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Princess Lulu: A Royal Hustler

Gulf Elite wouldn’t deserve its name if we didn’t go around looking for VIPs and Royals to feature in our publication. Our philosophy stands for bridging the gap between Gen-Y and the older age groups who made it to the top and experienced the ups and downs of life. If we can get the elite to share advice and recommendations with our readers, then we’ve gone a long way forward to make sure that the path of success isn’t tied to age, but to the drive and will to play with the big boys.

This month we had the chance to sit with Princess Lulu Al Sabah, and if the first thing you thought about was the charming princesses in Disney, then you weren’t far off! Lulu Al Sabah, from the Kuwaiti royal family, isn’t your usual suspect: She didn’t grow up not worrying about life, and she didn’t plan her life to live off her family’s status and wealth. Lulu is a royal unlike others; She fought her way to the top and proved to everyone that royal or not, you have to work hard and hustle in order to get what you want! What better life lesson and inspiring story than this?

Lulu Al Sabah, a stunning and bright woman with enough energy and passion to power a Bugatti, took a bit of time to meet us at her Gallery in Dubai where we had the chance to have a glimpse on what her life looks like.

Tough Start

While the word “royal” makes you think of someone born with a silver spoon in his mouth, Lulu had quite an adventurous, and all but fairytale-like childhood. At an early age Lulu had to live out Kuwait because Saddam Hussein couldn’t help but get his army into the neighboring emirate, following a rather fatal “delusion of grandeur” that ended up not so well for him. Given the sudden invasion, Lulu and her family ended up settling in Paris where she spent quite a while before moving to college in the US and later on in the UK.

Living far from home, as harsh as it can seem, can be one of the greatest pushes in life to reach what you want. Knowing that life “ain’t no sunshine and rainbows”, as Rocky puts it, is a realization best learnt while young, because it gives a head start over everyone else: You understand that being tough to face life is not a luxury, but a necessity. Never take things for granted, because even the most basic thing you have, a home, a country, can go away in the blink of an eye.

Know your business and your customers – Don’t compromise

One thing we asked Lulu was why she was not holding glamourous exhibitions with millionaires, royals and celebrities coming together to taste some fancy caviar and blow money for the hell of it?

“Those are not my target customers. I appreciate art for what it is. The fake glamour and aristocratic touch of fanciness is not a motivation for my business. I like to bring together people who appreciate paintings, who can sit and look at a masterpiece for minutes without feeling the urge of walking around exchanging business cards or asking about the hottest investment trends in Dubai.”

Well, you thought royalty rimed with arrogance and flamboyant million-dollar openings?

Princess Lulu stands for something few people implement in their businesses: Instead of running after the money and changing your product or vision to chase the market trends, remain faithful to your business values and cater to the customers you designed your service for in the first place. Princess Lulu is a true embodiment of how to run a business that aims to create a culture of loyalty, not of cheap profit. Well, if you do that you will still make enough money, and judging from Lulu’s latest auction through JAMM art, her art consultancy firm, half a million dollar was not that bad after all!

It pays to be honest and truthful to who you are and what you stand for as a business, don’t exchange that for anything, because those who are willing to trade their customers for easy profit deserve none.

Don’t be afraid of playing with the big boys

We couldn’t help but ask Lulu how she felt roaming the room with big names in the art world, especially at a young age and not knowing much about what she was getting herself into.

“Well, of course at the beginning it is a bit hard to forge a name for yourself among well established names and exclusive circles in the art world. But with dedication and passion, it comes to a point where who or how old you are become secondary questions, and the focus remains on your achievements and ability to get things done well.”

Morale of the story? Never be afraid of working your way up to the main table. Life is tough, and competition out there is as fierce as ever. If you don’t believe in yourself and in your potential, no one will. When you want to reach the top, everything else doesn’t matter: who you’re dealing with, how much older or experienced they are or how much they make in a year. You’re the prize, and so you should treat yourself whenever you walk in a room full of big shots.

Title helps sometimes, but it’s all about the hard work

Well in order to not sound too idealistic, being a royal helps get things moving faster. Being a princess with those shiny initials “HH” definitely makes a great difference in life. But the trick is to never get carried away with it.

It’s easy to get lost in titles, duke this or princess that, but at the end of the day, you will be remembered for what impact you had rather than what people used to call you.

What strikes you about Princess Lulu Al Sabah is how well composed she is and how down to earth she comes across. Getting out of her way to meet two kids and making them feel as comfortable as if they were talking to a friend, that’s what you call an amazing person to chat with!

An inspiring story with much to teach us as Gen-Y, it is time we all learn from Lulu and implement these 5 valuable lessons in our lives and businesses:

1. Understand that life is tough, and that you need to be tougher

2. Explore new horizons whenever possible

3. Know your Business and your customers

4. Don’t compromise on what you stand for

5. Never be intimidated by the top guys

6. Always, always avoid arrogance