The Power Couple...
When it comes to the Who’s Who of the city’s elite, Shaaista and Osman Osman is the capital’s own power couple. Business partners and parents to two little girls, the Osmans make juggling business and family look easy. We wanted to know just how they do it.
Born and raised in Pretoria, Shaaista and Osman Osman both called Laudium home for many years before finally settling down in Centurion.
“I think I was about six or seven years old when Bollywood shows were allowed to come back into South Africa after apartheid ended and a friend of my father organised a show with Amitabh Bachchan at the Sharks Rugby Stadium.
“While standing in line to go in, I saw everyone waiting to greet the gentleman who had organised the show. He had a walkie-talkie in his hand and it was at that point that I wanted to be the guy with the walkie-talkie and not the guy on the stage. I guess I am blessed and fortunate to be living my dream today,” Osman explains his passion for events management.
Little did he know then that his now wife, Shaaista, also had big dreams of one day owning her own events company.
When she was just 18 years old, she started a company called Paragon Generation, which focused on the upliftment and development of skills education for everyone from minors all the way to tertiary level.
“I organised a lot of small events before moving onto more private and corporate events,” the bubbly businesswoman says.
In 2004, she started Regalo Ed Fragranza, one of the countries’ first online fragrance stores. She was importing from Paris and London as well as all over the world, and in 2009 Blu Blood came into existence.
Blu Blood is a lifestyle and communications company specialising in live events and entertainment throughout Africa.
They are the leading producers of Bollywood events on the continent and on the local comedy front they own the brand Kings & Queens of Comedy, which tours throughout South Africa and plays to sold-out audiences.
“We also have a public relations and communications arm that handles crisis management as well as PR, corporate profiling, artist management, a digital media agency and a print and design house, ” Osman explains.
Although the couple grew up in the same community of Laudium, they never met until one day when they both used the services of the same graphic designer.
“Shaaista demanded to be helped first and I decide to strike up a conversation – without any response. She was so beautiful … but so out of my league! I did, however, get her phone number and a beautiful friendship soon started,” Osman fondly remembers their first encounter.
“I can’t say that it was love at first sight, but it’s been the most amazing relationship that I have ever had, and it grew so strong and so deep that our love runs ever deep to this day. It’s a love that humbles and grounds us,” Shaaista adds.
As if written in the stars, the couple soon after merged their lives and businesses, building it into the success story it is today.
So who does what? And how difficult is it really working so closely with a spouse?
“Shaaista is very good with proposals; she is the one who comes up with all these crazy ideas. I’m the person that makes it happen, I’m the deal maker. I turn her crazy ideas into reality.”
Working together so closely, it also helps if your spouse is your best friend.
“You have to share the same vision and ambition and have the same goals to make things happen. Shaaista and I both know where we want to be and what we want for our brand and company. One difficult thing, however, is learning when to switch off and keep a positive point of view even during conflict times. For example, if you’re in the dog box at home, you’re business partner cannot give you the silent treatment at the office,” Osman explains.
“You can’t take your work into the bedroom and you can’t take your bedroom into the workplace. That being said, Osman is an amazing individual and a real force of nature to work with. He pushes my boundaries and I push him too, but at the same time, we ground each other and that is an important asset,” Shaaista adds.
“Call it the yin to my yang, north to south, east to west, day to night – I would not want to work with anyone else but him, and I am so privileged and honoured to do so every day of my life.”
When the couple isn’t working, they like to relax at home with their two daughters, aged seven months and five years, and catch up on their favourite series.
“It sounds very simplistic but in the hectic, crazy lifestyle that we lead, we find great solace and great pleasure in just relaxing which we don’t get a lot of during the week,” Shaaista says. Family means everything to the Osmans and somehow they make juggling family life and work look easy.