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Women in Business:
In Conversation with Nadine Merabi and Blue Wilson

Happy International Women’s Day.

As you probably know by now, we are all about empowering incredible women, celebrating amazing women and being powerful women, so, this day is very special to us.

In everything we do, we want to make sure we’re celebrating, inspiring or educating women.

 

This International Women’s Day, we sat down with business partners, Nadine Merabi and Blue Wilson about what it means to be a woman in business, their career and how they got to where they are today and what empowers them.

Get cosy in your DARCIES and indulge in this valuable discussion.

First up, we have Nadine Merabi, creative director of NADINE MERABI

We asked Nadine to dive into the early stages of her business, balancing her business and family life and the passion behind her designs...



Q1) Nadine, what challenges have you overcome to get NADINE MERABI where it is today?

"Ok wow…there’s a lot!

Many people may look at me and the company and think it’s just happened or I’ve been ‘lucky’. But I’m afraid to say that fairytale isn’t true.

This answer could fill a book - so all I will say for now is that...

 

Q2) If there is anything you could've done differently when starting out, what would it be?

"There is nothing that I would change. I'm a great believer in making mistakes. It's the mistakes, the sweat and the tears, that help you learn and grow and become the better version of yourself. Without all the mistakes I have made - I wouldn't be the person or designer that I am today”

 

 

Q3) In what ways did your business change you as a woman?

"It made me care about people that I’ve never met. I feel like my business was my first baby.MERABI was never created to be just a business to make money. We create moments.We get to be a part of a woman’s most special moments in life.

Knowing that I am helping women feel confident and feel good about themselves is such an amazing feeling and privilege for me.

I know I’m not saving the world but I do feel I am helping women’s self confidence and mental health in some way. Well that’s my aim anyway."

 

 

Q4) Tell us how you balance being a successful businesswoman, a wife, a mother and a friend. What boundaries have you put in place to navigate your busy schedule  

"Juggling work and motherhood is hard. Building a business whilst having a 12 week old baby who is breastfeeding every 3 hours and who won’t go to anyone else but her mum is really tough.

I guess I just keep reminding myself that I am so fortunate to have two healthy babies and a business that I love - with a team that I call my family. Thats all I need to keep me going. To any woman out there who wants a career and children, all I would say is ; Please don’t be afraid and don’t ever let anyone ever tell you that you can’t do both. Power to you!"

 

 

Photo taken by @hannahharyleyyoungphoto

Q5) What makes you so passionate about designing for women and women in general?

"To be honest, I don't look at trends. I design what I'm feeling and how I want to empower and give confidence to those wearing MERABI. I ask myself: what will make someone feel really good, happy, and confident within themselves? My own trend for 2022 is to live life to the fullest and appreciate everything and everyone. If the past year has taught me anything, it is to go for that dinner, go out with the girls! Do what makes you happy."

 

 

Q6) Finally, what makes you feel empowered as a woman?

"Definitely, being able to help, encourage and empower other women."

 



Next up, we welcome Blue Wilson, managing director of NADINE MERABI.

Blue shares advice on finding confidence within yourself, overcoming her obstacles in business and what empowers her as a woman...

 

 

Q1) Blue, how have you got to where you are today and what has motivated you?

"I think I’ve always been inspired to live a life that you are proud of. I want to know that I gave life my all and that always motivates me. I’ve always believed that your time and energy are the most valuable resources in the world, so you must use them well!

 

I also think that a big part of where I’ve got to today is my love of learning. Whether that’s who the next star of a new Netflix show is, to why EBITDA is one of the most important metrics in management accounts - I love learning, and I learn every single day from so many people including all the amazing people in Team MERABI.

 

And my biggest motivation is people. I was always fascinated with business and commerce because, for me, good business means doing good in communities. Community starts at home, and to know that as a business leader I can positively impact someone who I work with, is motivating. To know how they feel in the workplace filters through to when they go home is really inspiring for me. On the hard days, it definitely makes it all worth it!"

 

3 words that I live by: hardwork, hustle and humility.

 

Hardwork: I truly believe that everything meaningful and worthwhile takes work, whether that’s stepping out of your comfort zone, working and investing in yourself on a daily basis, putting in the graft. I come from a family of hardworkers, so for me, my work was always going to be such an important part of my life and I enjoy hard work. I had my first job filling envelopes at 14, and have worked my whole life.

