Narrator, visionary or shoe queen? Whatever you call her, Rania Masri El Khatib is leading the way for creative minds of the region to come together and make magic happen
You can call her an institution, a storyteller or a guru, but one thing’s for certain: Rania Masri El Khatib is the OG when it comes to redefining the way, when and why of how we shop. Chalhoub alum Rania was responsible for the business and digital transformation of the group, in addition to giving us Level Shoes at The Dubai Mall (thanks Rania!). And it seems that a (so far) 20-year career in luxury was perpetually on the cards for her. “I always wanted to work in that world, because I wanted to be involved in making other people dream a little,” she says. “I have worked with amazing brands from a very young age, and from the training and theory to the practice, it always starts with their story. A great company will connect their teams emotionally first, so that in return they can create the same connection with their customers and suppliers.”
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After being at the top of her industry for a couple of decades, Rania decided it was high time for a sabbatical and in 2021 took the leap to do less. “When the time is right, the whole universe will tell you,” says Rania. “I needed to take a step out of my everyday to pause and reflect on the past 20 years. This was the best decision I could have made. During my very exciting journey, building my career and life, I was laser focused and wanted to achieve so many milestones. I wanted to take time to appreciate how far I came as a person. It is from that place of gratitude that I was able to start looking at what was next. I took time to rest, to practice wellness and mindfulness, I travelled, spent meaningful time with old friends and connected with new ones. Time during this sabbatical just went still, and I enjoyed just being with myself, my family, my kids. I didn’t have a list of to dos, and that was the first time in a long time,” adds Rania.
Today, she is using her creative forces for good, and can now add entrepreneur to her CV. At the beginning of the year, The RMK Collective was born. “If you ask anyone that has worked with me, on my teams, they will tell you that I am a master storyteller and I make these stories a reality,” explains Rania. “The RMK Collective is my vehicle to take brands and businesses through this methodology. Strategy, branding and digital are the tools and the means to achieve it, and The Collective are the people that drive that vehicle. I have always found success in my projects when I can create powerful synergies with the right people. When the right minds come together, we create brand experiences like no other, and stories come to life.”
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An aesthete at heart, Rania’s links to luxury come in different forms but she always finds the true meaning of luxury in sentiments, not things. “For me, luxury is always linked to a memory or a story,” she says. “Every piece that I own has a story around it, and I love to share them with others. One day, when I let these pieces change hands with friends or family, they will take a piece of my life with them too. That’s sustainable luxury.”
A typical day in Rania’s life is full of family, zoom calls, exercise and Netflix. She is also known to carry her office in her bag. “You will find everything I need for the day: My Macbook, a small makeup bag for touch-ups, my Bose headset for my zoom calls, my iPhone, my iPhone power bank, a sanitizer, my wallet, and that’s it!” she laughs. As someone who has lived and worked in the UAE for so many years, Rania has seen the changes come and go over the decades. “Dubai in 2002 was very different but oh so inspiring in its potential,” she says. “The sky was the limit! There was this overall feeling that everyone was here to make an impact. Old school Dubai connects a big group of us. We were and are in it together. Ask anyone about our Sho Cho Dubai Marine Resort days and you will see a smile come to their faces. As for today? I find it hard to picture myself living anywhere else. There is no match for the energy and vibe of this city. If I am here, I am in creator mode.”
A Day In The Life Of Rania Masri El Khatib
I wake up at… 6am most days, except on weekends. I love to sleep in.
I’m responsible for… Myself first and foremost. If I’m good, then everyone else around me will be.
My go-to working wardrobe consists of… Casual suiting and sneakers nowadays.
My go-to beauty look for the 9-5 is… Simple makeup! I put my mascara on, Erborian BB and CC cream base, and Lipstuck lipstick in a nude colour by Wow Beauty Forward.
For lunch I eat… Either at The Lighthouse or at No. Fifty Seven Boutique Café at THAT Concept Store.
What I love most about my job is… That no two days look the same.
And what I enjoy the least is… Following up with people on their commitments.
When I get home I… Run to the bathroom!
The gadget I can’t live without is… My Oura ring
If I wasn’t in my current position, I would be… A talk show host.
- Words and styling by Sophia Serin
- Photography by Ausra Osipaviciute