At bazaar, we like to keep our eyes on people we’ve previously covered, particularly those with a special talent for turning beautiful ideas into in-spiring realities. Noaf Hussein previously appeared in our pages as a fun, self-employed creative in truth or dare. Today, her visionary progression alone, merited this special feature, and we couldn’t wait to catch up with her latest developments as we’ve watched the scintillating world of Pretty Little Things materialize, carrying along with it hopes of change and innovation in this distinct gathering of creatives.
Besides her myriad of projects, including branding new projects, art directing and styling photo shoots for print publications and individual brands, and hosting brand launches, Noaf started a show called Pretty Little Things. “Pretty Little Things is something I started in December of 2011 as a way for creatives, the curious, and those who appreciate the smallest of nuances to get together, shop, chat, and network with the media and each other in a beautiful setting. It initially started as a way to promote my clients (I freelance in marketing and branding) but when I saw the way people reacted to it, I decided to use it as a platform to promote regional brands and do some good along the way.”
Channeling this good towards none other than the locally based charity, Khair AL Kuwait Charity Foundation, Noaf took on the mission of assisting in the renovation process of the orphanage compound including all of its facilities. “That is where the PLT charitable cause came together. With every Pretty Little Things show, I try to gather pledges for all the building materials I need to rebuild one of the houses within the compound. The first house I managed to gather building materials for is currently under construction, and the materials list for the second house should be coming together very soon. I plan to keep going until the larger project is complete, and then find a new cause!” Not only so, Noaf hand selects brands that represent the title of show, regional and local alike, then goes on to ensure that their needs are met in terms of exposure and most importantly, building a relationship with the local market. She adds, “It’s about the small details, the ones that make you smile the pretty little things.”
A firm believer that business is indeed a personal matter; Noaf finds it difficult, or actually impossible, to separate business relationships from personal ones. After all, Noaf’s career is all about building relationships, and combine that with a fervent passion for her many projects, behold a force of nature willing to persevere against all odds, from political rallies interrupting last November’s show, to surviving a cold and raining evening that briefly interrupted Pretty Little Things’s outdoor anniversary show at Salhiya Plaza last December. She recounts her career developments last year as interesting, to say the least, “The past year was an especially intense one. 2012 was a winding road of trials, tribulations, soaring highs and soul crushing lows, all without guidance or the use of a safety net because, alas, there cannot be one when the road leads to unexplored territory. I never understood people who caution that business and personal matters should be kept separate. To me, there’s nothing more personal than business. Everything I do comes with my fingerprint and I cannot function any other way.”
Mind you, being different when it comes to running your business doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing. When you consider how successful Noaf’s projects turned out to be, maybe that personal touch is what we need after all. Even if it sometimes drives you to madness, and moments of sanity seem to be so rare, Noaf doesn’t despair over trying to stay sane, “I don’t, which is what keeps things interesting. The best ideas come from a place of madness.”
So what’s in store for this sane-but-not lover of all the pretty little things? She might not know it yet, as she prefers to ride the tide, adjust her sails, bending with adversity and carving out a path to follow. She concludes, “I’m not on a traditional career path so there’s no sense in trying to apply structure!”
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being barefoot and carefree.
What is your greatest fear?
To not have absorbed enough of the world around me—being focused sometimes robs me of the moment.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Which living person do you most admire?
My mother, something I am very vocal about
What is your greatest extravagance?
Eating what I want, when I want.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Don’t judge me, but I’m hungry again!”
When were you happiest?
My childhood, when everything was scintillating and brand new.
Which talent would you most like to have?
It would be great if my singing voice could bring people to the good kind of tears. I shall refrain from inflicting my voice on others until that day comes.
What would you consider your greatest achievement?
Being driven, and never using any of my achievements as an excuse to rest on my laurels
Where would you most like to live?
Kuwait, I couldn’t fathom living anywhere else.