Hanne Ripsaluoma and Terhi Pinnington, founded their Dubai business, Omasi together. They make these personalised towels for children and their parents, and it has been hugely popular with the surfing community in Dubai. Hanne, is a mum of two boys who are 6 years and 2 years, and moved to Dubai 8 years ago from London with her husband. She was a high powered executive herself before the call of family life, and has since created this enterprise with good fellow Finnish friend, Terhi. Terhi and her Australian husband moved from Spain to Dubai back in 2003 in search of sunshine and a warmer climate. They have two children who are 5 years and 4 years old. We talk to both Hanne and Terhi about Omasia and motherhood in Dubai.
What inspired you to create Omasi?
Hanne: The dream of being your own boss and aspiring to create something that I can be passionate about.
Terhi: I’ve always wanted to start my own company. I loved the idea of being in charge of my own work schedule and creating my own products. The idea became reality as there was a gap in the market for quality, personalised and affordable beach products.
Who are your main clientele who buy Omasi?
Hanne + Terhi: Our clients are a mix of mothers of small babies and school children, brides to be, corporates, sailing enthusiasts, yoga lovers, tourists, surfers…
Where can we purchase Omasi towels? What are the costs of these towels and does it include the embroidery?
The beach ponchos start from AED 140 (small), beach bags from AED 180, bath towels from AED 150 and beach towels from AED 220 when ordering through us. Embroidery is always included in the price.
We design bespoke sets for occasions such as weddings or for corporate gifts and for those the prices depend on quantity and design.
Being career girls, how hard was it to choose between being a full-time mum and returning back to your old careers?
Hanne: For me it took until the second pregnancy to be able to leave the world of telecoms and although I loved being a full-time mum I always had the dream of starting my own business … and soon after the idea of Omasi was born.
Terhi: I went back to work when my youngest was 2 years old. I did enjoy the corporate world, but soon after Omasi was born, I just didn’t have enough hours in the day anymore. I found it challenging dividing my time in between a full-time job, Omasi and my family so I recently resigned from my job, the decision was easy.
You chose British systems for your children’s education? Can you tell us which school you chose and why? Please list three good things about your schools.
Hanne: My son goes to Kings’ Dubai which we chose because of its reputation and the familiar feeling of a relatively small school. We think the good things about Kings’ Dubai includes great teachers, a friendly atmosphere and keeping a good balance between fun and challenging the children.
Terhi: My children are attending JESS Jumeirah and both of them love going there. It is a non-profit school, they have a fantastic teachers and facilities and also the proximity of the school from our house is a big bonus.
Which nursery did you choose for your children and why? How important is the nursery’s reputation for education vs nursery’s location for you?
Hanne: My younger son goes to Willow Children’s Nursery which we just love. In addition to reputation and location for me it was really important to get a really nice overall feeling of the nursery the moment I walked through the gate and I got that at Willow.
Terhi: Our children attended Kids Cottage Nursery, Willow’s sister nursery in Jumeirah 3. We loved the small, cozy set up and the welcoming feel of the nursery.
Location wasn’t the deciding factor, but the small class sizes, reputation for education and the comfortable, cosy feel of the nursery.
Favourite date night in Dubai.
Hanne: My husband and I met in London so we like going for dinners in the same restaurants we used to go to there, like Gaucho Grill, The Ivy, Nobu…
Terhi: Dubai is a full of gorgeous restaurants. We like to go for a midweek dinners combined with occasional theater shows or comic nights.
Favourite holiday destination for the family.
Hanne: We love travelling back to our home countries Finland and Chile but for a true holiday elsewhere we love Bali for its beaches, food and culture.
Terhi: We are usually dividing our holidays in between Finland and Australia, but as my husband and son love surfing, we like to squeeze in an occasional long weekend/beach holiday to Sri Lanka or Oman.
Favourite weekend activity in Dubai with your families.
Hanne: Entertaining friends and their children at our place.
Terhi: We are a big beach lovers so we go the beach every weekend and love to host barbeques for our friends and their families at our villa.
Hanne Ripsaluoma/ Terhi Pinnington
Phone: 050 152 5889 / 050 843 2088