 

Hustle: I also don’t believe in the word no. I think you’ve got to be determined and driven in life to live the life you want to live and be the person you want to be. That has always inspired and motivated me. I have also realised that there is always a way. You just have to have grit and determination.  

 

Humility: We’ve all got an ego, but you’ve got to be aware of yours and learn and unlearn every day to keep control of it. You’ve got to be able to laugh at yourself. We all make mistakes, but for me, the whole reason of life is to learn, evolve and get better. Always surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and always be courageous to ask for help.

 

 

Q2) What is the hardest challenge you've faced in business to date and how did you overcome it?

"I think at the beginning, it was not having mentors as I started running a business at age 22. I’d had loads of jobs before, but I didn’t have a career previously, so I think I would have really appreciated being surrounded by more people to learn from and be guided by. I always had in my head what a manager should be (probably because I saw them on the TV) but that wasn’t my authentic leadership style, so it took me some time to figure that out.

 

Growing a business at a young age is hard, but then I would also say that being young and naive can also be a huge strength too. I naturally made loads of mistakes, and I think growing incredible teams and cultures is hard work. People for me are the most rewarding, but can really be the most challenging part of growing a business. The Team at MERABI is something I really do feel proud of. Seeing them all step up and develop is my favourite part of all of this."

 

 

Q3) Blue, what advice would you give to women in business that are lacking the confidence to scale or to take that initial leap?

"Ask for help. Talk to people. Your idea might not work and that’s ok - it doesn’t mean you are a failure. Failure is not trying and looking back on your life with regrets!!

I believe that the world doesn’t need more, it deserves better. So whatever business you want to set up, can you be the best in the world at it? Is this something that you’re going to get out of bed for every day even on the sh**ty days?

Does the world really need this?

 

 

Try to stay out of your head if you have thoughts that make you feel unconfident. We all have those thoughts. Everything starts with awareness. If I have thoughts like that I try to put them in perspective. I also ask if the thoughts serve me or my community. And if they don’t, I try my best to let them go (although that isn’t easy). We all have doubts but it’s learning to manage them and focus on the things that you can control."

Surround yourself with people that inspire you! I wouldn’t be where I am today without my family and friends supporting me and giving me confidence and belief in myself. Even if that’s a quick little call to someone when you’re feeling a bit rubbish. If you can, get an amazing business partner too. Working with Nadine has no doubt given me confidence, and there’s no one else I’d want to do this with.

 

Here are a few books I read that have inspired & motivated me which I would highly recommend:

- Be 2.0 Jim Collins, Bill Lazier

- Start With Why - Simon Sinek

- Oversubscribed - Daniel Priestley

- Dare to Lead - Brene Brown

- Shoe Dog - Phil Knight

 

 

Q4) How did you find the confidence and trust in yourself to scale businesses on an international level?

"We’ve always put the MERABI client at the centre of everything, and for us that globally has no bounds. A lot of my closest friends are American and I knew there was such a demand for MERABI there.

We initially tried things on a small scale, then when we saw it pick up… we knew there was no other option than global. I also grew up on the eCom wave, so for me the naivety of this served the business. It is all I knew and I was global commerce's biggest advocate.

 

 

 

Q5) Has your success changed you as a woman?

"I think my definition of success has changed. I think growing up I thought that success was how much money you have, the job title you have, the ‘perfect’ family you have.

Because of how my mum brought me up, I’ve been lucky that I have never been that motivated by superficial things but I think over the last few years I’ve really thought about what success means to me. For me, it’s my health, the impact I leave on my community, and ultimately, to live a life I’m proud of, peacefully."

 

 

Q6) Lastly, what makes you feel empowered as a woman?

"I think men play a huge role in this and should feel empowered to empower women, and know how important their role in society is too. We’ve got to work together to learn and unlearn and create the world to be proud of.

If I know my nieces grow into empowered women, with my nephews supporting them, I will feel like a very proud auntie!"

 

 

Thank you, Blue and Nadine for sharing your knowledge and your experience with us.

Thank you, to all the incredible women out there doing incredible things, this day is for you.

 

 

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