By Sandhya D'Mello Khaleej Times, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) "Shower Tower" creates luxury soaps that are replicas of the magnificent buildings they pay tribute to. Currently, the company has launched its Burj Khalifa replica, which is in high demand.
Dubai has had such an innovative growth as a city that it has naturally developed an ambitious attitude that is very infectious. The fact the Shower Tower Company exists is a testament to the opportunities Dubai has given me, said Astrid Ellis, founder of Shower Tower.
The company is into making luxury soaps that are replicas of the magnificent buildings they pay tribute to.
They are made by the finest soap manufacturer in Austria who have been crafting soap since the 1800s and are distributed in leading malls in Dubai. Currently, the company has launched its Burj Khalifa replica, which is highly in demand for corporate gifting.
"The initial inspiration for the Shower Tower was Dubai itself," said Ellis. "I wanted to find a unique way to pay tribute to the stunning city that I now call home. Dubai is a city of travellers, whether residents or visitors, but it can be hard to find a high quality gift or souvenir that properly captures your experience. Our soapenir is made entirely of organic, natural soap that is soft, invigorating, youthful and full of memories. Its shape honours the Burj Khalifa and is scented with rich lavender, so your whole bathroom will smell like a luxury spa."
The key ingredient in the soap is shea butter, which is a skin 'superfood' and will moisturise and hydrate your skin. "It makes the perfect gift, whether to a loved one or yourself, and can be used on any occasion to underline your love for Dubai," said Ellis.
Ellis thinks it is an honor to live in the UAE, a nation that actively empowers women. Not only are women well-represented in the government, but there are also many initiatives that encourage female entrepreneurship. From forums, investments, mentorships and social media groups, there are multiple avenues for women to get advice and assistance in building a better life.
Inspiration "It is inspirational to see so many women in positions of power, from the corporate world to the royal family, continue to achieve greatness and foster that achievement in others. It certainly made me feel inspired when it came to developing the Shower Tower," she said.
Ellis pointed out that Dubai's geographical positioning encourages residents to consider bigger dreams and grander ideas. Unlike many other countries, Dubai and the UAE provide unlimited opportunities for women to forge exciting careers and to choose more entrepreneurial routes.
It is part of the nation's aim to be a world leader that fosters encouragement of women to pursue their dreams. The melting pot of cultures brings a range of fresh perspectives and a diverse collection of characters from whom one can draw advice and support. It is an exciting time to be a business woman in the UAE, said the businesswoman.
"If you had told me 20 years ago that I would one day start a business selling luxury soapenirs in my adopted home of Dubai, I might have thought you were slightly nuts! Yet, it also seems this was a journey that was inevitable. I have always loved to travel, to experience new things, meet new people and reach for the dreams that seemed the most impossible.
I was born in Germany and studied business. From there, I went into the very male-dominated world of oil and gas. From the very beginning, there was a sense that I was an outsider, as a woman, and that success might continue to elude me," said Ellis.
"Ironically, the very opposite happened. My unique approach proved to be a refreshing change and my ambition was rewarded as I continued to build a network of clients around the world. This is what brought me to Dubai in 2004. I immediately fell in love with the city and its tall buildings reminded me of my favourite childhood game, Monopoly. It turns out, it was a game well worth playing and it was this sentiment that drove me to step widely out of my comfort zone and follow my passion, founding The Shower Tower in 2016."
Advice to entrepreneurs Ellis said it is very important to harness your passion and keep dreaming. "I think first and foremost, it is essential that you be passionate about your idea/product. Starting your own business is a huge undertaking and it will be stressful. You must have an undying passion and belief in your concept to sustain you through the difficult days and remind you why you have started on this adventure. The other thing I would recommend is to surround yourself with smart, kind people and ask for help," she suggested.
"The melting pot of Dubai and networking culture has given us all access to different types of people, all of whom might be able to offer invaluable advice and wisdom, exactly when you need it the most. Never be shy to ask for help -- you won't regret it! Also, don't compromise on quality. It might be the more expensive option, but making sure you have a quality product will pay dividends in the long run," Ellis concluded.