Interview with Deena Alawaid, Founder of Collective Hair Care in Dubai

Interview with Deena Alawaid, Founder of Collective Hair Care in Dubai

From her roots in Halifax to becoming a sought-after stylist in Dubai, Deena Alawaid stands out as a force in the world of hairstyling. Her portfolio is adorned with collaborations with A-list celebrities such as the Hadid sisters and Huda Kattan. She has also entered the world of entrepreneurship with the establishment of her brand, Collective.

Embark on a journey with Deena Alawaid, session stylist and founder of Collective, as she shares insights into her career, her brand, and the secrets behind her success.

Pillars behind the success

In the world of hairstyling, Deena Alawaid stands out as a force to be reckoned with. Growing up with parents who instilled a strong drive, she had a strong foundation and a sense of direction. She attributes her success to the incredible mentors who shaped her journey, saying,

“I owe a lot of my success to the amazing mentors I have had along the way. I grew up with parents who instilled drive and work ethic in me, and later, in hair school, I had instructors who taught me the business aspect as well as behind the chair.”

Upon moving to the UAE, she was able to collaborate with inspiring women who had established their own businesses. Their guidance provided a solid foundation when the time came for Deena to venture into entrepreneurship. She also received the necessary insights and expertise to navigate the industry.

Bridging the gap

Collective Haircare has successfully garnered attention for its innovative line of hair care products. She explains the inspiration behind establishing the brand and how it bridges the gap between professional salon hair and at-home maintenance. She notes,

“Collective Haircare started with the idea of bridging the gap between consumers and professionals, making it easy for clients to achieve salon-looking hair at home.”

The inspiration behind this venture stemmed from clients expressing their desire for salon-worthy looks at home. Focusing on style backstage and for red-carpet appearances at events, she recognized the need for straightforward yet efficient solutions. This led to the inception of the wax stick, the first product of the brand. She received overwhelming and positive responses from the clients for the same.

Providing the ultimate haircare solution

Speaking of the philosophy behind Collective Haircare, Deena says,

“The philosophy behind Collective Haircare is to provide easy-to-use styling products that act as a one-stop solution.”

There was a prevalent focus on color maintenance in salon products available off the shelves. Deena identified a significant market gap for easy-to-use styling products at home. People expressed their desire for a comprehensive solution rather than relying on multiple products. This realization fueled her passion to create a line that simplifies hairstyling while maintaining professional standards.

Deena, the accomplished hairstylist and entrepreneur behind Collective Haircare, emphasizes her meticulous consideration for the integrity of her clients' hair. She states,

“As a hairstylist, I'm always thinking about the integrity of my client's hair. The ingredients in our products are carefully chosen to maintain both hair health and style longevity.”

Reflecting on her experiences, particularly with the wax stick, she notes a common challenge in existing products that led her to create a line with ingredients aligned with her professional standards. Her dedication to passion and quality is evident in the formulation of products. The goal is to not only provide consumer-friendly products but also maintain a professional standard. She aims at providing accessible, quick, and effective solutions for everyone while upholding the highest quality.

Balancing career and motherhood

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As a successful entrepreneur and a mother, Deena Alawaid provides valuable insights into balancing career and motherhood without having to choose between the two. During the initial phase of her career, she hesitated to start a family fearing the challenges of balancing both responsibilities. However, Deena was inspired by numerous remarkable women including her siblings, who effortlessly navigated the realms of motherhood, business, and entrepreneurship. She explains,

“I realized that women are these amazing, incredible beings, and we can wear all hats and do it all. I did not ever want to have to choose between a successful career and motherhood.”

Deena dispels the notion of having to make an either-or choice between career and motherhood. Her journey reflects a realization that women are capable of achieving extraordinary feats in both their professional and personal lives.

Styling celebrities

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“In the moment when you are working with high-profile clients, it is another person, another head of hair. A client in your chair is someone that needs to have a service delivered, and our goal is to make sure our clients are satisfied.”

says Deena when asked about her experience working with high-profile clients such as the Hadid sisters and Huda Kattan. Throughout her career, she takes pride in treating everyone equally, highlighting that no one is more or less important. Regardless of whether the session encounters unforeseen challenges or progresses seamlessly, Deena remains focused on delivering excellent service and meeting the client's expectations.

Deena's global experiences, from fashion weeks to collaborations with influential figures, have humbled her. She underscores the competitiveness of the field while highlighting the abundance of opportunities. As she achieves greater success in her career, she acknowledges a responsibility to assist and guide future generations of hairstylists. This sense of duty fuels her desire to provide opportunities for others. She also expresses gratitude for the platform that enables her to contribute positively to the industry's future.

Reshaping the industry

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As a trailblazer in championing local talent on a global scale, she reflects on the transformation of the hairstyling industry in the Middle East. Having relocated a decade ago, she initially observed a lag in the industry's understanding of hairdressing methods. The industry had a strong focus on salon-centric practices that prioritized the growth of salons rather than individual stylist development. The industry has changed completely now, offering endless opportunities and career possibilities for stylists.

Beyond the confines of salon work, she envisions a diverse spectrum of roles, from entrepreneurship to collaborations with renowned brands and fashion houses. She believes that her brand Collective was able to reshape the industry opening doors of opportunities for the stylists in the region.

Looking into the future

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Deena expresses a deep passion for expanding the industry and nurturing her talented team. She underlines the importance of teamwork by acknowledging that her success is intricately linked to the ten stylists working alongside her. Deena is dedicated to constant improvement, attentively identifying gaps and envisioning growth opportunities, both on set and in the salon. Her focus is on bringing exciting developments to the Middle East, with a few exciting projects in the book.

Deena offers her wisdom to aspiring hairstylists and entrepreneurs. Drawing from her own journey in the industry, she emphasizes the importance of resilience and perseverance. She says,

“Get comfortable hearing ‘no’, because you will hear a lot of ‘no's and there will be a lot of hard lessons along the way.”

Deena reflects on her experiences and notes that encountering numerous rejections is a common aspect of entrepreneurship. Based on her conversations with fellow entrepreneurs, she underscores the reality that hearing multiple rejections is a shared experience before attaining that game-changing ‘yes’.  

With Collective, Deena continues to make strides in reshaping the future of the hairstyling industry.

Watch the Interview

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