Tamara Al Zaq, Founder, The Artists House By T
In the whirlwind of the business world, where everyone’s chasing the golden goose, it’s all too easy to lose sight of what truly matters. Yet, in this fiercely competitive realm, there exists a rare breed of leaders who march to a different beat – those who steer their teams with not just their skills but their hearts, with authenticity and integrity at their very core. In a world where leadership often seems like a race for power, these true visionaries strive to lead by example while inspiring a new generation of leaders to view success through a different lens, one that prioritizes people, values, and a deep sense of purpose. One such luminary who embodies this authentic and integrity-driven leadership with a passion that’s nothing short of inspiring is Tamara Al Zaq, the Founder of The Artists House By T also known as TaShByT.
Tamara’s entrepreneurial journey took shape when she uncovered her deep passion for art and the products created by artists in lifestyle, home design, and fashion during her university years. She felt a unique connection and a deep bond with these creators, their visions, and the stories behind their creations. This kindled a strong desire in her heart to translate their artistic expressions into a meaningful market presence. But instead of conventional marketing, Tamara aimed to craft compelling narratives that resonated with potential clients. From the beginning, she had a clear vision and meticulously planned each step of her career to gain the necessary skills and knowledge. Starting in luxury tableware, she transitioned to high-end fashion, embracing retail and distribution roles, which allowed her to gain insights into brand management while staying connected with consumers across various parts of the Middle East region.
Putting Customers at the Heart of Brands
Throughout her journey, Tamara achieved remarkable milestones, particularly as an Arabic woman in the Middle Eastern business landscape, forming close alliances with esteemed international brands. Her journey took her through various brand categories and roles, allowing her to hone her ability to build brands, capture market share, and foster brand loyalty through innovative strategies. But eventually, she reached a point where her corporate journey felt constrained by rigid guidelines and limitations. So, she made the tough call to step away from a prestigious position in a major international group, a choice not easily understood or endorsed by all. However, she found unwavering support from her husband, Martin, and her mentor, Nicolas Cordier, who understood her true passion lies in innovative strategies and authentic brand connections.
With their support, she established TaShByT in Dubai, a country that held a special place in her heart. Her dream was to establish a platform, both online and offline, uniting creators and beauty enthusiasts while collaborating closely with brands she’s passionate about, sharing their stories and creations.Through this platform, she aimed to convince brands to shift from soulless, repetitive practices to a 360-degree strategy with a focus on long-term objectives and a deep understanding of consumer expectations. “It’s undoubtedly a challenging journey, but I’m confident that with dedication and consistency, TaShByT will transform the industry and contribute to a new era of communication where the customer is at the heart of the brand,” proclaims Tamara.
Embracing Challenges as Stepping Stone to Success
Throughout her illustrious career, Tamara has encountered a multitude of personal and professional challenges. But she doesn’t see these challenges as stumbling blocks but, rather, as invaluable opportunities to learn, grow and evolve. It all began when, as a fresh graduate, she left her home country to make a mark in Dubai, where pursuing a career as a woman came with its own set of hurdles. At the time, it was not easy for women to pursue careers that involved extensive travel and team management. But Tamara was determined to prove that one’s gender should never define their capabilities. Despite lacking powerful connections or financial support, she was committed to her dreams.
As her corporate career was drawing to a close, she faced an unexpected opportunity – to lead a project in China. Many saw it as a wild idea, given the market’s isolation and language barriers. Yet, for Tamara, it was an exhilarating opportunity to explore the unknown. Upon arriving in China, she found herself struggling to communicateand resorting to translation apps. But undeterred, she immersed herself in the local culture, spending time in stores and markets across different regions to connect with people. “The key to our success in this venture was assembling a fantastic team that not only grasped the nuances of the market but also collaborated seamlessly in developing and executing the right strategies. What’s truly valuable is that it wasn’t just a one-way street of leadership; I learned just as much from them,” emphasizes Tamara. Her approach to challenges is rooted in a set of guiding principles: positivity, risk-taking, confidence, adaptability, mentorship, creativity, collaboration, continuous learning, and gratitude. Keeping these values at the core, she approaches each obstacle with a calm, positive, and analytical mindset, never allowing them to overshadow her determination.
