Dala Al-Fuwaires is an international transplant who moved to Arizona 17 years ago. She is the owner of FJI.DESIGN, a hospitality interior design studio with a sweet spot for food and beverage environments. Learn more about Dala Al-Fuwaires…
Hometown: Born and raised in Kuwait City, Kuwait. Living, loving, and designing in Phoenix, AZ.
First job: Receptionist at a spa in Kuwait.
Favorite AZ restaurant: Restaurant Progress by Chef TJ Culp. I first experienced his magic at a pop-up dinner in his living room in 2016; it was the best meal I had ever had (and I had just returned from Barcelona where even the street food deserved a Michelin star). Chef TJ opened his restaurant in 2017 and every time I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing his food, I leave saying “this is the best meal I’ve ever had!”.
Person who has impacted your life the most: My father and husband. My father, for demonstrating incredible work ethic, embedding in me an innate love and respect for all of mankind, and giving me the gift of rhythm (watch out Usher). My husband, for exemplifying the meaning of “living with passion” and for relentlessly pushing me to find opportunity outside of my comfort zone.
Your biggest accomplishment in your eyes: Starting a design firm with no clients or knowledge in business.
The biggest obstacle you have overcome: Though this was an external factor outside of my control, I’d have to say that surviving the Gulf War of 1990 is the biggest obstacle I have had to overcome. Experiencing war first hand has definitely had a positive impact on my perseverance and drive.
Someone who inspires you: My grandmother, Amineh Ansari. She defied all societal norms and became the first female broadcaster to be heard on Kuwaiti radio. I think of her when I’m faced with “perceived” limitations – if she can do it, then we all can!
Favorite quote: “In my life I’ve discovered that if I cling to the notion that something’s not possible, I’m arguing in favor of limitation. And if I argue for my limitations, I get to keep them.” Gay Hendricks, The Big Leap.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Those so-called rules of design… break them! Design is an expression, a feeling, an opportunity to share your creative vision. Find a design firm that will embrace those qualities and help you hone them.
What makes someone fabulous: Honesty, integrity, focus, kindness, and love! Lots of love!
Learn more about Dala’s business FJI.DESIGN at FJI.DESIGN.