Sameera Ameer is the mumtrepreneur behind home-grown UAE brand, Wild Child Designz. Born out of a back-ground in design and a love for whimsical childhood imagery, Sameera's furniture line has gone from strength to strength in its first few years and is now sold at Level Kids and online at Mumzworld. Her eye for design is now also sought after for commercial children's space design projects, and last year she oversaw the fit out of over ten rooms in a premium brand nursery in Dubai.
Like many designer mums, the use of Wild Child's signature woodland and storybook imagery in otherwise very functional furniture, was inspired by her daughters, Lana (8) and Sasha (6). The close-knit three live together in a large, light filled apartment over the Palm Jumeirah's marina. I visited last week and heard all about how the girls and Sameera's relationship with each differs, how they entertain themselves in the hot months, the battles she choses and those she lets slide, how WildChild Designz started and life as a single mum in Dubai...
“Lana is a very gentle, caring and intuitive little girl, she is like my little PA, always reminding me what needs to be done. She loves to read, watch action and horror movies and is always dancing. My youngest, Sasha is sensitive and very loving, she would hug me for hours. She is highly aware of her surroundings and is just a very happy and chatty little girl. People tend to gravitate towards her.
“Lana is the most loving older sister and always has Sasha’s back. They get along best when its just the two of them and I am busy. Lana is extremely responsible and I can trust her to look after Sasha, however Sasha does tend to give Lana a hard time.
“I have a different relationship with each of them as they are so different. It is such a wonderful journey though, seeing them both grow up together but entirely individually.” - Sameera
“We have lived in Dubai for eight years now. I grew up in Sri-Lanka and moved to London in 2005, where I obtained an Interior design degree and also where Lana was born. I moved to Dubai in 2009 and we are here for the foreseeable future.” - Sameera
“It was after having my two daughters Lana and Sasha, that I spotted a huge gap in the market for bespoke children’s furniture. In university I had worked on several projects that involved interior design for children. The process involved interacting and working closely with young kids and I realised just how much I enjoyed designing for that age bracket, as opposed to adults. Then when I had my own daughters, I could not find furniture for their rooms that was unique, modern and durable other than the standard identikit Ikea and Pottery Barn pieces.
“I decided to turn my hand to creating custom-made pieces for my debut collection which was launched in June 2014. The collection featured over twenty unique handcrafted pieces, created to capture and ignite the fantastical imagination of children.” - Sameera
“The limitless love; the unexpected questions that you are not sure how to answer; the pure perspective they have on life and everything around them; the kisses and the hugs; all the friends that I have made through them; the sense of responsibility and belonging that they have brought into my life… Having these two girls is a privilege and a blessing.” - Sameera
“If I can teach them anything, I hope they learn that when life challenges you the most, how you respond and conduct yourself matters more than what you are dealing with. We must always try to have a positive impact on those around us no matter what. I hope they always keep their heads up and reach for their goals one day at a time.” - Sameera
“As a rule of thumb we are for the most part a gluten and dairy free family as we are all intolerant to it. So whatever else they can and like to eat outside of that works for me. Although I would love if they ate more fruit and vegetables, I also know you cannot force a child. We also use only natural detergents and cleaners for the house as they have sensitive skin. They’re allowed a little screen time, but bed times are respected. Other than that we are pretty relaxed as a family, at least I think so.” - Sameera
“On the weekend they are at their dads house. Sharing them is not easy. Whilst most people spend time with their families over the weekend, I do not have that option.
My challenge is different to most mums, for me it is more along the lines of how do I spend more time with my kids?
“It can challenging for the most part, especially not having any extended family here. But their dad is very hands on and we have a great understanding, it also helps that he and I live 5 minutes from each other.” - Sameera
“It’s a real cliché, but my two daughters are my biggest inspiration. The light and love they bring into my life helps me to create from within my higher self, from an almost elated spirit of design. When designing, I try to tap into my subconscious memory bank of all the places I have travelled, childhood memories, favourite comics, animations and memorable books. This is where my creativity stems from. Thinking outside the box and getting creative in terms of finding solutions to design challenges is vital for a small business such as mine.” - Sameera
“A personal highlight of my Wild Child Designz to date was in the summer of 2015, where I headed up the interior design and development of bespoke furniture design for a premium American Franchise nursery in Dubai. With a tight deadline of four months, we designed ten classrooms, each one with a different theme. Launching my brand on the online platform Mumzworld in 2016 was another, was was the line’s launch at the prestigious Level kids store last year.” - Sameera
“They enjoy being creative and artistic, hardly surprising I know! So as it starts to heat up in Dubai, put them in this great art camp in the summer as well as the top chef cooking camp. Other than that, we manage between visits to their cousins, play dates, swimming and travelling to keep them busy.” - Sameera
“This summer we are planning on going Bali at the beginning of the summer break for my mum’s 60th. And then probably Spain towards the end of the holidays. I enjoy beach holidays as we all love the sun and sand and there is not too much pressure to tour around doing touristy things. Last year the Maldives was a treat and we took a special trip to Vietnam with my mum.” - Sameera
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