Opening a Business - Swish



This blog is somewhat premature which makes a change I hear you say, as we haven’t yet managed to open Swish (Abu Dhabi’s first exclusive blow-out and make-up studio).  A year on from the initial idea and loads of challenges, but we are getting very close now!

I know that the new year is a time for setting goals and focusing on achieving things.  Perhaps these are new goals or things that you’ve been dreaming up for years but haven’t gotten around to yet.

I hope that our journey to opening Swish will be motivation for you to kick start those goals and that the useful tips below will help anyone who is currently trying to open or considering opening a business in Abu Dhabi, or anywhere else as some of the principles are pretty universal. Along with some pics for those of you who are just curious.

1.   Location


What I mean by this is not just choosing the location that’s right for your particular business in terms of demand and footfall.  When you are talking about a new development it is all that and also finding a space that is actually going to open this decade.  Better still choose a place that is already open as it’s not unusual for a building project here to start and then hit a stumbling block and go on-stop indefinitely (this happened to us last year).  

2.   Timing


Whatever date anyone tells you for anything, add 6 months. Standard. 

3.   Contacts

Utilise your contacts. It’s such a cliché: it’s not what you know but who you know.  But it has become very true in our experience and there’s been many a favour called upon and a few still to be had (hopefully).   

4.    Contractor


Find a contractor who is trustworthy, reputable has all the correct paperwork, is responsive and is licenced to perform the services you require. We’ve learned the hard-way that there are some real cowboys out there. We eventually decided to use a company, Urban Pearl Interiors (UPI), for our fit-out. They have been super professional and a cut above anyone else we’ve dealt with in this process.

5.   Experience

Ask friends, colleagues and others in your industry, most people having been through this process are more than happy to share their story and there’s so much to be learned from other people’s journeys.

6.   Don’t underestimate the paperwork

I can’t emphasise this enough.  It is so easy to get carried away with ideas and creativity but a lack of focus on getting the paperwork right will kill your business before it even starts.  Whether it is setting up your company properly, getting your building and municipal permits in place or properly registering for VAT, it is the dry side of things but it has to be done and done right.


I’d love to hear from you if you’ve managed to open, are trying to or dreaming of opening your own business.

Keep reading for more updates and follow us as we complete our project and launch the flagship Swish studio in early 2018 (she says).

Kelly x


Kris ReesComment