Mariana Wehbe is a renowned public relations and media executive based between Dubai and Beirut. She talks to Bouguessa about what it takes to run a successful business, spotting new talent and the women that inspire her.
You founded your eponymous PR firm nearly 10 years ago. What three things have lead to its success?
It took blood, sweat and lots of tears! I made a clear decision to focus on my work and my clients, paying no heed to other people’s endeavours in the rear view mirror. I always focused on doing my own thing authentically. I also made it a point to keep my business small, taking only 4-5 clients at a time to really focus on understanding the brand and giving them my undivided attention. This also led me to feel like I was a partner in their business, getting to the nitty gritty of the brand image, values, and representation.
You harness and nurture promising new talent, what is it that you look for in new creatives?
I seek hunger, authenticity, enthusiasm when talking about their dreams and eagerness to grow. Talent is definitely something I look for as well, which always strives to be pushed forward. People who give me something to believe in, something to unapologetically represent. I need to feel comfortable with my clients on an emotional level and professional level, that’s where success comes in for the both of us, it’s a mutual transaction of growth.
You work with lots of female-lead brands. Who are some women that inspire you?
I think we’re in a time where women are rising up in a stellar way, and leading the biggest brands in the world. I proudly represent Nour Al Nimer, founder of Nimerology. Seeing her grow and expand over the years has been truly awe-inspiring. She is always true to her designs, and her creative process is beyond admirable. Arianna Bavuso, co-founder of AB+AC Architects is constantly provoking the idea of beauty in urban architecture through her editorial research, The Beauty Equation. Her research is also based on Neuroscience contributions, assessing the relationship between aesthetics and our wellbeing.
How would you describe your personal style?
I was brought up by my maternal grandmother, who was a very feminine figure. She wore skirts and blouses regularly, with her hair up in a chignon most days. I consider my style to be influenced by hers, but I also found it important to accentuate my curves, unapologetically and confidently. I like to dress like a woman and feel like a woman. I also love clean cut finishing, elegance and timeless pieces I can wear for years to come.
What do you envision or hope for the future of fashion?
I hope the future of fashion places sustainability at the forefront. I hope consumers understand how the pieces we shop for inherently impact our life personally, but also our place on this planet. Being mindful about the textile and material used, the labour conditions in which sweatshops operate, the detrimental nature of fast fashion is vital to our understanding of the weight of our fashion choices.