Name: Sarah Saleh

Name of business: RAW Bags.

What do you do?
Responsibly made limited edition bucket bags.

Where can we get our mitts on your products?
RIPE Markets, Dubai and online at www.littlemajlis.com/shop/raw and www.etsy.com/shop/RAWbag

How did you get started?
In 2003, I received my BFA in interior design, followed by an extensive experience in event planning and stage design. In 2011, I launched an online store that supports handmade furniture designers. In efforts to expand the business I started freelancing the service of supply chain management with one of the most prominent names in fashion in the region! Early 2013, I found myself drawn to start my own private collection of bags and been doing that since..

Who and what inspire you?
The types of women I get to meet inspire me; some are energetic and loud, others are relaxed and love their monochromes. Some are hippie and others are ultra modern. Fabrics are my starting point in anything I design. I usually go shop for fabrics and then brainstorm not the other way around.
How do you split your time? Is there a day job?
I am a mum, so my day starts and ends with my daughter! In between that I get some work done, run errands and create new designs.

What is your workspace like?
A mess! But a very organised one.

What are your essential tools of the trade?
Honesty, quality and punctuality in delivery dates or meetings.

Creative highlight so far?
I started designing clutches and totes but my highlight was that moment I decided to venture into designing 'bucket bags'.

Which UAE companies and creatives do you admire?
There's a local brand called TAMASHEE that I admire for thinking out of the box. And Zeinab Al Hashemi for love her approach of creating unique designs.
Why is supporting small businesses so important to you?
Small businesses are the core of any city; they are usually created by young generations, they reflect the city's energy and its entrepreneurial vibes. And they are the best representatives of any community.

Small businesses are also customer service-orientated, so you get the chance to personalise your order and bend some rules. I get to directly benefit a family or a person. I contribute to the local economy, not just to big brands and international designers. I raise the bar for competition among local independent designers therefore create a more competitive design community that can someday compete with international names.

What else can be done in Dubai to get more people buying local?
Easier and less costly ways to register home businesses will create more trust between the seller and buyer. There needs to be more marketing and media coverage about:

- craft markets and local designers.

- the qualities you would find when you purchase from a local designer/business

-the story behind locally made products versus a 'Made in China' item.

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