Sally Soheili’s passion for customisation started when she was at high school in England. “I painted a Picasso artwork on my jeans and got loads of compliments,” the 31-year-old recalls. “I was then asked to paint on a clothing collection for a regional fashion show. That was what encouraged me to put my fears aside and explore customisation.”
Fast-forward to today and Sally has combined her two favourite things – customisation and beauty – to create SoH Art+Beauty, an edgy space in Dubai’s Galleria Mall that feels part-art exhibition, part-beauty salon. “As a haven for all things whimsically creative, original and helplessly cool, SoH is known for its innovation in nail art, hair trends and customised design,” Sally says of the space that opened in September 2014.
Far from being a flash in the pan, Sally’s business has grown to be one of the must-visit destinations in the region. And news is spreading. “We hosted the 25th global anniversary of fashion designer Lulu Guinness, and have exhibited a number of local artists’ work.”
One thing’s for certain, Sally sees the bigger picture. In an era where social media is key and celebrity endorsement priceless, the entrepreneur set out to give her brand the recognition she believed it deserved. “We recently put SoH nails on style icons abroad, such as Alicia Keys in New York. Her nails are probably the coolest thing we’ve done yet!”
Describing herself as a “street style girl with an addiction to sneakers”, she also confesses to being “a sucker for Chanel”. She cites Sandro, The Kooples and Balmain as her favourite brands, but believes in supporting regional talent, “I enjoy shopping from designers who I genuinely respect, such as Khulood Thani, Manaal Al Hammadi, Faiza Bouguessa.”
Sally also highlights the importance of giving back. “My mother is the strongest person I know,” she begins, going on to explain that, when she can, she donates her time and money to orphanage projects in Sri Lanka and India. “Watching my mum through the years has made me the person I am today.”
Photography: Richard Hall. Styling: Charlotte Blair. Words: Kerrie Simon-Lawrence. Hair: Anna for SoH Art + Beauty. Make-Up: Sarah Jane-Thompson for Shiseido. Location: The St. Regis Dubai