In an Interview with Insights Success, Fatima Al Shirawi, CEO of Gracious F shares her journey and about her contribution through Gracious F. She is a color psychologist and color consultant. She is the leading light of the Gracious F, Color Consulting Company.
Below are the highlights of the interview between Fatima Al Shirawi and Insights Success.
Give a brief overview of your background and your role in The Gracious F.
I pursued my BA in marketing and Sociology from George Washington DC, a design degree from Polimoda Florence and London school of fashion, and that’s where for the first time I was exposed to Color Psychology. From there on I decided to specialize in this niche field by certifying as a color consultant from Color Affects Institute UK. Upon return to homeland I realized how this segment was crucial and unknown within the GCC and founded The Gracious F Consultancy in 2008, and currently I hold the CEO position within my organization.
How do you diversify your organization’s solutions that appeal to your target audience?
Color science is applicable to all industries; unfortunately it’s still a stigma that color is only applicable to fashion. Our firm supports all kinds of industry from Interior Design, Fashion, Corporate branding, Individual consultancy and Luxury Retail Segment. In order to cater to all my target audience my projects within above industries are very bespoke and tailored.
An Office space might have complete different requirement as opposed to a Retail Brand, good example would be a recent project, Office space was re-vamped using color psychology to enhance certain area based on each department to increase productivity and efficiency from wall colors to detailed décor was adapted to each type of department, for instance use of yellow and white in the Marketing Department and Blue within Finance department.
Retail brand project was related to team training on how to understand individual color psychology to communicate better with your final consumer, how to apply these tools within your business in order to increase overall performance, this training was for the Marketing, Buying and sales team through our Color Matrix program which we offer to the luxury retail segment. It would be interesting to add that global research states that 82% of the initial buying instinct for any product is through its color, and 80% of our feelings towards color are subconscious. This science has allowed me to create a bridge between the both in order to support organizations in increasing their performance and achieving their goals.
What is your approach towards latest technological innovations? How is it changing your role?
The ever-changing digital world has its positive and negative outcome, research and easy access to all kinds of information has been this era´s breakthrough. For my business I focus and start from basics, my team is assigned to research and investigate on new innovations applicable to our business and present a proposal each quarter, in order to keep up with fast pace of changing technology. Good example would be, since 2018 individual sessions, bookings and workshops bookings open to all public are made online, however the actual session must take place in person. Our next project will be creating an APP to ease research and information regarding our services to the public.
Describe some of the vital attributes that every CEO should possess.
Every CEO should be able to listen to their teams. My approach is always to understand, listen and support my teams with their problems. I always tend to say, every CEO should advice and mentor their teams, then take a seat back and let the magic happen. Another key note is the ability to research, in order to keep your business and services always at its highest peak its crucial to research and innovate when required to keep up with past pace changes within the global economy.
What are the experiences and lessons that you’ve learned across your journey?
One crucial lesson I have learnt is that it’s important to follow your passion; work becomes so much easier and enjoyable when it’s an industry you are passionate about. I realized what changes I could bring to lives of people and organizations sustainability through color science and that was my drive. I will be honest wasn’t all an easy journey, the lack of understanding within general public regarding this science and its benefits was one of the constant hurdles, therefore I do a lot of CSR work which includes, panel discussions, workshops and forums to spread knowledge regarding color psychology and its impact.
According to you which are the technological innovations that will play the important role in shaping businesses in coming times?
In the coming times I believe the digital Social Media platforms current ones and new ones on the way will shape the role of business. Therefore, will be crucial to make sure right message is sent across within these platforms to avoid misconceptions regarding firms and their concepts. On other hand, these platforms have also supported global awareness, if firms are able to balance between digital e-commerce and the personal touch they will be examples of sustainable brands.
Where does The Gracious F see itself in the near future and how do you plan to sustain its competency?
We believe in order to achieve our goals and success the main attribute all our teams need to possess is research, with changing trends and technology breakthrough it’s vital to keep researching how to improve your set of skills / services and business model. Our long-term goal is to make The Gracious F the leading color consultancy globally, especially within the corporate industry.
What advice would you like to give to the young minds?
No Success comes without hard work, so I always say suggest the young minds to focus on their passion, use their education background but remember that without hurdles or experience there is no success.