Here We Start

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah, founder of Sail Publishing, a digital publishing house for online magazines and ebooks, and editor in chief of the Emirati Sail Magazine, an online magazine about community and culture written in English by Emirati columnists. Iman is a multi award winner in digital publishing, entrepreneurship, and literature. Iman has also completed the Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media Course in Yale University. Besides her work in publishing, she also lectures in Canadian University in Dubai.
Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Dear Sail Readers,

We are back from our September break with new content for this month as usual.

One of the additions we are starting this month is a new column called “Scenes of Life” by the professional life coach Mrs. Rawan Albina. This column will include motivational life values that hopefully will inspire our readers.

So here is an exhibit of our topics for this month:

• Think Aloud: In this issue we discuss about the importance of financial literacy and how can it be attained.
• Scenes of Life: Is laziness always a bad thing or can it sometimes be healthy for your productivity? Rawan Albina will explain more about that in her new column
• Interview: We talk with Aljoud Lootah, the lady behind “Niftee”. How did she start with Niftee, how did it grow, and much more.
• Spotlights: Eric Thomas gives a talk on how can you be successful.

Here We Start – Think AloudScenes from LifeInterviewSpotlights

Hope you enjoy the read!

With warm regards,
Iman Ben Chaibah, Editor in Chief

The Importance of Financial Literacy

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah, founder of Sail Publishing, a digital publishing house for online magazines and ebooks, and editor in chief of the Emirati Sail Magazine, an online magazine about community and culture written in English by Emirati columnists. Iman is a multi award winner in digital publishing, entrepreneurship, and literature. Iman has also completed the Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media Course in Yale University. Besides her work in publishing, she also lectures in Canadian University in Dubai.
Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

By Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

One of the trendy words nowadays is “Financial Literacy”. As a way of thinking, it has started long ago; but as an actual term, it only started picking up in the last decade. This happened when an international organization, “The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)”, initiated a project to start improving and standardizing financial literacy across the member countries. From there, it started spreading across the globe. So what is financial literacy? Why is it essential? How and when do you start it?

Financial literacy is to have the required background knowledge on different financial terminologies and calculations. Through these, you’d be able to make wise decisions on spending, investments, savings and so on. This sort of literacy includes fully understanding the meaning and long term value of terms like assets, stocks, mutual funds, retirement, cash flow, loans, credit cards, wealth, interest rates, inflation, and so on.

So why is financial literacy important? In a consumer & business world, financial literacy is becoming a required life skill. Lack of financial literacy leads to money mismanagement, one of the major causes leading to depression. Money issues are also one of the major factors that lead to divorce around the world. Financial literacy is essential for anyone who is considering starting a business; the lack of it either doesn’t allow you to start up or leads to bankruptcy. And finally, aside of many other obligations for financial literacy, this sort of literacy leads to financial growth in the community, this eventually reflects on the country’s economy.

So how is financial literacy acquired and when do you start it? We are obviously not born with knowledge in financial literacy; it is something we have to acquire consciously or unconsciously by time. You either acquire it from your family, education, peers, or self education & experiences.

Not all families have the abilities to instill financial literacy in their children. Financial education among children is more prominent between families with business background and those who have their own investments. In those families, instilling the value of money, wise spending, the awareness of different investment approaches, the practicality of business start-ups and many more starts at very young ages. It’s a conscious effort undertaken by the family, and due to the early starts of this process, these values get implanted in children’s minds firmly.

Education in this region is not yet mature in this sort of literacy, except when it comes to students who are specializing in the finance and accounting fields. Else, sadly, it’s not part of the mandatory primary education. This, being a growing required life skill, should start being integrated with schools’ curriculums as certain countries are already starting to do so and not as a separate subject but rather with the main subjects. Financial literacy is suggested to integrate its vocabulary with the language subjects, calculation methods through math subjects, and technological application uses through the technology subjects, and so on.

As for family, acquiring financial literacy from peers happens only when the peers do have that sort of financial literacy through businesses, start-ups, or even family environment. Hence the known saying, “pick your friends wisely”, because you do influence and get influenced by both of your knowledge background. So, you either prosper together or you lead each other to weak financial decisions.

Finally, self-education is done as self-education in any field of life. By meeting people who are experts in the matter, reading books and magazines that talk about financial literacy, from listening to interviews and seminars by financial and business experts, by experiencing first hand financial exercises, and so on.