Redefining Connections, Trust, and Authenticity
Under the indomitable leadership of Tamara, today, TaShByT is revolutionizing the way brands engage with their audiences, artists, and communities.The essence of their uniqueness lies in their co-creation approach, one that actively involves the community in shaping brand narratives rather than dictating them. However, what truly sets TaShByT apart is their unwavering commitment to building trust. They strive to be a reliable and authentic source of inspiration for the community they serve, nurturing enduring connections, what they affectionately call the “love factor.”
TaShByT’s uniqueness also shines through its groundbreaking approach to marketing and brand introduction. Unlike traditional agencies, they don’t simply offer off-the-shelf solutions. Instead, they operate as a creative space, crafting bespoke strategies for each brand. “What makes us special is our ability to blend creative marketing with a deep understanding of business dynamics and ROI, ensuring that every campaign we undertake is not just creative but also results-driven,” shares Tamara.
The heart of TaShByT’s success lies in its diverse, creative team that connects with the mindset of Gen Z and millennials, keeping TaShByT ahead of the curve. But TaShByT isn’t just about influencer marketing; they advocate for a more meaningful approach, encouraging brands to collaborate with creators who align not only with brand values but also genuinely connect with their target audience. Beyond their work with brands, TaShByT is equally dedicated to supporting artists based on their talent and creativity, fostering collaborations between them and brands through initiatives like their offline events, “the open house.”TaShByT firmly stands against endorsing products or practices that aim to drastically alter one’s appearance or compromise integrity for the sake of a brand name. “Our goal isn’t just to conduct business but to forge new paths that benefit our community and creators, all while staying true to our core values,” affirms Tamara.
Balancing Career and Motherhood: A Journey of Self-Discovery
In the early years of her career, Tamara gave her all, pouring her heart and soul into her professional pursuits, and finding immense satisfaction in her achievements. But it was the arrival of her daughter, Ella, that forced her to reassess her priorities. Suddenly, she found herself grappling with the conflicting demands of motherhood and her career. But with the unwavering support of her husband and mentor, she embarked on a path of self-discovery, seeking therapy and coaching to better understand the mental and emotional challenges she was facing. This is when she realized that work-life balance is not an exclusive challenge for working women but a universal struggle in today’s era of ceaseless connectivity and high expectations. The transformation began when she decided to return to work with a new mindset and lifestyle.
To maintain this balance, Tamara adopted a structured schedule and a game-changing practice of switching off her phone when she returned home, firmly setting boundaries between work and personal time. The result was astonishing—she became more productive at work while nurturing her personal life, rekindling her passion for motherhood. Furthermore, she added “Me time” to her daily routine — a dedicated slot for herself to recharge and reconnect through activities like reading, drawing, or yoga. Hailing from a background where opportunities were scarce, she faced the unique challenges of a young woman in a male-dominated arena. But rather than succumbing to stereotypes, she chose to let her actions and character be her voice. In a world where business cards often define identity, Tamara chose to rise above the confines of a job title, letting her actions speak for herself. This decision reflects her commitment to staying grounded and authentic throughout her career. In Tamara’s words, “I realized that success is not solely about working hard; it’s about truly living and enjoying the journey rather than focusing on reaching the destination. It’s vital to acknowledge one’s achievements but equally essential to remain true to one’s values and not let success change who you are.”
Forging a Creative Legacy in Dubai
Charting her path forward with TaShByT, Tamara aspires to expand its global presence through the imminent launch of an innovative online platform that will serve as an open invitation for more artists and community members to join their ecosystem.Their vision is to make TaShByT the world’s largest online social communityfor art and artists, revolutionizing the culture, mindset, and practices in the industry. “Our commitment to innovation and community building remains unwavering, and we’re excited about the future possibilities and the opportunity to inspire upcoming entrepreneurs in the region,”exclaims Tamara.
While Tamara humbly refrains from labelling herself as an entrepreneur or successful, she generously shares her experiences in the hope of kindling inspiration in others. Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, especially those in Dubai’s competitive business environment, is to have the courage to bring their brilliant ideas to life. She emphasizes that countless game-changing ideas in the world are born and die without ever seeing the light of day because of fear or hesitation. Thus, she advises entrepreneurs to believe in themselves and give their ideas a chance to thrive. Dubai is a place where talents can shine brightly, and dreams can take flight. So, she encourages all the budding entrepreneurs out there to embrace their unique journey, believe in themselves, and make the most of the extraordinary environment that Dubai has to offer. “Your path may be challenging, but it’s also bursting with endless possibilities, and it has the power to inspire countless others along the way,” affirms Tamara on a concluding note.