A mother, designer and entrepreneur Reem Salman who now spends her time between Doha and Dubai, has been creating bags since 2014. Balancing a busy work schedule with a passion for creating pieces that incorporate luxurious leathers from Italy and impeccable craftsmanship, the designer who hails from Amman in Jordan talks to Bazaar about her story and inspirations
How did you get into the world of designing?
It all started when I was on a holiday in Italy and I loved a bag so much because it was made with high skill and with very beautiful leather. But I wanted it in a different colour and upon requesting it, the seller agreed to make the bag in the colour of my choice. I then realised that if I design my own bags, I could ask him to make them too. I thought to myself that this is an opportunity that I shouldn’t miss. Since quality represents everything I always wanted in a bag, we started with simple designs as I didn’t have a design background and moved to more complex ones as we moved from one collection to the next.
What was the defining point when you decided to become a designer?
I am still a lawyer and am continuing to progress in my career at full speed. I am currently at a place in my life where everything is going full speed, my career, Belquis and my two little babies. It is overwhelming at times but I can’t complain because I absolutely love what I do.
Did growing up in Jordan have any impact on your designs?
Probably my mother’s Italian heritage had a more significant impact, as I grew up loving everything leather and everything high quality. Jordan has a great impact on my husband though, who does weigh in on many of the design aspects of the business. Although he is a lawyer as well, but growing up he was engaged in designing and hand-making gold jewellery in his family business.
What sets your designs apart?
We try to produce timeless pieces. The majority of the designs are structured in nature with simple designs but lots of details making them unique. We also rely heavily on special printed leather that gives the bag a distinctive identity, each colour is used to produce around fives bags only to keep them exclusive.
What is your favourite material to work with?
We work exclusively with leather and have experimented with vegetable tanned leather – which we love – printed and pony leather and also with python leather. Each one has its pros and cons and is suitable for some designs and uses but not others – something that we can only learn through experimenting. We love the printed leather because it adds to the design and gives the bags a distractive touch. I am also looking forward to working with crocodile leather, which I hope will happen in the future.
How do you get inspired?
Having a busy life ideas come and go quickly, so I make sure that I get some time off to focus and think about my next collection. Often the place that I chose for my vacation, ends up inspiring the collection which has been the case for the last three.
What do you carry in your clutch?
My mobile, credit card and a lipstick.
Do you have a life motto?
Dream big, work hard and you will get there. It always worked well for me.