It is never too early to start financial education. The earlier those values are implanted, the earlier you can avoid the financial risks and ill decisions that may drain your financials all through your future. So invest your time to learn about the topic, invest in your children with educating them in this matter. Sometimes a passing financial tip you get can literally saves you a fortune. So always share the knowledge and the cycle will always find its way back to you.

Here We Start – Think Aloud – Scenes from LifeInterviewSpotlights

Is Laziness a Good Thing?

Rawan Albina (@RawanAlbina)

Rawan, CPCC, ACC, is a Professional Certified Coach, owner of Leap Coaching & Training whose life’s mission is to help women achieve their dreams.
Her strongly positive nature and calm demeanor enables her to gently draw out a person’s full potential as she helps them get in touch with their passions, find their purpose and LEAP into a truly fulfilling and extraordinary life.
Women who are at a crossroads in life, young women ‘Entreprenettes’ and teenagers have all found a strong guide in Rawan who has helped them discover the life skills needed to begin the new phases in their life with confidence.

Latest posts by Rawan Albina (@RawanAlbina) (see all)

By Rawan Albina ( @RawanAlbina)

Are you a starter or a completer? Do you find that you often get excited about new ideas and new activities, start them and soon enough just lose interest and move on to something else? You might start feeling guilty about it, blaming yourself and that voice in your head starts reminding you of all the previous times you have done exactly the same thing… “When will you ever learn? You are just a starter. You can never finish anything! You are lazy and a procrastinator, so why waste your time and energy?”

If this sounds like you, do not worry, you are not alone! Instead of putting yourself down, step out of this negative space into a more curious one; a space where you are not judging yourself, but rather trying to understand your relationship to laziness and procrastination. Try replacing your “why” questions with “what” questions for a change. So “why am I so lazy” turns into “what does laziness mean to me? What does it bring me?” “What do I like about being lazy and what do I hate about it?”

You can also ask a “who” question: “who am I being when I am low on energy and do not feel like doing anything?”

Laziness is very connected to the self-limiting beliefs that are imposed on us as children by our family, school and society. When you grow up with the idea that laziness is a bad thing, you can never accept it as a part of you. The feeling of guilt will always be there to accompany it.

You must be thinking this is crazy! Is she actually saying that laziness is a good thing? Well, it depends on how you look at it. From my experience working with clients from all walks of life, anything that creates a feeling of guilt in you is worth investigating. We all make mistakes and instead of judging ourselves, we should be able to forgive ourselves and allow ourselves to learn and grow from the lesson presented. You can either choose laziness and procrastination to be part of your life or not! A very important concept to understand is the fact that whenever you are being lazy you are deciding to be lazy; you are actually making that choice.

So is choosing to be lazy always a bad thing? Not necessarily. In today’s day and age, laziness has become a luxury. Life has become so fast that we constantly feel like we are running; always heading somewhere. Sometimes we are not even sure where we are heading.
I encourage you to stop every now and then and give your body and your mind a much-needed break. Allow yourself to be lazy without feeling guilty. Just make sure that laziness is a choice, not an excuse. When you decide to be lazy you are in control. This means that you have your priorities sorted and you are not procrastinating on an important task. Whatever is in the pipeline can actually wait.

It is only when laziness and procrastination become a habit that they become dangerous.

Here is a typical day in the life of a procrastinator: they sleep late, their body does not get the rest it needs to refuel and start a fresh new day, they drag themselves to work, get there late, rely on coffee to keep them awake, half focus on the tasks that need to be done for the day, have a quick most probably unhealthy lunch because they need to get back to work, try hard not to fall asleep on their desk and end up staying late to meet the deadlines for the day while postponing any items that can wait till the next day. They were meant to go to the gym after work but obviously do not have any energy left so they get home, grab a bite and fall asleep on the sofa watching TV.

And this is how the cycle starts. Delaying things like sleep, meals, work tasks, workout, fun, time with family and friends… and the list goes on and on until you are actually delaying your own life. You keep saying to yourself that you will see that friend you have not seen in so long tomorrow or learn a new language or an instrument next month. But the reality is unless you stop right now and take control you will wake up one day and wish you had. Do not allow feelings of guilt and inadequacy consume you. Take charge now because life waits for no one.

