An Interview with my Interior Design Mentor – Farah Al Humaidhi

An Interview with my Interior Design Mentor – Farah Al Humaidhi


if you ask my friends about me and whom
I talk about the most when I’m talking about interior design they’re gonna tell
you that I say one name way too many times and that’s Farah Al Humaidhi’s name
and she’s been always a mentor of mine I guess a virtual mentor ’cause
I’ve never met her before this happened I’ve always admired Farah’s work, Farah Al Humaidhi
is a Kuwaiti interior designer she started out doing something that super
courageous and generous and that is sharing her knowledge (about interior design) in the Arabic language
which she was the first to do and her online content spread everywhere cuz she
has such a good taste she knows what she’s doing
eventually she got a TV show and it’s called Tasameem (Designs) you still find the
episodes on her YouTube channel and your link everything down below she’s got
such an impressive portfolio not only of Interior Design work but she has also an
accessory line which is very very tasteful let me tell you and I’ve had
the pleasure to see it in real life she does online courses and real time
courses and she have built an interior design related exhibition called Mirzaam
that happens in Kuwait every year and hopefully many more things to come and I
really appreciate people like Farah opening a way for interior designers to
share what they know in this interview it’s seriously it’s very very useful for
you if you’re an interior designer to listen to this interview I was sitting
down and I’ve learned so much from her it’s just listening to her and I was
very starstruck so I apologize about that alright I hope you enjoy this
interview and Farah thank you so much for having me and thank you for the
opportunity to work with you as well and yeah let’s get started Farah: You want me to hide the phone? Sure, but you want to see the real Farah the phone is always there 🙂 you guys I was
dreaming of this moment like two three years ago I was always talking about
Farah and now I am with her
Farah: dreams come true!
Aseel: yeah! dreams do come true! Farah, thank you so much for having me I’m so excited to be
talking to you right now
Farah: you are most welcome it is our pleasure (to be honest, me and Soumaya, we bumped into your, like, I met you, in Dubai Design District,
Aseel: Yeah that was terrible! *laughing nervously* I feel like I need to explain why it was terrible, Farah was giving a course in interior design
and I went there to say hi to her but when I saw her I was completely
starstruck and I started stuttering and shivering and it was very very weird
remember her telling me that you know I’m not meeting Jennifer Lopez but the
thing is the thing that Farah doesn’t know to me she is a lot more
important than Jennifer Lopez because I learned a lot from her so that’s the
backstory it wasn’t terrible it was great but I didn’t do very well so this
is why it was terrible I don’t know Farah: I have actually saw your account (on instagram) before, I know I have seen it, then I came back I spoke to Soumaya, I don’t remember, but we clicked, I told her: message this girl, we want to collaborate with her,
It was all meant to happen! it’s incredible thank you so much for
contacting me I’m really honored for that and I’ve always wanted to ask you
this have you always wanted to be an interior designer as a personal
inspiration
Farah:oh yes my I’ve always wanted to be an interior designer deep deep
down, but, I don’t know if I’ve said this before but when it was time to decide
which college to go I wanted to stay here in Kuwait and we have no interior design
so I was willing to go to (study) dentistry
Aseel:WHAT??
Farah: yeah,
Aseel: THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN CRAZY Dentistry, like, my GPA was 3.99 & I can go to medical school look, the thing is, interior design or dentistry or
medicine it’s all has to do with detail detailing (especially) dentistry I always
had this passion working with my hand looking at the smallest detail
I really love working with small details, so I felt dentistry was a really good fit Until today, anything, anything that has to do with tiny details, like this story, My son, has an infection in his ear, and we were going back and forth, back and forth to the doctor, E.N.T. doctor, I was like falling asleep, I told my husband, can I go back and study medicine?
I just love what the doctor was doing with my son’s ear, with these small instruments and he has to be really quiet and focused, one move, the ear is gone! my husband was like, yeah of course! you can do anything, and I was like, no it’s a long road! this passion I think that, this is the thing that in common in crafts and design details and in
dentistry, medicine and surgery, I do not like the medicine from the side where you are studying x-ray, and other stuff, it’s just working with these with
these equipments and you’re focused, you like working with your hands and you’re very detail-oriented
Farah:so it’s just makes sense, yeah so my mom and dad are like no way we did not
invest all these years and putting in the best schools in Kuwait so go
to anything because of just you want to stay here and we know it’s hard to leave you get
