Nawal, Since 1989
BY ANAAM IKRAM
Walking up the steps, it seems as though the door might open into a Parisian café. For eponymous shop owner, Nawal Al Sabbagh, her cafe provides a luxurious experience as it is decadently decorated with chocolates and flowers that welcome customers. Through the delicious combination of flowers and chocolates, Al Sabbagh serves up her passion, accompanied with a lovely cup of tea.
Opening her first shop in 1989, the mother of four had a very different start to her career. Al Sabbagh worked in the government sector but did not stop pursuing her love for art through painting, and eventually starting her own business. Her shop, Nawal, Since 1989, specialises in individually styled and hand-crafted flower arrangements and a tantalising selection of chocolates from all around the globe. “I believe God creates everybody with something special inside of them. They have to find it, polish and bring it out in a beautiful way”, she said. Using her passion for art as inspiration, Al Sabbagh manages to create eye-catching and elaborate flower arrangements.
From Lebanon to Belgium, and Bahrain in between, the variety and quality of the chocolate offered caters to the needs of all chocoholics. Their most popular chocolates are the classics, made with roasted nuts, pistachio and caramel and the truffles which are imported from France, as well as the Dragée chocolates. The latest exclusive edition to the their mouth-watering selection of the bite-sized sweets, is the ‘Chocolate of the Forest’. The truffles and chocolates are made with Northern Deep Forest berries and garnished with rose petals. Undeniably, it is both pleasing to the eye and taste buds. Of course, being a huge fan of chocolate herself, Al Sabbagh said her love for chocolate and experience throughout her many years of work has turned her into an expert. The chocolate-savant looks for only the highest quality to bring back to her shop, such as the latest import line of European chocolate, to ensure her shop provides the best chocolate and also caters to the varied palette of each of her customers.
An admirer of the Hyacinth flower, the self-taught florist Al Sabbagh says one of most rewarding things for her is the satisfaction of her customers after they see her work. The inspirations behind her work come from doing extensive reading on the topic and travelling. She has visited places such as the famed Historical Garden Aalsmeer, in Holland and the botanical gardens in the UK. With floral arrangement competition also being very high in Bahrain, she said it is essential for her to partake in various exhibitions and keeping an eye on other floral shops in Bahrain to make sure she sets herself apart from them.
“In the beginning we have to learn and even now we are learning. We never stop. But you know, almost like when you go up the stairs and the first step is never the same as the middle, and the middle is never the same as the last? I am still in the middle. I am still trying to go up,” Al Sabbagh said of her experience thus far, with plans of taking her already successful business to newer heights.
Focusing further on improvement and development, Al Sabbagh renovated her shop to change the aesthetic to mirror her own delicateness and elegance. “I want to show everyone that when you dress something, it can look beautiful”, she said of her recent renovations. The spacious and soft interior gives the shop a flair of sophistication with big windows allowing ample sunlight and beautiful chandeliers that light up the whole place when evening falls.
Nawal, Since 1989’s minimalist and chic look resulted from the combined effort of Nawal Al Sabbagh and her daughter. Her daughter helped transform her shop into the modern-but-classic vision she had. The new look of her shop gives her energy and a push to work harder towards her business. “The moment I enter the shop, my soul is instantly uplifted,” she said.
Nawal Al Sabbagh’s drive to use art and creativity has resulted in not only catering to people’s needs from within the shop, but also through event management. Great attention is placed on every aspect. From design to dessert, every detail is carefully looked at and actions carried out accordingly, ensuring that the end result is exactly what the customers had envisioned.
With a mother so talented and hard-working, it is inevitable that her children too have followed in her footsteps and pursued their passions. Al Sabbagh said that all her children have very varied interests and she encourages each of them to work towards their dreams. The proud mother spoke of one of her daughters who is quite artistic and has a background in fashion design but appreciated the marketing and purchasing side of the industry and therefore now has her own marketing consultancy firm. Her elder son, is now the owner of a successful gym in Bahrain. Her other daughter, a culinary enthusiast from the age of 6, studied hospitality management and her youngest son who is a techie by nature is studying IT and computer engineering. “They are so different and I really appreciate that about them. I don’t want to push them towards something they don’t like,” she said.
Further branching out, the shop will now also offer food and tea, but unlike any other. The special menu prepared has floral elements throughout and the top floor has been turned into a mini cafe where guests will be able to enjoy the new menu and a quality cup of tea. Al Sabbagh has ensured that only the highest quality of beverages will be served. Providing exclusive tea creations by Dammann Frères Paris – such as the delicate white tea “Passion de Fleur” – and coffee beans from an artisan roasters in Venice, rare coffee from Jamaica Blue Mountain, Hawaii and St. Helen, Nawal, Since 1989 houses an eclectic mix of drinks for everyone.
With hopes to open a franchise, the talented entrepreneur has ensured that the high quality products and the overall experience are incredibly special and unforgettable for everyone walking in through the doors of Nawal, Since 1989.
For more information:
Abu Ghazal Avenue, Road 30, Villa 55, New Zinj
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