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Pleasures Magazine: The Path to Start-Up Success: Natali Budzei, Dubai-Based Ukrainian Entrepreneur, Launches New
Luxury Yoga Mat, Explains Why UAE Is Where Every Dream Turns Into Reality
2021-02-27 / 08:21
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The Path to Start-Up Success: Natali Budzei, Dubai-Based Ukrainian Entrepreneur, Launches New Luxury Yoga Mat, Explains
Why UAE Is Where Every Dream Turns Into Reality
ABUJA, NIGERIA / ACCESSWIRE / February 26, 2021 / The United Arab Emirates is fast becoming one of the most innovative
and futuristic cities in the world, with both the local Emiratis and expatriates moving to Dubai for entrepreneurship
opportunities. With such an international scene and the diversity of people, ideas and creativity, it is no wonder that
the UAE is home to some of the most talented people in the world.
One of such is Natali Budzei, an entrepreneur, lawyer, and multi-business owner. We wonder how she finds the time to
run three businesses and keep up her vibrant social media presence.
Natali is one of the most diverse entrepreneurs to have emerged out of the UAE. Gaining recognition as a pianist, she
has since propelled herself as an award-winning business owner, mentor, and international event consultant.
Though from Ukraine, Natali launched Gulf Art Advisory, a leading art consultancy firm that is promoting emerging
artists and connecting them with galleries and collectors. The beautiful Ukrainian, who lives in Dubai, is the epitome
of the UAE's entrepreneurial culture. Moving to the UAE seven years ago for her MBA in International Hospitality
Business, she later set up her company in 2014 and has since become one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the
Her career as an entrepreneur has seen her work with leading luxury brands such as Bulgari, Hermes, Cartier, Jumeirah
Group, Amazonico, and many more. Always full of energy and ideas, Natali shares with PLEASURES MAGAZINE everything from
taking leaps and managing company growth to remembering the importance of your own creative side and the realities of
running your own brand. The young Ukrainian also dishes out some pieces of advice to those who have that bold
It is nice to have you on Pleasures Magazine. Please, what brief information can you give about yourself?
My name is Natali Budzei. I am from Ukraine, and an entrepreneur based in Dubai.
How long have you been in Dubai?
For the first time, I visited Dubai in 2010, and it was just for a short vacation in between getting my masters in
International Law in Ukraine. Dubai looked quite challenging and safe at the same time, and I was looking for another
place to reside in after my graduation. I considered New York and London among the most established places in
education, art and business. But it did not take me too long, probably just an hour after I landed, to know that I
would live here one day, and I've been a resident since 2013.
Why did you choose to set up your business in Dubai and not UK, United States, or your country?
At first, I moved in as a student and was working on my MBA in International Hospitality Business. I still had no idea
how I would like to be established in the region and if I will stay here after my education. With some understanding
from my entrepreneur friends of setting a business in Free Zones, I decided to try on my own. Comparing procedures for
expatriates in US or UK to the UAE, there was a huge difference. Also, as United Arab Emirates' population is made up
of more than 90 per cent foreigners, you don't feel foreign. Now, with a historic move of new citizenship, which allows
residents under certain criteria to get the UAE passport, the country is opening the door wider to people of all
nationalities to truly embrace the UAE as their own.
How did your upbringing prepare you for the world of business?
My father was a head of police department dealing with organized crimes. When he retired, he started a few businesses
in oil, petrochemicals, coal, security and others. No one taught him how
to manage it, he had to figure that out on his own. My mother used to be a primary school teacher, until she
established a private school and nursery. My parents taught me that we all have the confidence in us to take chances
and bet on ourselves.
Going through your social media posts, what stands out is the positivity and energy emanating from you. Do you believe
it is something inborn in you? How can one incorporate gratefulness into one's life?
Thank you. I do believe that energy is extremely important. We "read" each other not as much by looks, but by energy.