over it you learn you’re not the first one you know you are not gonna be the last one so just
be possible the closest was Sharjah (AUS) right they never seem to collective yeah
I wanted to actually enroll there and I took the TOEFL test my English was
pretty good I don’t know what happened Farah: you could’ve taken the six-month program before
Aseel: going here I don’t know, my (onion is burnt) (meaning I was impatient) and I just wanted like things to go very
fast but have i not gone to my university I wouldnt have met my husband! everything happens for a reason we don’t
know it at that point but later on you will know you know that it was for the right reason
Aseel: you make us all proud Farah: Thank you,
Aseel: I also wanted to ask you you of course your inspiration for me your inspiration
for a lot of people around me everyone I was excited that I’m going to meet you
they’re like even my clients they’re like we love her so much like you’re so
lucky
Farah: (I am so lucky!) thank you everything I wanted to ask who inspired you (in your journey)
Did you have a Farah Al Humaidhi in your life? Farah:I still have a Farah Al Humaidhi in my life!
Aseel:You do?
Farah: Yes, Nada Debs I always say if Nada Debs is able to get to where she is, and she started in her 40’s, then I can get somewhere
starting my 20’s Nada Debs took something from her culture, and she put it out there to the world and when I met Nada Debs for my interview season three (tasameem)
….I remembered you! How you were panicking, shivering, everything tears in your eyes and that
exactly happened to me when I was waiting for Nada Debs to walk in and
the coincidence that I was wearing a skirt, and she was wearing her pants that were IDENTICAL in color very rare color usually people don’t
wear it
Aseel: What color was it?
Farah: It was a warm shade of orange and she noticed how weird they were both wearing
this unusual color
Aseel: oh my God that’s incredible! During the interview I am sure that Soumaya did the editing, she noticed that I teared up, Aseel: I feel it very deep in my heart! Right now! Cause really, I have always been looking up to you, and something that you don’t know, is that going onto your account during some difficult times of my life, it withdrew me from something bad and it made me just
inspired make me feel things like you might think that okay I’m just posting
something but you’re actually you’re making an influence yeah that’s good I’m
so grateful that you opened this door to designers everywhere like especially in
the Arab world
Farah: and I mean this is my aim deep down my aim is to create more
opportunities for this career and opening up eyes of people with knowing it there are
a lot of opportunities in Interior Design, not strictly designing houses you can do
a lot I have a lot of students walking up to me sending me messages, Farah,
I want to study this this my parents say there’s no future there’s nothing to do
what are you gonna do (it doesn’t feed you bread) what are you going to do?
But no, it’s not just designing houses and I am a valid example! Aseel: Yeah, you are a very valid example
Farah: Like, we went into Furniture, we went into Social Media, Into Production! exposure and Expo’s and different events
and the list goes on and on you create the future for the career you want and
that’s what I keep saying there can be two doctors getting out in
the same College studying under the same professors one remains in the
government hospital and he’s just a doctor and other develops himself over and over for the rest of his life
home the recipient see a guy until he’s like a professor runs his own Hospital
it’s true we have the same background it’s the person it’s not the career
there’s a lot of people don’t have a degree and they have created a career
fair it has nothing to do with where you study, who taught you, what you study it’s
what you may come to use exactly yeah I I love how diversify what you do
Farah: We learned it the very hard way for the first seven years of my career I
was strictly doing interior design and construction but when the kind of a
crisis happened I learned it the hard way that I need to
diversify I can’t depend on one source of income and ever since then that was
my main goal to expand it’s the way it is so my aim was not
to have that I was not always only dreaming aligning the office with 50 (employees) no
I want to expand I want to give a lot to this career I want to give a lot to this
industry I want to help out in any way like Mirzaam (Expo) yes it’s a very good project however
we are supporting the full industry in Kuwait Aseel: That’s so true,
Farah: and we are supporting the new comers, and the well-established paving the way for
everyone to be there out there showcase their life products and it’s actually
working, I was very happy in Mirzaam 1, we had a huge amount of visitors, travelling, specifically for Mirzaam from the GCC
Aseel: I will travel myself
I’m so excited So that opportunity for the industry, opportunity for Kuwait, opportunity for the designers, there is a couple of companies that decided to establish and launch in
Mirzaam because they know that this is a good start for them yeah it’s a second
exposure and you’re a very trusted name

