Inna Bebina - The Dreamweaver


Inna Bebina
Managing Director
Visign LLC

 

Inna’s story is one of hardwork and determination, of fighting all odds to chase one’s dreams. Inna is the Founder/ Managing Director of Visign Company, established in 2007. Visign designs and manufactures bespoke uniform for the luxury hotels, restaurants and hospitality sectors in the UAE. The business has grown from modest beginning into a 50+ strong workforce with global sourcing capability and a very keen eye on emerging trends in fabric and fashion.

What do you do and how did you get to where you are today? What drove you to success?

From an early age, I developed a love for creating something from nothing, whether it was sketching on a blank page or helping to grow vegetables in my mom’s garden.  The sense of creativity and curiosity were an active part of my teenage mind. Like most young girls growing up in Russia in the 70s and 80s I was fascinated by the fashion I could see in magazines and films from the West, but was frustrated by the lack of availability of those items in my home country. I began to alter garments and experiment with fabric to create my own versions of the beautiful things I could see in glamourous magazines.

After studying Garment Construction and Technology at Omsk University in Russia, I realized my route into full time work wasn’t obvious, the economy was slow and jobs were hard to find. They say necessity is the mother of invention and to begin to earn money, I saw an opportunity to buy leather and make jackets which I could sell to my friends and acquaintances, the beginning of my future was set! I moved to the UAE to take my first real job in garment manufacturing in 1998, I didn’t speak Arabic or English but was determined to make it happen. I started working for a local business in Abu Dhabi where I learned quickly about different design techniques, how automation and technology could support production and crucially my experience began to re-inforce what I intuitively knew: there was both joy and money to be made in delighting customers with quality products and fantastic service.

By 2007 I jumped at the opportunity to set up on my own and formed the VISIGN business. I admit to being more than a little scared at the prospect of being the boss and having responsibility for other people’s livelihoods, but I trusted my intuition and found confidence in my skills as a designer and tailor believing that I could find a way to fill a gap in the market to help our target customers get better uniform solutions and profit from filling this gap successfully.

Today Visign had developed into a company with over 50 employees with some luxury brands as key customers. Visign success has been built on solid principles and clear values. At Visign, we spend huge amounts of time listening to our customers, focus on the priorities and ensure every detail is covered. Visign team share a clear vision of how to exceed customer’s expectations. Our ambition is to be a little better every day, more productive, more cost efficient, more creative. Our formula for success is that we enjoy what we do, finding fun in testing each other’s abilities; recognizing significant achievements and celebrating success when it comes along.

What brings you joy?

I love life.

I love my family and I have a 12 year old son, who naturally is at the centre of everything I do and like any parent I want him to have a bright future and have unfettered access to as many opportunities as possible.

I love traveling. I love playing squash and tennis. I love watching movies with my friends.

I’m passionate about yoga, it calms me down when I’m overthinking or stressed and balances me when I’m not.

My business and my team are a large part of my life and I try to keep the balance.

As a company we have helped several former employees build their careers and in some cases build their own businesses in other parts of the world. The simple act of helping others to develop and succeed is an amazing joy for me.

What would you tell a young graduate today?

a. Live life to the fullest, every second should be savoured.

b. Grab every opportunity

c. Hard work build character, don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves

d. Build social skills, not social media skills.

e. Failure isn’t always failure when you learn from it.

f. Understand your own values and live by them

g. Enjoy the journey!

Why is UAE a great place for women to succeed?

The UAE has long been recognized as a hot house for start-up enterprises and the region has enjoyed strong economic growth so it has been fertile territory for young companies like Visign to flourish in. When I arrived in 1998, women were not seen as typical business leaders nor were they encouraged to form and run companies. Equality was a taboo subject and access to opportunity was, at best, limited.

Women had to be tougher, more determined, more creative and more productive just to get a chance, by developing these traits I was prepared for the road ahead and these characteristics have been the foundations of Visign growth.

I strongly believe that both the government and corporate entities have to be more open to the gender diversity challenges in the UAE and I call on both of these entities to reach out to the SMEs like VISIGN to engage in a more meaningful and supportive way, after all, we want economic growth and sustainability just as much as our male counterparts and our contribution is no less valuable.

 

 

 

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