Arguably Saudi Arabia’s most gifted events planner, Sarah Al Dabbagh quite literally creates beauty for a living…
She has an exquisite eye for detail that only a special few are born with, and an endless stream of big ideas free of any parameters – you need only glance at her Instagram feed to see how her touch equals perfection. She represents a whole host of wonderful working women making a name for themselves in Saudi Arabia, and we feel she’s a fantastic role model and trailblazer for women not just in her home country, but around the world.
Her success story begins like many of our own – with a teenage girl that had a dream. This was a girl that loved celebration and ceremony in particular, and made it her mission to work her undeniable magic on bigger and better occasions. Today, she is the founder and owner of the much-revered Lace Events, ﬁnding inspiration in the everyday.
Tell us, what is it about planning events that you really love?
Oh, wow, so many things. I guess the process of creating and designing is my true passion, and it has been from a young age. I’ve always loved colours and combining them. I have this innate desire to embellish, to make things beautiful. The fact I get to do this for other people, that I’m able to utilise this life-long passion and help create the happiest days of people’s lives is truly incredible.
Did your family encourage this creativity?
Yes, absolutely. My parents, they never belittled anything I wanted to do. They’d always get me books to fuel my creativity, or if they attended an event they thought I’d appreciate, they’d send me pictures. I owe a lot to them.
Why do you think women love working with you?
When you’re passionate about something, people can feel it, they can tell it’s from the heart and that makes all the difference. My clients, they understand I’m doing it out of love.
What does it feel like to be a part of another person’s happiness?
It feels great. Honestly, I love it. Even though it’s such a huge responsibility and extremely stressful, the journey is always just as beautiful as the end result. Whilst I’ve been really lucky with my clients, it’s still not easy; you go through so many things together. I wouldn’t have it any other way though. It’s my life.
In the beginning, what was the biggest challenge?
Getting people to trust me before I had a proper portfolio was hard, so it started slowly with a handful of people that knew me and knew of my lifelong passion. Then, once you start, it gets much easier. Taking that first step, it’s always the hardest, but you have to do it to get where you want to go.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I travel a lot. I love it and I use it as a way to reinvigorate, but it’s also something I have to do to keep my head full with fresh ideas. Every year I take the summer off to explore the world. It’s the off season for me so I have time to experience new cultures, new ideas, new scenery. The world is full of inspiration and I get to immerse myself in it often.
New York is one of my favourite places in the world. The energy, how I feel when I’m there…there’s something about it that just makes me happy. I see things through a new lens when I’m there. I walk everywhere, something I never do in Saudi since we always take cars between places. I go to all the museums, interact with the people…
I make the most of the fact it’s cooler and the freedom this small change gives me to just be outside.
How would you describe your style?
In general, I believe less is more. I’m a minimalist at heart. Simplicity doesn’t mean it’s easy, however. It’s so much harder to do something simple and have people talk about it than throw a totally over the top event. But that’s exactly the sort of challenge I love.
Is there one person in your life you feel you couldn’t have done any of this without?
I know it sounds cliché, but it’s my parents. They always supported me, encouraged me, they never held me back. They just wanted me to find my own way, and to follow my passion. I’ll be forever grateful to them.
Finally, what advice would you give to a woman looking to start her own business?
You need to believe in what you’re looking to do. It can’t just be a money maker. If you’re passionate about something, you’ll go far.
"When you’re passionate about something, people can feel it, they can tell it’s from the heart"