Thank God. so yeah, it all makes sense and the timing is just perfect
I will say, maybe five years ago if we have set up Mirzaam, It won’t even be as half successful as it is now Would you consider expanding to like, the GCC countries?
Farah: That’s the plan for it to become an international Expo, Like INDEX & IFEX it could be all around the world, why not? You could meet trades there (for interior designers) I feel like, as designers, we do need that Today in Kuwait it started as a B2C (business to consumer) Expos are usually more like B2B (business to business) event, but in Kuwait, the industry was slowing down, and dying, we had to push it together so the first one
second one third one it might still be a B2C event but hopefully in the future it becomes a B2B businesses collaborate more than
business sell to consumers
Aseel: so proud of you
Farah: Thank you I am also proud of you,
I can see myself, I can see where you are going, if you kept going on the way you are going!

Aseel: Thank you so much! You have no idea how much it means to me I will keep it playing on my TV or something!
Farah: You don’t need someone to tell you , you are enough! Look at your work Aseel: Thank you so much I really appreciate this I
tried to follow I actually go to one of my clients that she was she had a
consultation with you as well showed me like your sketches and I was like WHAT IS THIS? HOW? HOW? So what’s your number 1 advice for junior designers or students who wants to study interior ok
students, I mean if Farah, that is 37 years old can talk to Farah that is 20 year old she would tell her to concentrate on the courses that had to do with business
yes if we had to two classes design management and project management which
I didn’t care for much,
just do whatever we needed to do and I thought studios are the most
important the design courses are the most important
yes, they are but if you are aiming to run your own business you need to have a
strong business background if I would be able to go back and have time I would easily minor or
or double major in business if it was an option
and stay an extra one or two years because I actually then after four years
working I have done my MBA I did an exclusive MBA executive MBA, sorry
only where I worked in the morning and studied at night I couldn’t have travelled and I had the business running Aseel: and you had the kids?
Farah: No, before the kids, (laughing)
Aseel: ‘Cause I see a lot of great examples in this office and I feel like everyone will
have excuses it’s just there’s no there is no such thing as an excuse

