“I believe in personal expression through art and design.”
When Sally Sarieddine set out on her career path, the direction was unclear. However, with family and friends as her compass, she finally took the road to her perfect destination. Now designing handbags in her own magical space, she’s combining art and design with the power of healing.
Hi, please introduce yourself to our readers:
Hello, my name is Sally Sarieddine. I was born in a festive month and this explains my festive spirit. I am driven by my curious nature and fuelled by passion. When I stop, I breathe deeply and respect the diverse expressions of life and the endless opportunities that life has to offer. My inspirations come from complex thoughts and ideas that are expressed in a simple, soft and powerful way. I love to read, travel and have experiences with extraordinary people and nature. I use my imagination to weave stories in my mind and connect dots in my head. My family and my friends are my compass in life.
Tell us about your education:
I graduated with a BA in Communication Arts and focused most of my energy on theater. I moved to London, got my masters in Marketing and completed fashion design courses in Central Saint Martins.
Tell us about your career path:
My first job was as an Assistant Director in a local TV station in Beirut. A year later I moved to Dubai. Being in the land of opportunities I found a job in the satellite broadcasting industry. Eleven months later the universe gave me another opportunity to work as a PR Executive for an investment company. It paid well but I didn’t know what I was doing and I was fired six months later. However, the positive side of the story is that I had the opportunity to go to London and do my Masters in Marketing. After that I moved back to Dubai and got a job in advertising.
So, what motivated or inspired you to get into fashion design?
I have always been into art, hence why my energy was put into theater. I believe in personal expression through art and design. I wanted to live in a world where I could express myself through art pieces and create positive vibrations through developing something that was inspirational.
What inspired you to design handbags?
A vintage doctor handbag was my first inspiration to get into the world of handbags.
What is the number one thing that can make or break a bag?
It’s all in the details; and the quality of course.
What is a Dr. Bag?
It’s our signature collection. It’s how the brand came to life through this inspiration during a trip to Florence. I saw a vintage doctor bag and I was inspired by its beauty and representation of healing powers. I am an energy healer and I wanted to find a way to combine art, design and the power of healing. I thought the Dr. Bag would make that perfect representation. So the journey started then when I merged my love for handbags and healing.
What different lines have you launched?
Our main line is unique handmade leather handbags that are versatile to anytime of the day. We recently launched an accessory line that includes smaller items such as passport holders and a multifunctional phone holder. We will be launching a new line of clutches soon.
How did you come up with the name LaLaQueen?
I live in a magical space (which is what I’ve always called my LaLaLand). In this space there is freedom of expression, love, magic and the spreading of good vibes and energy. I encourage each and every person to get in touch with these feelings and allow them to ripple out into our world. I believe that every woman has a ‘queendom’ which she should conquer. From there I merged the two to come up with LaLaQueen.
How has your work evolved since you began your own label?
Five years ago our work space and showroom was in a little space in Hamra and we were two people handling all sorts of things. Today we are a team of six and we have opened our first flagship store in Downtown Beirut.
Where do you do research for your collections?
I’m inspired when I travel, when I talk to people and from what I see around me. An inspiration can start from the smallest of details to a combination of things and they get blended in my mind to create a piece or collection that is very personal. What’s important is that every collection is an inspiration with personal meaning. I develop them when I feel that strong connection.
How is your work received internationally?
Pretty well. We have international celebrity endorsements such as Amal Clooney and Neha Dhupia. After Amal Clooney was spotted wearing the Dr Bag we gained major exposure in the US and orders were coming in non stop in the period following the exposure.
Tell us about your latest collection ‘Geometric’:
The Geometric Collection was launched during Beirut Design Week in May. The collection is inspired by crystals found in nature and my love for irregular shapes and objects. It was launched as a backpack and handbag in a variety of dynamic colours.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your company?
Patience and hard work reaps results.
What advice would you give to young designers?
Be true to your vision and work creatively to make it happen.
What’s your motto?
Be kind and just do it.
Have you collaborated with other people or organizations?
Yes, our most recent collaboration was an educational collaboration with ESMOD Dubai. The objective of the collaboration was to educate the students about sustainability in the handbag industry and get them to design a bag inspired by our Geometric Collection. We ended up with three finalists and our production team then produced their design vision. The result was three fabulous pieces. We will be launching them in September in Dubai.
Would you like to expand beyond handbags?
Yes, we are in the process of working on accessory pieces that will be launched this year.
What do you have in store for the future?
We are always researching and coming up with new ideas and designs for the future because we strongly believe in growth and progress, at the same time maintaining where we stand today.
What were the most challenging moments you’ve experienced in building your brand?
There were many challenges that I took as growth and learning opportunities. Challenging moments come in all parts of the process. I remember once I had a design in mind and we had to do four or five prototypes to get it right.
Tell us something not many people would know about you:
I don’t watch television!