Dubai: Emirati Maryam Hassani wears many hats. She is a mother, a wife, a daughter and a businesswoman.
Ask her how she juggles the various roles, her reply is as candid as it can be.
I have learnt to wear many hats and I quite enjoy them. Through the years, I have realised that as an Emirati I have to prove myself harder than others. It is sad because we are producing some brilliant students. If you see the fresh graduates from UAE, several of them are Emiratis and many of them are topping their universities. I don’t know why we have to keep proving our ability and talent.”
Hassani, 40, is the co-founder of a jewellery store 55FIFTY7.
Born in Dubai — the city of pearls and gold — she always harboured a fascination for jewellery designing and decided to listen to her instinct three years ago.
Hassani has tried a hand at interior designing before and has seen success with it. And when she came across an opportunity to be a partner in this jewellery design store, she jumped right in.
Hassani has had a love affair with arts right from an early age. She decided to nurture her love for the arts by joining the Design Institute of San Diego.
Following her graduation in 2002 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design, she founded LINX Interiors and began designing homes and offices. She later went on to become a gemologist and interior designer.
Fueled by a desire to create her own masterpieces and having grown up in an entrepreneurial family, it was only a matter of time before Hassani merged the two facets of her life together.
Her flair for jewellery coupled with an undeniable desire to foster creativity led her to the path as co-founder and principal designer of 55FIFTY7.
In 2017, Hassani’s efforts were recognized at the AI Influential Business Woman Awards, where she was awarded "Best Woman-Owned Jewellery Designer-UAE" and "Most Inspirational Woman in Jewellery Design-UAE".
'Hard work is key'
“I could not have done this without learning to switch on and off my various roles. The fact that I am able to switch my role as a mother, wife, daughter and businesswoman as swiftly as possible is a major plus. Being an Emirati, I don’t take advantage of the fact that I am a local.
"As Emiratis, there are several benefits we are handed, but it will get us nowhere if we are lazy and take undue advantage of the benefits given to us. Hard work is key and we are doing that.”
The concept behind 55FIFTY7 is to inspire people to create their own designs and translate them into signature jewellery using state-of-the-art technology available for jewellery designing.
Hassani infuses traditional Emirati culture with contemporary international designs to create wearable jewellery.
“55 is the longitude of Dubai and 57 is the number of facets in a perfectly cut diamond, so the name 55FIFTY7 literally means Dubai, the perfectly cut diamond.”
Encouraging youth,budding designers
Hassani sees youth as an integral part of the development of this sector of the business and so she regularly conducts courses and lessons for young children. Her passion to nurture young talent leads her to believe that success in any art has its roots in the family environment.
Added, growing up in an entrepreneurial family with a burning desire to create from a young age, Hassani said she has always wanted to be an artist.
“As a child I received a lot of encouragement from my family to pursue my goals and dreams. After marriage as well I received a lot of support from my husband to be independent. And I want to reach out to as many people to empower them and make them independent.
“Like me, there are several others who harbor a similar desire to create their own designs but don’t have avenues for it. This is exactly why I have created a DIY concept at the store for children and jewellery enthusiasts to make their own designs. When you create your own masterpiece jewellery, the thrill of seeing it with your label on it gives a great sense of accomplishment.”
Hassani has introduced an "incubator concept" at her studio located in Dubai Design District (D3), helping budding designers by sponsoring and supporting them in upcoming design competitions and also helping them produce their own line of jewellery.
From sketching and application, the designers learn to produce their very own bespoke jewellery piece. People get the opportunity to design their own individual masterpiece with their label on it and it is rather encouraging for jewellery enthusiasts.
A video at the end of the journey showing the process of their creation is like an icing on the cake.
“Business is in my blood. As far as I can remember, I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur. My father started his business from humble beginnings at the age of eight. He is a self-made businessman and has inspired me a lot.
"From my mother, I have learnt tenacity and determination. The fact that she raised nine children on her own says a lot about her capabilities. I have learnt from them to be ambitious and achieve my goals in the best possible way.”
“My children were raised in my office. They have seen me working hard for a living and somewhere this is going to register with them. The least I can do is set a good example for my children and encourage children and jewellery enthusiasts to make their signature designs and sell it.”