Why I started my own business and the story behind MNFL Design


I have touched this topic in a previous blog and now I wanted to share a little bit more about why I started MNFL Design and why I love working from home.

My parents are both self-employed. My dad has his own business and is very innovative and never afraid to test new things and my mom has worked as a freelance journalist for almost as long as I can remember. So I grew up in a house where being your own boss was always a big topic. And somehow there was always this certainty of being my own boss one day.

My dream was actually to become a fashion designer but thinking I cannot draw and going with the safer option I studied business studies at university. I thought it would be a good base for anything and also for my own business at some stage. I was right in that sense but overall I didn't like it and it was not for me. Luckily for my first job I started working for a big German company and after some time I worked as a buyer for sports wear which I absolutely loved. Also I am so happy that I got the opportunity later to take many, many different classes in different countries in fashion, graphic and interior design.

Anyway, life doesn't always take you straight down the road, it takes some turns until you reach your goals.

And so it also happened in 2007 when I was about to go back to part time studies at London College of Fashion when I actually moved to America with my newly wed husband.

After trying out different things and enjoying my freedom for a while it was there that I made the decision and started my own business together with my dear friend Teresa.

My beginning of entrepreneurship

So in 2008 Teresa and I started a small design company in Texas for German inspired children's wear and accessories, called little Liebling (www.littleliebling.de). We hired a small studio and it was a great time. We had a lot of fun and I learned so much. Not only from the design side but also the marketing and business part of running your own company. We did everything ourselves, from the design of the website, to the marketing materials and of course designing, sewing and selling the clothes. It was such a steep learning curve and such a great experience.

When I moved to Dubai, I continued to work for little Liebling and selling our items in Germany and here in Dubai and only a couple of years ago I have stopped completely and Teresa took over alone.

In Dubai I also started another small company with a partner called D&E Shoes. We imported and sold Portuguese leather shoes for children. As with little Liebling I loved the process of setting up the company, deciding on a logo, a brand identity and creating the website. And we worked with a great graphic designer where I learned a lot.

However in 2013 I had my third child and as I thought it would be my last I decided to stop working for a while and just enjoy my kids. As I can't really just sit still and enjoy the moment, I started taking many design classes again in interior design, which is my hobby, and also graphic design.

Why I started MNFL Design

When my daughter was about 1½ I was feeling restless and entrepreneurial again, I wanted to create something and work with people (and to be honest I also wanted to earn my own money again). So I sat down with my husband to discuss some options.

I was thinking of going back to working in the corporate world but in Dubai it can be quite difficult to find a part time job. Also I really wanted to keep my flexibility for my kids. There are always things happening at school and nursery where parents are asked to attend or help and as my husband doesn't have time to go there I didn't want my kids and myself to miss out on that. Time flies by so quickly and the kids are growing up so fast so I definitely want to take active part in their lives as long as they still want me to and for as long as I can.

And then there is the aspect of the long summers in Dubai where all woman and kids seem to be traveling and going to their home countries or visiting relatives. As both my husband and myself are German and our families are still living in Germany we also want to give our kids the German roots, although they have never lived there and were born abroad. So giving up my long summers in Germany with the kids was actually not an option :-)

I had been my own boss for so long that I could not imagine working for someone else again and working on someones else’s dream. Possibly also being told how to do it. I wanted to make my own dream come to life. I wanted to do what I love and not just something in order to earn some money.

It was quite clear that I wanted to start my own design business again.

I always loved the start up phase of my companies as well as supporting my friends starting up their businesses. I think it is such an exciting and crucial phase a of new small company which I find fascinating over and over again. However I can’t start a business over and over again so I thought how can I help others start their business?

Having always loved working on the graphic design and website design parts for my businesses and as there are so many start ups and small businesses run by fellow mums in Dubai I decided to actually become a website designer. My best friends here encouraged and supported me so much which was great and very motivating. Thanks a lot for that, you know who you are ;-))

I decided to specialize in branding and web design for new entrepreneurs which I absolutely love! I actually wish I had started earlier.

I took some more classes in graphic design and in Wordpress for web design and just started slowly to test the waters.


I am meeting so many new and interesting people and their businesses which is super inspiring. I keep on learning so many new things through my clients and also through great online courses and communities and I feel like the opportunities are endless.

In the meantime I also had my fourth child which supported my decision to work from home even more :-)

Oh and by the way the name MNFL Design comes from my children, MNF and L are their initials.

So this is my entrepreneurial story and if you are still with me, I really hope you enjoyed reading this. And again I would love to hear your story! If you don't want to post anything here, send me an email and I promise I will answer! What do you do? What lessons have your learned? How has your life taken those unexpected turns? Or what fears do you have of starting your own business?

Have a lovely day and week everyone! Always remember anything is possible, just believe in yourself and work hard.

xx Emilia

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