Money & Me: Financial security comes first, then handbags for Dubai businesswoman

Natasha Hatherall is the owner of TishTash marketing and public relations. The Briton, 37, who moved to the UAE five years ago, is currently launching TishTash talent, a sister agency which offers full managing services for local media personalities and entertainers as well as visiting stars. The new agency will open this month.

Describe your financial journey so far.

My family instilled a strong work ethic in me from the outset, and as a result being financially independent and not relying on anyone else has always been important. At the age of 14, I went to work in a local pottery near where we live. Then, throughout my career, although I worked for others I always had an art business on the side selling my own contemporary art and accessories. However, creative pursuits are hard to make pay, so while I loved my side business it could never give me the security I wanted. When I came to the UAE, I worked for a company for two years and then launched TishTash, which is a viable business, giving me the security I needed. There has been a great responsibility in having a business. My priorities have changed and I need to make sure that my staff is always paid. This market can be very difficult with cash flow. Many people who own a small business struggle because clients can at times take years to pay. The pressure can keep me awake at night.

Are you a spender or saver?

I am more of a spender than a saver. I have a house in the UK, but ultimately I would like to buy in the UAE. I moved to the UAE intending to stay two years, but life happens and now I’ve started my own business. I want to stay here long term and I realise I’ve spent a lot of money on rent. I try to be better at saving and I think investing in property is a good strategy.

Is money important to you?

Financial security is important to me, as is owning my own home. I don’t want to rely on anybody and I work very hard and very long hours, so it is important to me to have nice things such as handbags and to go out to nice places.

What has been your biggest financial lesson?

I don’t like to get into a financial situation with either friends or family. I did some business before with a friend and when money is involved it can always lead to difficulties. When I launched my own business, I did it by myself. It is 100 per cent backed by me. Everything we earn is reinvested. It is always dangerous to mix family and friends with business.

If you won Dh1 million, what would you do with it?

I would want to do something that has benefits. I’ve always dreamt of writing books. I would use the opportunity of having less financial worries to take some time out and do things I’ve always wanted to such as charity, travel and writing books. Right now I am very time-poor.

What has been your best investment?

My business – I’ve put everything I own into it and continue to do so. I believe it is the biggest and best investment I will ever make. If I put my handbag collection, my mother would kill me.

What do you enjoy spending money on?

Handbags, clothes and travel. Handbags are my weakness.


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