Representing Éclat Nova Luxuries and Dominica, in Dubai United Arab Emirates: An amazing experience!

Lana Athanaze

To many, visiting Dubai, a country considered to be one of the world’s most advanced digital economies, comes once in a lifetime if any. For me, this became a possibility following my attendance at the UN Women-sponsored: Yemanja Collaborative – leadership and networking workshop, for select women entrepreneurs in the Caribbean. This workshop was held in Jamaica in December 2022 and my win at its Business Pitch Competition secured my sponsorship by UN Women to attend The Int’l Woman Leadership Conference (TIWLC), in Dubai, held from March 29th – 31st, 2023 under the theme ‘Women In Leadership, Against All Odds’.

Convened at the end of International Women’s Month, the annual conference organized by the Ibukun Awosika Leadership Academy, attracts hundreds of successful businesswomen and entrepreneurs from Africa and its diaspora, and fittingly culminated International Women’s Month. The event seeks to feature and address the challenges faced by women in our efforts to contribute to the socio-political and economic aspects of our countries. This year’s theme, ‘Against All Odds’ resonates with the hindrances that we often encounter in having to prove our worth against the social and systemic, institutionalized, male-dominated roles that societies have nurtured and supported. Africa holds the highest rate of women entrepreneurship per continent in the world. As women entrepreneurs, the value we bring to the economic growth and development of our countries and to the world by extension can never be overstated.

Women entrepreneurs at TIWLC  Conference

It felt great to be part of our small but dynamic Caribbean contingent and we created visibility for our businesses and countries. The diverse networking opportunities, training, and coaching were invaluable and included a specially selected team of global industrial magnates. Optimizing the potential of rare opportunities like these is important for an aspiring businessperson. My representation at TIWLC was multifaceted and highlighted myself as a woman entrepreneur, my business Éclat Nova Luxuries, and our botanical skincare products, and showcased Dominica as a world-class eco-destination. Dominica’s lush beauty, its organic botanicals which we use in our products, its diverse cultural aspects and colonial influences, added to a display of handmade local Dominican sweets certainly intrigued the delegates and as expressed by many, the need to visit my ‘beautiful island’.

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Oluchi Orlandi – Nigerian Super Model & Entrepreneur who has in fact already visited Dominica. She has publicly expressed via social media, her gratitude for our botanical products.

(L-r) Lana Athanaze, Oluchi Orlandi – Nigerian Supermodel & Entrepreneur

I  attended the closing gala in Dominica’s National wear, the Wob Dwiyet, and was voted to participate in an African Tribal Wear competition where I was selected by a judging panel and placed among fifteen persons identified to be the best dressed out of the four hundred or so delegates. One can only imagine my patriotic Dominican pride while I glided and twirled on the stage in my Wob Dwiyet. To travel so far away, almost twelve thousand kilometers from Dominica, and to have such an impactful presence on my new business acquaintances is surely one of my greatest life lessons thus far. This experience has really taught me the value of authenticity; how important it is to be true to yourself and to take pride in owning ‘your story’ because it belongs to you. My story is one of determination, self-sacrifice, and self-belief which has brought me to this juncture and adds to my personal testimony that one should never give up on one’s dreams.

Dubai is everything you’ve heard of and more, a futuristic country and in many aspects several light years from others. Experiencing its culture, food, architecture, the opulent Dubai skyline, The Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building), bashing through sand dunes, camel, and horse rides in the desert, among other activities, was simply amazing. I explored via aerial views including from a hot air balloon, a unique and breathtaking experience indeed, the endless miles of desert patiently awaiting their turn to be transformed into cities. A view in stark contrast to the green, rugged topography of Dominica.

Lana Athanaze, Dubai skyline

I’ve described my attendance at the conference as being ‘a major empowering and inspirational experience which has initiated a life-changing perspective of myself as a Woman Entrepreneur in my global space of operations.’ I feel honoured to have been afforded this opportunity and express my sincere gratitude to UN Women for their belief in me which has inspired and empowered me to continue to persevere ‘Against All Odds’.

Éclat Nova Luxuries was officially launched in October 2019 and has been awarded technical assistance grants by Caribbean Export Development Agency, and United Nations Development Program. This recent award to Dubai by UN Women is now added to these accolades. Our business specializes in luxurious botanical soaps, botanical massage oils, botanical clay facial masks, hair and body butters, and Aromatherapy candles. We are currently in the process of exploring and developing other product lines.

Our products are popular among visitors to Dominica,  the eco-conscious, and health enthusiasts, and the corporate community. They are available at various locations in Dominica including the airport’s main duty-free store. Our team is small but very dynamic.


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  1. Nathalie wilson
    April 30, 2023

    keep it pushing 👍

  2. MelMel
    April 28, 2023

    Congratulations Lana! You and your products are definitely going places.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 14
    • T Bodkin
      April 30, 2023

      Who could dislike this story. This non-Dominican is cheering for you young lady.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12
  3. Sunshine
    April 28, 2023

    Congratulations to you and wish you much success on your journey.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9
  4. Wet desert
    April 28, 2023

    I wished that all these black women from the corrupt Caribbean islands who “visited” Dubai would stay there and don’t come back. That’s where the passport sale is hot. Meanwhile, they are faking the reasons for going to Dubai. Go to Ghana, nuh!!!! None of these women could afford an apartment in Dubai. Plus, things aren’t cheap there. I’m surprised that they don’t visit their fatherland China.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 5

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