It's the most honest way to connect. I don't think we should aim to incorporate gratefulness or anything else into
one's life. Just be grateful, it's the best way to inspire others by your own example. It's also okay to be grateful
and still want more.
Five years ago, you started your first business and today you run three successful businesses. What has this journey
Entrepreneurship is a long way of ups and downs. What I have now is not success that came overnight. I love art a lot
and my first company was the Art Advisory firm. That was one of my best experiences - attending art fairs all over the
world, meeting artists and collectors. I was still doing it after I stepped out of this business and probably will
continue once the world recovers from the pandemic. Through my career, I have been involved in different sorts of
businesses and I can say that no matter what you do, the two most important qualities you need to focus on are how good
you are doing your job and how advanced your communication skills are.
Have you always been entrepreneurial? What led you to taking that first step and setting up your own business?
When I was 12, during summer camp attendance, I organized a café for our teachers and hired my classmates. We were
selling chips and cola. I am clearly not a corporate person type.
Could you tell us how your yoga journey began?
I decided to extend my business profile just before the lockdown started, so I googled the most selling products on
Amazon. Yoga mat was in Top 10. I checked lots of products and brands, but did not find something cool or what I would
really like. I knew I could make it better. Then, I was looking for reliable factories, best quality materials, actual
designs, branding, packaging, and more. The fact is, I arranged the whole business only on WhatsApp, without being able
to travel due to the global pandemic. This has totally changed my views on the nature of business and opened so many
more opportunities in my mind for my future ventures.
You have recently launched Budzy Mats. What sets Budzy apart from other yoga mats in the market? How are Budzy Mats
ecologically made and why is this so important to you?
Great question. I do believe people care about global warming and climate change. It is really happening right at this
moment, and our goal as humanity is to save our beautiful planet if possible. And right here, the quest for my purpose
became much deeper.
Usually, when you see recyclable products, most of the time they look quite boring in terms of design. Yes, you buy
them. But then, you never really use them. So, they hang somewhere in your house gathering dust.
I wanted to create a product, which will be fashionable and eco-friendly at the same time. So, once you purchase, you
WANT to use it daily. Made from the highest quality of rubber, Budzy mats are free from PVC materials, which contain
dangerous chemical additives including phthalates, lead, cadmium, which can be toxic to one's health. They are also
bigger than standard mat and don't slip.
What is the sales process like? Do you sell Budzy mats online or in physical shops?
Now we are selling via our website, Instagram, Amazon.ae and one of the leading gyms and fitness centres in the UAE -
Train Beach Club. We are planning to sell via luxury online platforms as well as local and international concept stores
You are also into events. What can you tell us about it?
I have recently launched BALLOONSIAGA. It is a company based on luxury balloons/flowers décor for events, big or small.
I'm also operating as an event planner, which is a separate thing. Of course, it is all connected at the end.
What other business are you into?
I am currently finalizing second collection for Budzy mats. At the same time, I am working on a resistance bands line
and candles collection. My mind is constantly full with ideas, and I hope I will make at least some of them a reality.
Prior to COVID-19 era, from time to time I used to perform at events as a professional piano player, in particular for
Rolls Royce, Emirates Women Magazine, Panerai, Meraas, and others. It is a hobby grown into a small business. I do miss
being on stage.
I also advice young entrepreneurs in Africa. Recently we helped to set up a company in Mauritania. Giving back never
goes out of fashion.
If any, what challenges have you experienced as a woman in business?
I love being a woman and I love business. Challenges and competition are always there. I choose to think it is a good
thing, not letting you get too relaxed and pushing you to be more creative and more professional. That is what actually
makes us better.
What is a typical day like to you?
Due to my work, responsibilities, and lifestyle there is no typical schedule for every day. I can easily work 16 hours
a day. I do not go out a lot. I am usually having an early start and my days are always on the go.
Let us take today, for instance, I had a couple of clients in the morning. I went to the gym, listened to some
interesting podcasts while exercising, like Jordan Peterson's or Joe Rogan's podcasts, while on the treadmill, stopped
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