Welcome to the Emirates Woman weekly series ‘How I got my job as…’ where we speak to some incredible entrepreneurs and businesswomen both based in the UAE and globally to find out about their career paths that led them to where they are now; what their daily routines look like; the advice they’d give to those starting out; and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome.
This week we chat with Nawel Aderghal, head of marketing at Foodfund International and Founder of THE TRUENUDE. In her marketing role, Aderghal oversees some of the most well-known food and beverage concepts in Dubai – SAN Beach Club, Clay and The Meat Co., just to name a few. Alongside her full-time role, Aderghal has founded her own fashion brand, THE TRUENUDE, a project which she started to “fill my own needs”. Noticing there was nothing on the market to work as transitional streetwear pieces post-workout, the idea for THE TRUENUDE was born.
Emirates Woman sat down with Aderghal to find out more about launching her own brand, her role at FoodFund International and how she’s able to balance the two.
What was your favourite subject at school?
My favourite subject at school was history and social studies. I have been always attracted to history and focusing on the people involved in history as well as human contributions that lead to historical events. Even if I did find it hard sometimes to understand because history involves looking into the past by reading texts and thinking tirelessly, trying to piece bits of historical data together. I love learning and discovering new languages, and cultures… I am kind of an explorer.
What was your first job?
My first job was when I was 16, I had the opportunity to do a paid internship with a National Bank located in the south of France. It was a great experience and an interesting introduction to the work industry.
What eventually brought you to Dubai?
I have always been fascinated by Dubai. Working in the hospitality industry and willing to make a career of it, it was clear to me that I would have to move to Dubai at some point.
This hospitality sector plays a major role in the region. The opportunities to be part of a large group and have a successful career can only be offered in the Middle East. The hospitality sector of Dubai is considered one of the fastest-growing industries in the UAE and contributes almost 6.2% of the country’s GDP. A budding industry and emerging opportunities are two important factors for me. Within four years I have gained so much experience and learned so much. I am so grateful that I moved to Dubai much earlier.
What inspired you to enter the fashion space?
THE TRUENUDE actually started as a project to fill my own needs. Being a woman who doesn’t necessarily love to wear sweatpants or hoodies, I struggled to find my go-to layering options post-workout. I’ve had these thoughts floating in the back of my mind for a few years. I wondered for quite some time whether that void was unique to me but soon realized that there was in fact a significant opportunity to address women’s needs post-workout.
Streetwear has evolved through the decades and has become a part of the fabric of everyday life. Through the influence of various subcultures such as activewear, athleisurewear, and urban wear, I decided to create a line for every woman’s every day, something that was dedicated to women which fit them in their daily routine. I want to encourage versatility and balance in women’s wardrobes, keeping their style contemporary while also being classic. Clothing is not only a necessity but a way to express yourself, elevate your confidence, and brighten up any mood.
Talk us through the concept of THE TRUENUDE.
THE TRUENUDE is a female-first brand inspired by Nature and earth tone colours, defining natural beauty and cultivating femininity amongst real women.
The latest athleisure range to land in the region isn’t only an aesthetic concept, but a brand that explores the depths of women, going beyond the surface, prompting them to look within and celebrate their individuality.
THE TRUENUDE provides a contemporary feel with a multi-faceted collection while integrating new and trend-driven designs, that showcase innovation, making each piece a ‘must-have’ for every closet. The collection includes interchangeable pieces in neutral color tones to ensure timeless classics that will last.
The essence of the brand is to develop pieces that are versatile by incorporating everyday pieces that can be translated to workwear essentials as well.
What are the key elements of your role at FoodFund international?
As head of Marketing and communication for FoodFund international, the key elements of my role are;
Creativity- by bringing a brand to life and introducing a new concept in a competitive market.
Communication – by creating enough brand awareness around the brand and keeping up with a strong interest to visit the venue
Budget – by having a great strategy aligned with the head office goals
But in general, I would say Crafting strategies for all our venues, including Digital, Advertising, Communications, and Creative.
Talk us through your daily routine.
I’m normally awake before my alarm around 8-8.30 am and snuggle in bed for a few minutes.
I jump into the shower and start my morning beauty routine. I try to stay away from the phone (texts, emails, and social media) for 1 hour or so, as I think self-care and “Me” time are so important before kicking a busy day.
I then get ready and start with my phone, then emails and start phone calls. I usually have a busy morning with meetings and admin for group marketing and like to keep my afternoon free to visit the venues and work from there.
Weekend and time off are usually dedicated to shooting and my clothing brand expansion.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?
I would like to advise anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps to
Break big goals into smaller tasks, by defining goals and what needs to be done to accomplish them. To have a vision and be consistent is key.
But as well Surround yourself with motivated people and stay focused. I have been blessed enough to join FoodFund International and be surrender with a great-minded leader and passionate team. They have always been a such great support and listen to ideas. Working with motivated people makes a difference, it becomes much easier to stay focused on your end goals. You’ll feel better about yourself. You’ll feel energized and motivated when you spend time with these people.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
Be audacious. Dare to explore. Be someone who shows new ways. It helped me to gain respect in the industry, network with like-minded professionals, and most importantly, build trust with my network. If I ever wanted something to be done, I had to jump from my comfort zone and challenge myself. Learning how to master a task and exploring new ways have helped me to grow and build my confidence.
And what is the worst?
I would say there are no bad pieces of advice. By seeking advice from different people you can develop smarter solutions to problems, deepen your thinking, and sharpen your decision-making. And by becoming a better adviser, you’ll extend your influence and learn from the people who come to you for guidance.
What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
I believe the biggest challenge is being able to be on top of everything I do. Leading the marketing and communication for 18 home-grown brands in a busy industry such as hospitality, and launching e-commerce in the region while keeping up with the hard work has been a journey. I am proud to say that I found the right balance, and am super excited about the future. A few more openings have been announced, and we are thrilled to introduce new concepts in the region.
What are the future plans for Foodfund International?
We are set to launch a new concept called Loren, an Italian restaurant located at The Club, Palm Jumeirah. We are also about to embrace our first opening season in October for SAN BEACH. I have a really busy schedule for the next six months, a lot of ideas to share, and many collaborations to focus on.
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