Amina AlAbbasi took a leap of faith and it has been the best decision of her life. Today, she owns her own business and is finding success in every step of the way.
A banking and finance graduate, Amina AlAbbasi has been fond of art since she was a little girl. With no room for imagination in her day job, she began to channel her creative energy to her artwork. She soon realised that by giving her business 20 per cent of her time, she was able to get better financial returns than working an eight-hour shift every day. Amina started getting offers to showcase her work abroad and having a day job was only getting in the way. Today, she’s the proud owner of the successful Amina Gallery. We speak to her about her path to success.
Woman This Month (WTM): When did you first find a penchant for designing?
Amina AlAbbasi (AA): I discovered my passion for art from a very early age. My mother used to give away my paintings as gifts and I used to love seeing my paintings in other people’s homes. I never thought about taking it to the next level until I showcased my work for the first time at a local art bazaar and sold out over the weekend. It was then that I realised that there was something special in my works.
WTM: What is Amina Gallery as a brand and as a vision?
AA: Amina Gallery is a one-stop shop for art pieces and art-inspired products. My mission is to make art wearable and usable in the most creative ways and to make it a need rather than just a pretty piece on your wall.
I cater to people from different age groups and make them connect with the Bahraini and Khaleeji culture in the most beautiful ways possible.
WTM: What were the challenges you faced on the way?
AA: When I first started, I think the biggest challenge I faced was leaving a steady job with a steady income and dive into something that was at that time unknown. Taking that risk was a challenge for sure. I had to speak to so many people who have gone through that risk to be able to find my way through it. It wasn’t easy in the beginning.
WTM: What would you say is your signature touch in your designs?
AA: My main goal is to be unique. I don’t look at other people’s products and art pieces for inspiration. Instead, whether its artworks or home accessories, I have created my own line of designs.
People have recognised my work and having the unique marriage between modern art and traditional concepts is what people like about it. I believe that sense of familiarity and connection is what engages people towards my work.
WTM: What training have you had to take up to succeed in this project?
AA: I am a self-taught artist. I develop my own styles and techniques. I believe to succeed in art, you need passion and lots of experimental projects to learn and create your own style.
I was recently awarded with the eEnterprenuer Award 2014. This is given to a creative business concept in Bahrain which has used technology to grow their businesses internationally.
WTM: What has been the greatest part of this venture?
AA: During my last participation at Noor Dubai Foundation’s Art 4 Sight exhibition, my painting was auctioned by Christie’s and sold for USD25,000. All proceeds went to restoring sight to people around the world. I believe that has been my favourite part of this venture.
WTM: What is your role in the gallery?
AA: Every day is a new experience. I meet new people, travel to places to create new products and I manage my art gallery in Bahrain. We offer our products to five countries — London, Kuwait, Saudi, UAE
I recently launched my Ramadan collection, which is focused on home accessories, nest tables, ottomans, trays and tea boxes. We are going to launch our Eid collection shortly.
This will mainly features a selection of handbags, wallets, cosmetic bags and exciting wearable accessories.
WTM: What plans are in the pipeline for Amina as a brand and Amina as a person?
AA: Well as a business you can never go day by day blindly. We have a five-year strategy plan at the moment. It includes opening a branch in a GCC country, where we make most of our sales.
I am also looking to experience the art scene in Europe and introduce the Bahraini culture with a modern touch to the world. As for Amina as a person, I am looking forward to building a family and moving into a