Success By Design

Expatriation is about “making it” in a foreign environment. Omar Munie was a refugee from Somalia. Now, 11 years later, he is a Dutch national: once an outsider, he is now celebrated as a successful Dutch entrepreneur. Writer Diane Lemieux sits down with Omar to find out what are the keys to his success.

“No one questions me anymore,” says Omar Munie, slouched comfortably on a couch in the showroom of his atelier.

In this spacious room, we are surrounded by the products of his hard work: beautiful bags, mounted magazine articles and photos of events he has participated in, gracefully exhibited materials and locally produced leather that are the trademark of his craft. He seems slightly uncomfortable to admit it, but says that since his high profile success as a designer of high end bags ‘I am accepted for who I am. No one questions the colour of my skin, or asks me where I’m from.’ Not anymore. But it wasn’t always so.

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Diane Lemieux was born in Quebec and moved to live abroad for the first time at the age of three. That journey continued through 11 countries on five continents during which she collected four languages, two passports and several cultural identities. She started her career in international development but decided over 15 years ago to pursue her writing career. She is author of four books including The Mobile Life: a new approach to moving anywhere and Culture Smart! Nigeria. Diane is based in The Hague, Netherlands.

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