Fatma Hamad Al-Thani’s life till her 20s was entirely spent in trying out varied schools and universities. She wasted several years on this account, for varied reasons; such as her lack of desire to study, the loss of her father. After the introduction of independent schools in 2006, she got a teaching job, where she taught English, Science and Math. She left the job in 2008 and worked in a bank for one year, after which she interned for a short period in a local high fashion magazine, Haute Muse. While shifting between these jobs, Fatma was active in establishing an abaya line and a cupcake business. Her abaya business helped in getting her a job as a senior stylist with a TV channel. Despite being required to work hard for long hours, this was her most nurturing experience. She became the department manager but left in 2014. However, this job helped her a great deal in improving her communication skills, because of being exposed to different nationalities and cultures. Her vast experiences made her confident that she did not require a university degree to become successful in life.
In 2014, Fatma began increasing her presence on social media and built a massive base of followers, particularly at a time when very few Qatari females were active on social media. She got married as well as divorced in 2015, and during this period she became less active on social media, even though she continued to work on small fashion lines. In 2016 she decided to use her account to market local products. Because of her vast exposure to different concepts, she succeeded in many business consultations. However, by the end of 2017, Fatma had become disenchanted with social media and decided to take the leap in enriching herself through self-growth and spirituality. This changed her life drastically and she began sharing her experiences and defining moments with her followers on social media. However, many of them were unable to understand Fatma’s spirituality and self-growth concepts. Gradually, the number of her followers began declining. Nevertheless, Fatma was happy because of the confidence she gained from the followers. In staying back, they indirectly confirmed that they were interested in the changes she experienced.
During the month of Ramadan 2018, Fatma was invited to a local restaurant named Sadu by the owner. She had a bad experience there. She was upset that the restaurant’s full potential was not being utilized by the owner. She met the owner and incidentally, he was actually aware of all the shortcomings, and was about to sell or close the place. Fatma believed that Sadu has the potential and offered to become his partner. She adopted a positive approach in making a proactive strategy to run the restaurant. She was highly passionate about food, interiors and other aspects of the restaurant business, but also knew that she could not execute all the work on her own. She decided to source the best local talent for the restaurant. She partnered with Chef Noor Al-Mazrouei, who worked on the menu. In addition, Anfal AlKandri, Fatma’s sister, who owned a coffee shop; Red Tiger, helped her in developing the coffee at the restaurant, while Hind Al-Subaei, owner of Plush Events took care of the interior. Business was soon booming at Sadu restaurant.
In fact, Sadu became a platform for Fatma to showcase her marketing skills that she gained from her previous activities on social media. She retailed local products, and held workshops and events, thus making Sadu more than just a restaurant. Another project owned by Fatma is ‘Mlboos’. It aims at breaking the boundaries placed by society on de-cluttering belongings and buying previously owned items. The best part of ‘Mlboos’ is that even though most items are given away free, payments made by some people are diverted to charity.
Piece of advice from Fatma:
“My university experience and not holding a degree isn’t necessarily the best option for everyone. Having a degree is important. Get a degree but be lenient when you enter the real world and don’t ask for so much. The most important thing is exposure. Enjoy the experiences that you can gain after graduating and don’t reject opportunities based on their size. You’re at an age where you do absolutely everything. It used to be shameful for locals to stand and sell in their own stores, but today people applaud it. Be humble. The degree is a solid base, but the experience is what is going to get you there.”