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Rawan Albina is a Dubai-based professional coach. You can learn more about her and her work by:
– Visiting her website www.leapconsultancy.ae

– Follow her on Twitter @RawanAlbina
– Or join her Facebook Fan Page “Life on a Treadmill
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Here We StartThink Aloud – Scenes from Life – InterviewSpotlights

Aljoud Lootah’s “Niftee”, From a College Project to a Business

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah, founder of Sail Publishing, a digital publishing house for online magazines and ebooks, and editor in chief of the Emirati Sail Magazine, an online magazine about community and culture written in English by Emirati columnists. Iman is a multi award winner in digital publishing, entrepreneurship, and literature. Iman has also completed the Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media Course in Yale University. Besides her work in publishing, she also lectures in Canadian University in Dubai.
Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Interviewed by Shaima Al Tamimi ( @iamshaima)

  • How did the Niftee concept start?

I studied graphic design at the Higher Colleges of Technology and was asked to submit a design project for one of my courses, so I thought of printing my designs on t-shirts. I have always wanted to combine my passion for both design and fashion, and this was the chance where I could experiment with both.

The funny thing is, I started getting a lot of requests from family, friends and college girls who loved the design concept of my prints. It sounded like a good idea to test the market, so I developed a concept and charged for my t-shirts rather than give them out for free. I never looked back ever since.

  • What was it like to register Niftee as a business?

It all started as a “one-man” show. I wanted to keep every angle of Niftee under my control. It is always good to have big dreams, but clever to start small and take things step by step. I applied for Intilaq, a trade license that allows you to set up business from home. It is very convenient and keeps your overheads at a minimal cost. This, in turn, allowed me to focus more on my branding strategy and source the best quality textiles for my product.

  • Do you only make T-shirts?

Nope. Even though that is how the concept started, I expanded into creating my designs on dresses, jumpsuits, cashmere and silk shawls.

  • Who are your customers?

They are not easy to pin down, as most of my customers are from different backgrounds and ages. I try to introduce a new product every now and then to keep the brand fresh and interesting. For instance, girls and ladies mostly buy the t-shirts, jumpsuits and dresses because of the playfulness in their designs. Other ladies go for the personalized cashmere shawls and blankets that I customize with calligraphy prints of poems, proverbs, names or anything they request, and they are usually given out as gifts.

I have recently introduced t-shirts for men that depict a verse from one of the late Sheikh Zayed’s poems written in Arabic calligraphy Kufi style and designed with a modern twist to form an Argyle pattern.

A few months back, I was commissioned by the Office of Brand Abu Dhabi where I designed two silk scarves for the President of the UAE cup series, which were given out as VIP gifts at the races in the UK, Paris, Russia and the United States.

I get a lot of requests from companies to design shawls for their staff with the corporate logo.

I am definitely blessed with the support I have been getting from friends, family and international media.

  • Over the past 3 years, what has changed about the strategy of running Niftee?

I started out really small, with launching few t-shirts every few months, but over the past 3 years I have realized that there is a void in the market, which I could fill with high-quality pieces and unique designs.

And because the fashion industry is always evolving, I revisit my strategy every once in a while in order to see if there is an aspect I need to work on, new elements that I should introduce, or wider segment of people that I should target.

  • How do you juggle two jobs together?

It is all about time management (and having understanding managers!). When you love something so much, you will always have the time to do it.

  • How do you measure the success of Niftee?

To me, a brand is successful by the number of supporters, positive feedback from customers, random blog posts about it, magazine/newspaper features, and finally, by the number of orders.

  • Where do you see Niftee going in the future?

I always have big plans for Niftee. Whether it is by expanding the collections & introducing new items or working on a new look for the website. I am constantly updating the brand in order to reach a wider segment of the target market.

I am also studying the potential of stocking at several boutiques & department stores in the UAE and GCC, and the feasibility of introducing items other than apparel to the market.

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For more about Niftee:
– You can view the website www.Niftee.ae
– Facebook fanpage: Niftee
– And you can follow on twitter: @NifteeAE
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Here We StartThink AloudScenes from Life – Interview – Spotlights

Secret to Success by Eric Thomas

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah, founder of Sail Publishing, a digital publishing house for online magazines and ebooks, and editor in chief of the Emirati Sail Magazine, an online magazine about community and culture written in English by Emirati columnists. Iman is a multi award winner in digital publishing, entrepreneurship, and literature. Iman has also completed the Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media Course in Yale University. Besides her work in publishing, she also lectures in Canadian University in Dubai.
Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Often we pick talks from TED conference for this section, but this talk was very motivational and too good to be missed out.

This talk was given by Eric Thomas in a session he had with college students. He explained how to be successful in a very unique way.

Hope you get inspired!

Here We StartThink AloudScenes from LifeInterview – Spotlights