What began as a meaningful gift for her daughter, 4 year old Neeva, became a passion and a career when Sahar founded Dumyé, creating personalised handcrafted and eco-friendly rag dolls – one of which is gifted to an orphaned child whenever a purchase is made. Sahar’s days start early and finish late as she juggles being a mama with work but her passion for her family and for fulfilling her ambitions for Dumyé are the perfect combination for doing so successfully.
Name: Sahar Wahbeh
Occupation: Founder of Dumyé
Children: Daughter Neeva, 4 years old
How long have you lived in Dubai? 8 years
1) Tell us about your business and why you started it.
At Dumyé, we handcraft limited edition, eco-friendly rag dolls that you can personalise. For each doll purchased, a doll is gifted to an orphan in need. It is our mission to bring love and light to not only our children, but the children who have not been spoken for.
I made my first doll for my daughter. At the time, I was looking everywhere for the perfect holiday gift, something that was going to be iconic of her childhood – her very first doll. It had to be beautiful, handmade, natural, washable and ideally look a little bit like her. When I couldn’t find anything that captured both my heart and her spirit, I decided to make one and I guess I just never stopped.
I knew there were other moms out there who shared my values and love of design. However, that wasn’t enough to convince me to leave my career behind for doll making. I realised that through the dolls, I was teaching my daughter what I felt she most needed to know. Marry your passions with your life’s work, find the courage to fulfil your potential, respect mother nature, show compassion for your fellow man and know in your heart the real gift in life is in the giving. Ultimately, what began as a meaningful gift for my daughter, launched what is now Dumyé.
2) What do you feel have been your biggest achievements both in your personal life and career so far?
Personally my greatest achievement has to be my daughter. She is pretty awesome.
Professionally, my greatest achievement came last June. It marked Dumyé’s one year anniversary and the first chance we had to make good on our promise to gift dolls to orphaned children in need. The day brought about a lot of joy and a few tears. It was incredibly humbling and will never be forgotten.
3) As a child, what did you dream of being when you grew up?
I wanted to be a professional dancer. Growing up I could only ever imagine my life on a stage.
4) If you had three wishes, what would they be?
That each of us would treat others as we wish to be treated.
That each of us would measure our success by how much we give, instead of how much we accumulate.
That each of us finds the courage to fulfil our greatest potential.
5) What does being a Sassy Mama mean to you?
Being a Sassy Mama means being a fun-loving and passionate mom.
6) What’s a typical day in your life like?
Every day is a juggling act between family and work. I’m up early getting my daughter ready and delivered to school. I work while she studies and in the afternoons, we get a chance to have some fun together. Then I prepare dinner and we eat as a family. My husband puts Neeva to bed and I go back to my studio and work until late in the evening. As you can imagine, it’s all pretty full on at the moment.
7) What’s your guilty pleasure?
Shisha… naughty, I know!
8) What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given in your personal life and career?
“Nobody knows what they are doing.” I don’t remember who told me that for the first time, but it is so true and a total relief to discover. On a personal level, my father has always told me, “If there is a will, there is a way.” His concept of perseverance has stuck with me through the years.
9) What do you most enjoy doing as a family in Dubai?
My husband is a talented, but shy, musician. As a result we spend a fair amount of time jamming out in the house: Firas on guitar, Sahar on vocals and Neeva dancing with pure joy and full abandonment. It makes me smile just thinking about it. When we do get out on the weekends we like meandering the Ripe market and catching some sun by the new Beach Mall area.
10) What is the ‘best-kept’ secret in Dubai, something fellow mamas should know about?
The Park Hyatt Amara Spa… it’s a little slice of heaven and every mama needs a piece of that.
11) Which three words best describe your personality?
Passionate, meticulous, idealist.
12) What advice would you have for a new mama?
Do your research, but at the end of the day your inner voice has all the answers you need. Take a deep breath and just enjoy the experience.
13) What advice would you give to a mama who wants to go back to work or start her own business, but is worried about juggling family and career?
Is it hard? Yes. Is it worth it? If you’re doing something you love, then absolutely. When mama is happy, the family is happy! The best advice I could give any mom is to not be too shy to ask people around you for help. It could be help with the kids, help making a work contact or help just figuring out what you actually want to do. What ever it is, share your ambitions with others and you will be surprised by how things just start happening.
14) If you were on an island and could bring only three things (family not included) what would they be?
Music, my sketchbook and pencil and peaches!
15) Top three books?
The Book of Daniel by E.L Doctrow, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstien and Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.
16) Describe your style
Classic, casual and understated.
17) Tell us something funny that your kids have said or done.
Recently when my mother was trying to playfully nibble on Neeva, she raised her hand like a police woman. She said with a serious frown, “The sign says, no eating people!” I have no idea where she got that from, but I laughed until I cried when she said it.
Images of our Sassiest Mamas 2014 are courtesy of Jo Cole www.jocolephotography.com