but then again, Not everyone has the opportunity Bravo Soumaya, she is here alone, and she is doing this, while I got my mom, I have got my in-laws, I got help at home, I am living the same street as my sister, I am getting this support that allow me to sit here for hours and hours, Aseel: So I contacted you if you remember a while back, and this is when you shared my account on your instagram, I told you that I messed up I made a big mistake in
project and it was in the execution mistake and I was asking you if you ever
had (done) mistakes? And how do you deal with them? Farah: I learn!
Look, asking me this question today my answer will be
totally different than my answer seven or 10 years ago yeah
and now I want mistakes to happen
Aseel: You do?
Farah: yes, ‘Cause if mistakes don’t happen, it means that I am
doing the same old thing over and over again you would only make a mistake when
you’re doing something new until you do something new you’ve
never learned how to do it, you have never done before the probability of
doing a mistake is a 50-50 chance so
Aseel: OH MY GOD
Farah: there is a huge chance of you screwing it up and even Mirzaam I could have, like, (destroyed) it, but you learn in the process you learn and when you learn something
new, it means you will be better next time now say you’re going to
be able to do something even harder next time hmm
the when you do new things you’re raising the benchmark, you are raising the bar when you raise the bar,
you raise the bar not only on the market you raise the bar
for yourself i mean, everything I do, I am raising the bar on myself I am always asking myself, what’s next?
you submitted this project, When I launched Pieces by Farah
for a while, I was being called, Farah Dantelle, Oh who is Farah? Farah Dantelle?
So I was like, what can I do that will be as good, or better,
and if its not, I am dead there’s nothing more to give
that’s a challenge I love to take everyday there is nothing more to give, and I get bored very easily, I get bored so quickly, this is my target, this is where I want to get, once I am close, I feel like, enough, and that’s a bad thing, don’t appreciate what I’ve done now once
I’m two or three step closer enough, I am there, there it’s no longer a dream I have already accomplished it, what’s next? Actually, my sister brought this up and made me
see it Farah, what are you doing? slow down and you think what you’ve been accomplishing and giving me
products new products new brands new names you project you think you’re slow, but the people around you the industry, they don’t see it that way, because I am in it, I have looked at this this project for the last six month I I
get bored than I feel it’s old we need to give time for people to absorb it to
take it in now I want something new something new something new but now I’m learning
to slow down to concentrate what really matters what’s really matter so what are
these projects really matter so far then now you can see that I’m slowly letting
go of interior design you talk to projects
I let go, I only take on projects that I love I only take projects that trigger a fire in with me and the team the design team
but, I have the luxury to do so because I have another income sources, I have other income any I I don’t rely
on it hundred percent so I have Mirzaam, I have pieces by Farah, we got some projects we call them the cash cows they bring in the cash so we can do what we love and
not necessarily just worry about how to pay salaries when it comes to these
specific projects there this came after a long process, I started working the day I graduated. at 21, now I am 37 it’s not easy and that really
makes me sad people look at me and think it’s easy
and then they it’s not I’m not I’m not sad because they underestimates me I’m
sad because they underestimate themselves they look at me and said why
can Farah do it but I can’t do it? Farah suffered to do it! Farah took years and years, I don’t know, calculate it (16 years!) to get where I am today and still this is not where I
aim to be I aim to be able to do more It’s not okay that people look at me
and think it’s easy and then look at what they’re doing and saying why
couldn’t I do it I give up that’s what makes me sad and I want to keep
saying and say my story even if I repeat it so many times it sounds like bragging I’m not bragging, my aim is not to brag,
my aim is to tell people, its not easy. but its DOABLE.
You know?
It’s not easy.
You will fall, you will cry you will breakdown
Aseel: you will crash
Farah: you will crash and you will
say this is over I’m not going to continue, I will quit, can’t do it
anymore
Aseel: (laughing cause I said all of these things before) and imagine i was saying that when I was single I had no responsibilities, so, how hard is it
now? Why do I bother going to the office if I am losing, problems, and tiresome, and my children, I can stay with my kids
let me stay with my kids! people think coming from my background
my social status background my finanicial background they think it’s easy it’s not in
it I always have an easy option to exit but I don’t and that is HARDER.
that’s hard that’s harder to always keep on going and keeping keep that’s part
going and to keep saying no ok it’s ok I can do it I will do it I have a team
that could help me cause a lot of the time I can just stay home with my kids and I could survive, financially I do not need this Aseel: but you are making history!
Farah: Inshallah!
Aseel: You are!! I get this comment a lot every time I go on TV I got
