Samara Punjabi, fashion buyer and distributor extraordinaire, has a discerning eye for what makes a great shoe and we want everything in her collection. The self-proclaimed ‘brandpreneur’ talks heels, her daily routine and family with us in our exclusive interview below…
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your career?
I graduated from the Parsons School of design “Design Management” New York. While my job title is technically a distributor and buyer, I feel like I’m more of a ‘brandpreneur’ as I am responsible for bringing many brands to the region such as Manolo Blahnik. I’m also the proud mama of Tiana, who’s four years old now, and my two year old son Nirvan.
Can you talk us through your career pre and post babies? How did you get back into the swing of things after having children?
Naturally, I had a lot more time pre babies. I never had to look at my watch but fortunately with the support of my family and staff this is still not much of an issue.
How do you balance work and motherhood?
I compartmentalise and do one thing at a time. As I run my own business, I have the luxury of dedicating the mornings to work and the afternoons to my kids. When I’m at work, I focus 100% on the tasks at hand. When I’m home, I try and give my 100% to the kids. Of course, there will be days when I get a call and that needs immediate attention or when I have to skip pick ups or drop offs due to travel. It’s not always perfect and it will never be. But for the most part, it seems to work.
How do you save time? What are your organisational tips and tricks?
I prioritise and set realistic goals. I know what I am capable of achieving in a day and I make sure I don’t over schedule myself. I also always have post-its all around me in case I randomly think of something.
Do you have any tips for aspiring “mamapreneurs” and other working mamas in Dubai?
Stop feeling guilty! As a working mom you are teaching your kids some important life lessons. You are teaching your kids the importance of being independent and that they can pursue their dreams. Nothing is impossible.
Favourite activity with your kids in Dubai?
Heading over to Jam jar or Bounce!
Favourite kid-friendly restaurants in Dubai?
Favourite family-friendly holiday spot?
Kobe, Japan. This is where my in-laws live and the kids love going there. They get to spend so much time outdoors and in nature. They love hanging out at the local zoo, visiting the Deer Park in Nara and Universal Studios in Osaka. Tokyo Disneyland is on the to-do list for our next visit to Japan.
Do you have any tips for keeping the romance alive in your relationship?
Take child-free vacations. Leave the kids with grandparents and take off for a short get-away! Its refreshing to be able to spend time with your husband without constantly being interrupted by kids, having to wash bottles in a hotel bathroom, looking for child-friendly restaurants, and being woken up at 6am! As for the kids, trust me, they love being spoilt by grandma and grandpa for a few days.
Favourite date-night restaurants?
That would be Frioul in Madinat and La Petit Maison without a shadow of a doubt.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received as a parent?
Let your children be little for as long as possible! As a victim of parental competition, many a times we doubt ourselves and feel compelled to enroll our kids in every gymnastics, swim, ballet, soccer and drama class there is. I am so grateful to my mom because she constantly guides me whenever I need advice.
Give us your essential new mama advice that might never occur to other women.
You do not have to be with your kids every single minute of the day for them to feel loved and secure.
As a mama I wish I were better at…
Cooking! I envy moms who can go into the kitchen and whip up fancy and healthymeals for their kids. I can’t cook to save my life.
My most humbling mama moment was…
When my 4 year old daughter said that she wants to grow up and be just like me!
One thing I won’t sacrifice as a mama is…
I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about….
Whether I’m doing my best as a wife, mother, daughter, sister and an entrepreneur.
Even when my children have families of their own, I’ll still…
Remind them how much I love them and remind them to be grateful.
My favourite moment of the day is…
When I pick up my kids from school and they run into my arms. The smile on their faces when they see me just lights up my day.
I always feel saner after…
A good nights rest.
I wish I had more time for…
Reading. I love reading but between my family, friends, and work commitments, I just can’t seem to find the time to read as much as I would like to.
Bedtime is always smoother when…
We follow our routine. Children thrive on consistency and predictability even when it comes to bedtime. My kids go to bed at the same time every night regardless of the season or the day of the week. We start their bedtime routine at 6.30 bath, brushing teeth, bed & story time and they are fast asleep by 715.