An Expat Entrepreneur!
Her Expat Life enjoyed sitting down with Camille Lordet, Founder of Maison Calypso (offering handmade french wedding veils). Currently, an entrepreneur incubated in the creative founder program at Station F; we found out what life is like as a female expat entrepreneur.
1. How did you begin your expat lifestyle? As a student, entrepreneur, trailing spouse, professional, retiree, etc? And tell us about that journey.
After finishing my studies in 2014, I started working in the luxury/cosmetic field in Paris. I had always been attracted to the Middle East region for its cultural differences. In 2018, I found a temporary job at Estée Lauder in Dubai, and my to be husband opened the branch of his consulting company in Dubai. We moved back to Paris end of 2021.
2. Where are you from and do people in your family or community live an international lifestyle?
I am Franco-dutch, but have grown up between France (mainly) and Boston, as the dutch side of my family has been living there for 50 years. Three of my siblings are currently living abroad (Hong Kong, Singapore & Holland)
3. What are the benefits and challenges that you've faced as an expat woman?
-getting to discover new things, a new culture etc
-having a "privileged" position in terms of access to health, budget, lifestyle
- making friends
- finding pairs for activities
- adapting to a new way of life and dealing with the "local" problems
4. Do you think it's much easier to live as an expat woman now than the previous generation of women from your family?
No I think its actually harder. Well I guess it also depends on the age. There are no clubs / supports for these women (at least young ones) and it feels more like we are enjoying a comfortable financial situation that we don't deserve.
5. How were you able to assimilate into your new home country? Were you able to make friends, find community, and be comfortable?
Yes but I mostly sticked around French/British expats. Emiratis don't really talk to strangers - the cultural differences are too strong
6. How was your life different from the local women and families?
My life was very different from the ones of local women. They are usually wearing an abaya, driving a big white SUV and spending their time in malls and beauty salons. They don't work.
7. What are goals you were able to accomplish as an expat that you wouldn't be able to accomplish in your home country?
The cultural differences are too strong. Working on the Gulf region has given me responsibilities I wouldn't have been able to dream of in France. I was in charge of the whole Middle East region in Marketing so it was really a huge scoop, on a very young/immature market with many initiatives to try out.
8. As an expat woman what type of privileges (or disadvantages) did you come across?
I would say the same thing as in question 3
9. Has your health, wellness, and overall happiness increased as an expat woman?
The cultural differences are too strong. Yes. I got great health coverage in the UAE and very quick access to very specialized doctors. Yes I got to try new things (gong therapy, yoga...) so yes I would say this was a happy period.
10. What is your favorite country to live as an expat and why?
I can only talk about my experience in the UAE but I would looooooove to try it in the US!
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