Fatima Al Shirawi: Doyenne of ‘Color’



We all have some innate sense of the impact our surroundings have on us, and it seems it largely has to do something with colors. That's why Fatima Al Shirawi has laid a path for everyone to experiment with them in a scientific manner.

Fatima Al Shirawi is an Emirati Founder and CEO of The Gracious F. Established in 2008, Gracious F is a wellness company and a leading color consultancy firm in Dubai. That is dedicated to assisting individuals and corporations in the segment of color psychology. They have made it their mission to make ‘Balance and harmony within every individual and organization by finding their true self with the support of color science’. Thereby helping both individuals and organizations achieve their ambitions, dreams and goals, through the reduction of stress and anxiety, an increase in commercial awareness and a more enhanced feeling of emotional and physical well-being.

"When someone tells me I cannot achieve something, I will make sure I do”

Perfect your Craft

The Gracious F advises individuals, in the search for their true self, through different aspects on a personal level starting with Colour Consulting, Personal Styling and Feng Shui of their homes and personal space. This method is designed for those who are looking for a more harmonious lifestyle and is particularly effective for those who are in a transitional or difficult phase in their life such as a home or career move, divorce or illness. On the Corporate level, The Gracious F uses its expertise across the aesthetics scope in assisting companies with their branding and corporate identities, in addition to advising them on their corporate and retail space, by implementing modern interior design strategies enhanced by Feng Shui. They also offer HR firms through the support of Colour Science in identifying team member’s color personality for correct positioning. This removes the trial and error which companies encounter daily. Apart from consulting corporate, interior and individuals they also offer enhanced services in PR with Fatima Al Shirawi as the main host for the events. “We also work with many luxury retail brands with their sales, product and merchandising departments through training or events to create bespoke customer experiences”, adds Fatima. It is her attention to the minutiae that casts a spell that many others can only aspire to.

High achievers like her do not get where they are by getting lucky. Her success is due to hard work, perseverance, discipline as well as a supportive network of friends and family. But the main element that helped her thrive is ‘Belief in herself’. “Of course, sometimes a niche such mine is considered unnecessary or a luxury service which is not the case. I mean look at the basics, 82% of your buying choice subconsciously is through color so imagine knowing how to apply this science within your business”, says Fatima. While the impact her work has on the lives of others keeps her going. As for naysayers, fortunately “when someone tells me I cannot achieve something, I will make sure I do”.

And the habit she says what really made her get on top, and stay there is: Learning. “As a leader in a creative field I constantly suggest everyone to keep focusing on learning new skills and updating their know-how”, says Fatima. She thus participates in several self-development programs and regularly attends numerous talks and forums all over the world. Always learning something new, updating her knowledge, developing her leadership abilities and growing as an individual. She again looks for likeminded people --who are ambitious and only after recognizing ‘what is their life goal’--to add them into the team. “I believe work can only be efficient if the company goal is like theirs. Therefore, it’s important to understand how they develop themselves within the company and its spirit”, carries on Fatima. She has also set certain requirements for personal characteristics rather than a set of skills. “I always look for moral and ethics, multi-tasking abilities (that’s why I hire mainly women.....), and people who have a great set of social skills”, conveys Fatima. Although she has no male team members in her direct team, “I do deal with a lot of men in the corporate segment of my business, and honestly, keeping modesty aside, instead of resistance I get admiration”, shares Fatima and adds “all women expat or not in UAE have a higher probability to get support from their leaders for any gender-based issues. We, fortunately, have a very supportive nation”. Yet it was her grit that helped her triumph in the competitive landscape. She gets it all done by “positioning each person in a role they are passionate about is the easiest and most efficient way to gain results”, affirms Fatima.

Fatima takes time to unplug by traveling, art, theatre and group activities. She recharges herself by gymming, meditation and spending quality time with her family. While burns stress (and burns calories) by ‘boxing’ them down. Over dinner she would like to chat with Tom Ford her fashion inspiration (and a genius marketer) and Maya Angelou as “she’s an icon for me, she stood up for what she believed in and went outside social norms to achieve them”, says Fatima.

Lead from Within

“I believe all women have the potential to be leaders”, says Fatima. In order to support young women she collaborates through talks and workshops with the Emirati Youth Hub, a foundation managed directly by the PMO office to support the youth. She is also a member of the EO accelerator program which has been one of the main pioneers in her growth and helped her scale up the company as well as establish as a women entrepreneur in a competitive region. “I would recommend all young women to participate as much as possible with global networking events or collaborating with these entities as CSR strategy. This really builds your awareness”, says Fatima. She suggests young women to keep in mind that no individual can become a successful leader without hard work, grounded mindset, education and passion for what they do.

Fatima Al Shirawi, Founder, CEO, The Gracious F

She advices women to perfect their talent, believe in themselves, and forever remember that it’s always better to focus on their skills than the competition, as optimism brings positive outcomes. While never feeling guilty or wrong for achieving the success that they wanted. She asserts them to keep working sincerely towards their goal because “when you wake up every morning knowing you have made an impact and are on the track of leaving a legacy behind, it is most fulfilling feeling”, concludes Fatima.

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