Beachroad Magazine head to the newly opened RETOLD store on Umm Suqeim Road and meet CEO and Chief Storyteller Sian Rowlands, Sian's story actually started with a bad habit….'I used to be a bit of a shopaholic!' She now gives clothes a second chance at happiness!
NAME? // Sian Rowlands
YOUR FIRST JOB? // I worked in a salad packing factory on the weekends at school, it certainly wasn't glamorous but I earned thrice as much as my friends working in retail, so I only had to do a couple of shifts a month. Work smarter not harder!
YOUR CURRENT OCCUPATION // CEO & Chief Storyteller at RETOLD.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP? // As a child, I always wanted to be an architect, I was a big fan of Lego, and loved building crazy houses. I would build a whole village; one yellow house, one red house, one blue house, etc, in fact, I did get a little OCD about it. I went on to study it at university and then moved over to Interior Design with a focus on F&B and Hospitality... so I didn't hit too wide of the mark!
YOUR GREATEST LOVE? // Happiness & my family. I do love being outdoors, and recently discovered my love for hiking (after doing a hiking trip to Everest Base Camp).
YOUR GREATEST FEAR? // Losing my family.
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? // It's a running joke in my family that I have so few memories from my childhood, to the point where when we're all together and someone starts the sentence "do you remember..." we all burst out laughing!
IF YOU GOT THE CHANCE TO DO ONE THING AGAIN WHAT WOULD IT BE? // On the most part, I believe that the journey I have taken through life has brought me to exactly where I am today, exactly where I need to be - do I really want to change that? I would certainly pay more attention to a few big life lessons, and I often dream about repeating some wonderful life moments - but I wouldn't change any of my journeys.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY? // My Dad. He is such a kind and generous person, and I always admire the patience and sense of calm he has in everything.
WHO IS YOUR GREATEST FASHION INFLUENCE? // I don't think I am influenced by one individual person, but my biggest influence is my business! Having grown up here with such limited clothes shops (back in the day!), I would save all my shopping until I was in the UK when I'd hit up thrift shops, consignment shops and boutiques, looking for hidden treasures. Since starting the business here, I now only shop pre-owned, I know how to find the gems amongst the flock. There is also an environmental issue for me, I am trying to reduce my impact on the environment, and this hugely influences my decisions, across all aspects of my life, including fashion shopping.
WHAT ITEM OF CLOTHING COULD YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT? // My black leather biker jacket. Ok, so I don't get to wear it that much here in the sandpit, but the second it gets cold enough, that bad boy is getting as much face time as possible! I've had it for almost 10 years now, and it's still going strong.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SMELL? // Fresh Oranges. Or the fresh smell of the forest and the mountains and the outdoors.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? // Christmas Dinner. I don't think I really need to explain why :)
IF YOU COULD SPEND A DAY WITH ANYONE ALIVE OR DEAD WHO WOULD IT BE? // My Gran. She passed away a few years ago after a long struggle with several illnesses for a long time, it wasn't unexpected but it was heartbreaking all the same. As a kid, I never really had the opportunity to appreciate who she was as a person - she was always 'Gran', but as I started to grow up I began to learn about some of her life experiences, and it was fascinating. So I would love to spend another day with her and listen to some more about her life.
WHAT IS THE LAST GIFT YOU GAVE SOMEONE? // I managed to take a long weekend and went skiing in Georgia, and brought back a few little souvenirs - so gave a couple of friends some Georgian honey, some Georgian wine, some cheese, and some traditional sweets.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE CHILDREN? // Be kind, be grateful and gracious, and be yourself. I do worry that the world is becoming a very hard place to learn to be a good person and to learn to be comfortable in your own skin. I do feel that society is becoming overly critical and that children are picking up on this younger and younger, so I would just try and encourage them to be kind (to themselves and to others), be grateful (for all wonderful small things in life), and to be themselves.
A WORD YOU OVERUSE? // Erm - not printable! I swear way too much and I don't even notice I am doing it anymore!
YOUR WORST TRAIT? // Swearing too much! And being impatient (even though I am often late), and forgetting things.
THE WORST TRAIT IN OTHERS THAT GETS YOU MAD? // Rudeness and lack of manners.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE? // Emma Stone. I have a huge girl-crush on her!
FAVOURITE MUSIC // I'm a bit of an indie/rock chick. However, I've currently replaced my music-listening for absorbing podcasts and audiobooks, so I don't listen to as much music as I used to now.
LAST RECORD / DOWNLOAD YOU BOUGHT? // I'm probably a little behind the times on this, but Mumford and Sons.
FAVOURITE BOOK? // American Gods by Neil Gaiman. It was recommended to me about 5 years ago and I couldn't put it down! Once I'd finished it I went and read everything other novel and a short story written by him. I'm obviously pretty excited that it has been made into a TV show (which was a little disappointing in my view, but I'm holding out final judgment until the second season)
LAST BOOK YOU BOUGHT? // I only buy physical books from House of Prose (Dubai's much-loved second-hand bookshop!), I recently picked up a couple one of which was The Girl That Saved The King Of Sweden, which was a really enjoyable read and I would recommend it to anyone. I also swap books with friends, and the last one I have read is The Book of Dust, which is the Philip Pullman prequel to the Golden Compass trilogy.
THE CLOSEST YOU HAVE COME TO DEATH? // I don't think I've ever come that close to death... I think the moment that I've felt most terror is when I was in a car accident, I crashed my car into someone else's (they were entirely at fault) at quite a high speed - both cars were pretty messed up. Thankfully neither of us were seriously injured but if things had happened a split second later then it would have been a very different story. I remember seeing the look on the drivers face just before we hit - the acknowledgment of error and the fear of what was about to happen - it's amazing what one split second can say so much.
FAVOURITE DESTINATION? // America - I'm currently in love with the West Coast of America after doing a couple of road trips through the Pacific North West all the way down to California. I would love to spend more time in Pacific Northwest and explore the mountains.
LEAST FAVOURITE DESTINATION? // Death. Is that too deep?
HOW DO YOU RELAX? // Ideally - in a hammock, with a cocktail in hand, shaded by palm trees on an exotic beach somewhere. In reality, spending time with family or friends, either out on a sailboat, or having a BBQ at home. To kick back, I do love to curl up with a good book.
WHAT WOULD YOUR DREAM CAR BE? // Whilst one part of me is currently about streamlining my life, I would love to one day own an Aston Martin DB11... they are such beautiful cars!
ARE YOU SPORTY? // I like to think so, although I am far too easily lead astray! I swim, I sail, I play netball, and regularly do a wide variety of gym classes (I'm a GuavaPass member!), including boxing and spin, and as of last year, I have become a lover of hiking.
BEACH OR DESERT? // Beach.
URBAN OR RURAL? // Rural.
CATS OR DOGS? // Dogs.
COFFEE OR TEA? // Coffee.
WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH? // My niece and nephew, I love getting all silly and making them laugh, and it's so contagious.
WHAT MAKES YOU CRY? // Watching other people experience emotional pain or loss.
YOUR MESSAGE? // Be kind, be grateful and be yourself.