Saturday, February 25, 2012

MDLM INTERVIEWS | HALEH NIA


Haleh Nia is nothing less than an innovator and an inspiration for women all across the globe. Having loved fashion from a young age, Haleh went on to establish the first online fashion magazine in the Middle East after noticing a gap in the market. Savoir Flair (Haleh's magazine) has now become the go to place on the web for a daily dose of fashion news and trends.

Based in Dubai, Haleh collaborates with a global team of people who work tirelessly together to ensure Savoir Flair always remains ahead of the curve. The sleek and simple layout of the website makes it an ideal platform to showcase a mix of global fashion trends and news whilst interjecting this with occasional features on local designers.

According to Haleh, there is no such thing as a typical day however, as this self confessed 'workaholic' runs through her exhaustive list of day to day tasks, it is evident that she enjoys every minute of her day. "It is the site I have always dreamt of!" exclaims Haleh. 

I have caught up with Haleh Nia to discover how she made it in the world of online media.

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What sparked your interest in fashion and journalism in particular?
I always excelled at writing in school, and have been a stickler for style since I was a little girl. Rumour has it I caused a tantrum at age three because I didn’t think my socks matched my shoes. I suppose it was inevitable that I ended up where I am today.

What was the trigger for you to establish Savoir Flair?
Coming from a long line of entrepreneurs in my family, I grew up knowing I wanted to start my own business. At first I also dabbled with the thought of opening a cupcakery (we didn’t have any of those either, back then) but my sights eventually returned to online publishing, which had always been my greater passion. There was a very visible niche in the region and I decided I simply had to be the person who started it. Even when I had a short stint at a major advertising agency for a mandatory college internship, it was all I thought about – day and night. The intern position was actually the only work experience I've had other than Savoir Flair.

Has the experience been what you expected or have you been surprised by the response you got?
The past few years have been the most rewarding and challenging of my life. I can’t say enough good things about starting your own brand. It builds you like few other experiences do. That being said, the downside to being your own boss and running your own business is that you’re always connected, 24/7. My mind never shuts off from work and I'm a million times more responsible for the growth and success of the company than if I were an employee elsewhere. Luckily, the response to our brand has been overwhelming and we have gone from strength to strength every year.

Where is your favourite place in Dubai to go to? 
I love all the typical fashion hangouts – anywhere I can sit with my fashion BFFs and have a hilariously good time. And of course I'm guilty of the answer everyone else will tell you: I adore La Petite Maison!

What advice would you give to an aspiring editor?
 Be humble and hungry. No task is too small, and resourcefulness is key. Most importantly, love what you do and be prepared to work harder than you've ever worked before.

Click here to visit Savoir Flair or follow Haleh Nia on Twitter @HalehNia or @SavoirFlair 

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