Beenas success story is a Rags to Riches one. Starting her career as a make-up artist and earning a pittance of just Dhs. 500 per month in 1993 to becoming one of the leading and very popular Jalabiya designer in the Emirates with an annual turnover of more than Dhs. 1,250,000/-.
Beena was born in India in a traditional conservative Indian family where girls were not encouraged to study as education was only considered to be important for boys. Ever since Beena was a little girl, she had been interested in clothes. The first dresses she ever made were for her Barbie dolls. Nothing else seemed more interesting or satisfying to Beena than matching colours and fabrics to create new looks. As she matured, her interest in tailoring grew. Though she never learnt anything professionally, it was all through trial and error – sort of on the job training.
In 1993, Beena moved to the U.A.E. to work as a make-up artist against her families, wishes. She worked for the U.A.E. National Ladies and would visit their houses, chat to them and do their make-up for parties, weddings, etc. With regular interaction with them, she learnt to speak fluent Arabic and made good friends. Beena's earnings at that time was a pittance – just Dhs. 500 per month.
Beena used to make suggestions to them about what outfit would be good with a certain make-up look. This then graduated into advice about how they could change their outfits to look better. Soon it became a habit for them to ask for her advice, and even request her to modify their garments. Then finally, one lady said; Why don't you design me and make me a collection?
It was a daunting task for her as she had never taken a tailoring class in her life, but her determination and hard work paid off and she presented the collection to her as a gift. The lady was so happy with her collection because it was totally different and unique. The very next day Beena got a call from another local lady who asked to speak to "the designer". Beena did not know who she mean't, so she asked "What designer?" The lady answered "The designer who created Fatima's new wardrobe and she wanted the designer to make a collection for her also."
Beena was stunned, but threw her efforts into the new project. After that second order, there was another, another - and another. She gave up her job and was busy working 18 hours a day just to get the orders finished. Beena invested every Dirham she earned back into the garment business and soon things began to grow. Eventually she was designing new collection of about 30 Jalabiyas every three months. She worked on three levels – day outfits, evening outfits and very ornate special dresses for weddings.
Beena's persistence paid off – There she was, an uneducated Indian woman designing Jalabiyas for some of the U.A.E.'s most important and prominent women.