An Entrepreneur’s Journey: Making Abu Dhabi Smile


Nothing brightens a face like a smile – a sentiment entrepreneur Maissa Fattal tapped into when she set up Ibtisama, a teeth brightening lounge in Abu Dhabi. Here, in her words, is her story…

“I am a Swiss lawyer from Geneva. My mother is Syrian. I was born and grew up in my country where I used to be a lawyer pleading for criminal/civil cases on an everyday base. My cases were as diversified as having to defend one day a presumed murderer or rapist, and another day a divorced father seeking custody rights on his children. I was one hundred percent passionate about my profession and also started to be independent at the age of 25 years old. I came to UAE at the age of 28 years old, three years ago.


“Ibtisama, which means Smile in Arabic, is the first walk-in ‘Smile Lounge’ in the region where you can get express teeth brightening in the middle of a mall, in-between two shopping sessions, seated in the comfort of our bubble chairs. While others offer hair, skin or make-up products/services, Ibitsama cares about the smile in all its aspects, from shiny teeth to pouty smooth lips.

“I have always been on a hunt for natural effective products to care about my face and figure. Everything is available in the local market. But I couldn’t see a place where I could find complete range of products to brighten my smile. That’s where Ibtisama was born.

“Some people in the region have a common preconception that we need to go for a Hollywood Smile or a painful process to have a shiny smile. Ibtisama is willing to let everyone shine in their everyday life with confidence by using natural effective products. The first step starts in our lounge but will eventually become part of their everyday lifestyle. A bright smile has no secret. One needs to maintain it on an everyday base, and that’s why we offer our branded brightening products. We created an Ibtisama Smile Guide to be kept on everyone’s bedside!

“People around me are always asking how I came up with this business idea and how I built it to be how it is now. They found it very new and convenient. I have to say that my mother has always been my biggest inspiration. But if I have to go for a figure, I would say Elizabeth Arden. This woman created a worldwide empire in the cosmetics world starting from scratch, during the world war.

“I keep busy from early morning to late evening, wondering when I will have time to go for my first holidays since the birth of Ibtisama. From May, Ibtisama will start home service to offer an express bright smile experience. We will open second branch in Abu Dhabi Mall or Yas Mall in September.”

“My message to other entrepreneurs is to think well: don’t give up, be persistent, have confidence in yourself. Take action, be fair with others and give back to community.

“Please visit our website: to get all info. Follow us on instagram @ibtisama_uae and on Facebook /ibtisamaUAE.”



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