist with a Masters in Fine Arts. Life was going great until the recession hit the UAE. This was a literal storm that took away this comfortable job from me and turned things upside down. I lost my job and had a very difficult time finding a new one. People were offering me peanuts for the positions I was applying for and I couldn’t even find salary to cover my petrol costs! And I couldn’t compromise.
The good news was that my husband was still able to hold down his position during the recession and he gave me the freedom to choose how I would like to proceed. He listened to my confusions over the disturbing new realities and asked me one day, “why don’t you start working on your designing again? You were occasionally working on bridal designs, but you never quite focussed on it. If you are not comfortable with taking any of these low offers, go back to doing what you love.”
Then I sat down and started thinking about this scenario. And then, I began working on my designs; I made 10 bridal dresses. Those were the days when Facebook had just started. I was one of the first people to start promoting via the platform by giving out rentals — and I got a phenomenal response. I became famous in no time because there was no one else doing bridals in 2009.
I started doing good business and continued to grow over the years. I had
no shop, only social media. Many local and GCC clients would come to my house
for bridals. I would sit with them and design dresses for them. I also started
designing ready-to-wear outfits.
This continued for about 3 - 4 years. Gradually, after building up the
brand, I launched into other things. In Dubai, the events business began to
boom. I had done some wedding planning back home. It was something I was
passionate about as it was a mixture of everything I loved — art, crafts,
designing, planning, etc. I thought since I was already into designing bridal gowns, I might be able to plan weddings too. I then announced in a Facebook group that I could also do wedding planning.
After the third day, to my shock, I began to receive enquiries. Then, things took off. One memorable thing that’s very close to my heart was the event I planned for a British-Indian couple. You won’t believe how much the budget was... AED 5000! With that budget, them couple wanted a stage, MC, car and church decor. I had no company at that time and thought, “wow, that’s huge, but I think I can do it.” My husband was skeptical, but I overdelivered! — I managed to do cover all the requirements with AED 2000, plus I earned AED 3000! I put so much hard work into it; I made the everything with my own hands and still have one of the bouquets with me as a souvenir. This incident changed me for the rest of my life.
I remember the couple wanting me to decorate the car in Ras Al Khaimah
(which is 1.5 hours away from Dubai).....I was shocked due to the distance and
asked them to bring the car to me for decoration. They did and I decorated it
myself with absolutely no assistants. And the best part was that the couple was
very happy with the end product! Very soon after that, I launched makeup workshops, another big success. Until now, no one has been able to replicate my makeup workshops. When I put my mind to something, I make sure I do it to the best and highest standard. Nothing but top notch!
4. INTERNATIONAL FASHION WEEK – DUBAI HAS GROWN TREMENDOUSLY. WHAT’S YOUR VISION FOR THIS BRAND?
Very easy question. I don’t need to think too hard about this one! I see International Fashion Week – Dubai as one of the top international brands in
the world. International Fashion Week has been launched in Paris and Milan. We are launching in Cannes next month at the International Film Festival with 15
fashion and film awards at the Intercontinental Carlton Cannes, which is one of the best hotels in Cannes.
In July, we launch in New York. We plan to launch in London also this
year, but we’re not entirely sure about this due to its market performance. We
then have the second seasons of the event in Paris and Milan in September this
year. And then, of course, back in Dubai for our second show.
We are also exploring Amsterdam, Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt for 2020.
We’ve already set up a base in Lebanon and very soon will be putting plans
together for the event. Lebanon and Egypt have not yet had fashion weeks. Soon
after the launch event in France, which is the heart of the fashion market
along with Italy, people began to refer to us as the best event this season. We
can’t compare ourselves to large well-established companies, but we’re quickly
outperforming those in our range.
5. HOW DO YOU MANAGE BEING A LADY BOSS AND RAISING A FAMILY?
I’m a very bad mom, though my son disagrees (laugh)! I don’t know how I
manage cooking my family’s favourite meals and working so hard, but I’ll say
it’s by God’s grace, my parents’ prayers and my family’s support. My husband has
been a very strong pillar of support and my biggest blessing. If he had not
encouraged my passions, I would have been nowhere.
We are doing very well for ourselves and my husband looks to me for nothing. And my kids! They are so supportive! My son is 13 now. And he’s very talented and mature about the realities of my job.
I also try not to stress too much about social engagements. Instead, I
try to balance my time wisely. I enjoy being present in each moment. When it is
home time, it’s home time. When it is time for the office, it’s work time.
When my job demands 16 – 20 hrs., I always think about pulling off my
first event — the wedding, single handedly. It empowers me! I have managed the
International Fashion Week on my own for many years. It was not until after
season 5 that I employed staff to support with administrative tasks. Like I
said, I inspire myself.
6. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WANTING TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
In life, it’s important to have a clear mind and be focussed. I have seen
people with a lot of money and passion, but no focus. Being focussed gets you
to your destination. If you are selling a pair of glasses and if it didn’t sell
today, tomorrow you may start selling mobile phones. And if mobiles don’t sell on
that particular day, you may move to another product. This is shows you lack
focus. You need to focus on the qualities of the glasses. If you know the
qualities of your product, then you can sell it for years to come.