mostly when I’m around any public events they say well you were born with a
golden spoon in your mouth and you keep saying how hard this is millions of
people but how many people actually did something about it? so many people actually
inherit money but who lose it in six months but I think this is just an excuse for people who are lazy, when they don’t know what to do, they are lazy to do anything so yeah because I don’t have
the benefit she has I don’t have support she has that for sure I can’t make it I
give a lot of credit to my family
Aseel: they raised you well Farah: they raised me very well, they raised us in a way
not to depend on whatever we have that is something that you can you should
never take for granted you should never take for granted and we saw it actually
we saw it in our family and my father lost all his money at some point because
of (the financial crisis) regardless so we live that with that
fact that things come and go and you have to learn how to stand up again and
my my my father brought this up in which we weren’t the kind of kids that were handed over everything on the contarary,
when I went to college I had my four months salary given on one time
spend it in one day spend it in 3 days or spend it properly it’s not my problem
that’s all you get that we are lucky I’m so lucky in every aspect in my life in
that I had parents who brought me up well you told me right gave me the right
tools it’s a tool you don’t give your kids fish it’ll teach them
how to fish they’re selling of the you’re raising I’m pretty sure you
raising your kids we say well yes same exact way as an example when we go to the grocery shop (the co-op) Fozani (her daughter) you have one thing to pick and she says mom but I like this, I tell her, my love, you get to pick one thing only it you can take it but choose between
them and today my daughter has no problem choosing you they then the
ability to make a decision to look at the pros and cons of a chocolate versus
a candy how long does this stay how fast I’m gonna eat this, simple stuff! but this
this is the personality (buildig her personality) and I tell her, I do not have money
She asks, what is money?
I tell her, I get money from working money to work I need money to buy
something for a she she she’s 4 but she’ll understand the concept that I go
to work to do something and then I get the money then with this money I buy things for
you things are that important things are not important
sometimes I want to give you something just for the sake of giving sometimes
you need to do something to get it so, these are concepts they learn
and you see it when they are my age I am positive that you raised your kids to be very successful people successful people
this is such a great way of raising them thank you so much thank you I
can’t say like thank you look because this was it was a dream of mine and you
just made me like I don’t know I just thankful we’re happy that you’re here
we’re happy that we crossed paths I’m sure when you said I was passing
through a rough patch at that time at we talked to you to work with you and collaborate there so you can get just that push and
then things inshallah they worked out? everything happens for a reason happens for a reason when you
said I I huge mistake look at it in don’t say I did a huge mistake, but rather say I have learned a huge lesson! I learned something new!
I did a mistake, but I have learned! the mistake is done, but the lesson is there forever this is very very enlightening and helpful really then you mean when you need to
learn how to heal the clients how to make things right
we’re humans mistakes happen we just need to learn techniques of how to make
up for this with this mistakes lately until this day, I make mistakes, especially when trying something new
Who doesn’t make mistakes? why do you make me feel this is the first time you heard this? I felt it in my gut (speaking of my mistake)
Farah: you don’t believe in your gut
now, I believe in my gut no matter what matter what
there’s your brain and there’s your heart I believe my heart even if my
brain tells me no, my brain goes on facts one plus one equals two
and one plus one doesn’t always equal 2 but when you start clearing up your head and
really understanding your intuition and cause there are intutions and there are desires, the brain, controls the heart, so it makes you feel the desire, but before the desire, there is the gut feeling that is the correct feeling listen to them that first feeling you
get when you listen when you meet the person that’s first feeling you get when
someone approaches you and tells you I have this project that initial feeling?
Aseel: act on it
Farah: no! notice it don’t act on it notice it notice it and then say okay
I felt like this, at the least you know don’t ignore it and no no that’s my heart desire cause I am scared but it needs practicing
Aseel: (giggling cause I know she is right)
Thank you so much! You gave me a full life’s lessons
Farah: when are you travelling?
Aseel: tomorrow, inshallah, can I take a story with you?

9 thoughts on “An Interview with my Interior Design Mentor – Farah Al Humaidhi

  1. Hello designers! Turn on the Captions for translation! 🙂
    Sorry about the audio quality, I forgot my external microphone in Dubai filming this

  2. I'm very grateful for finding your channel every video you upload is really helpful and fun to watch thank you so much💖💞

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