Noel Asmar


I had decided to take the startup plunge and much as I loved it, Beirut wasn’t an ideal place for entrepreneurs.
I had decided to take the startup plunge and much as I loved it, Beirut wasn’t an ideal place for entrepreneurs.

CEO & Creative Director of Noel Asmar Uniforms, PedicureBowls.com, AsmarEquestrian.com & Noel Asmar , Noel Asmar Contemporary Fashion

AsmarEquestrian.com & Noel Asmar , Noel Asmar Contemporary Fashion For most people, leaving college or university is a nervous time. Looking for that first ‘real’ job, hoping that reality is as good as dreams. For Noel Asmar, one of the best-known and most creative executives currently working in spa, that first job turned out to be the dream kind – even if it was at an unfinished hotel in a war-torn country 8,000 miles from home.

“I was very fortunate to have that experience in Lebanon. Because the hotel wasn’t finished, I was exposed to the entire process, from start to finish. It gave me an incredible hands-on education, beginning with architecture and construction, through operations and staffing, all the way to branding and marketing.” It was such a good experience Noel ended up staying in Beirut for another ten years, making a new life in the Middle East while also managing operations in Europe and Asia.

The late 1990’s were an exciting time to be in Lebanon, a nation recovering from years of conflict, a time of economic expansion and relative peace and security. But by the turn of the century Noel had set her sights on new horizons – back home in Canada. “I had decided to take the startup plunge and much as I loved it, Beirut wasn’t an ideal place for entrepreneurs.”

So Noel returned home and founded spauniforms.com, mainly because her experience of hotel and spa uniforms was unsatisfactory, to put it mildly. “There wasn’t anything specifically suited to the demands that spa work puts on clothing… spa staff want practical uniforms, but they also want to look and feel their best. I have always believed that good clothing is empowering.” There’s no doubt it’s difficult to be a good aesthetician or massage therapist if your clothes are impractical and drab.

As a result Noel has ended up knee-deep in fashion, without ever intending to be. So in an attempt to make up for lost time she immersed herself reading biographies on other designers. “Most of them aren’t that different to me. It has been inspirational, in the sense that it has transformed my belief in my own abilities and made me feel like I belong in this world.”

Speaking of inspiration, Noel is also a great believer in acting whenever it strikes. “I carry a notebook everywhere I go, so that nothing is forgotten. I began making notes on my first women’s collection while on a completely unrelated business trip to Vietnam. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you are doing, if you get inspired make sure you act on it immediately.”

Even if that inspiration makes you want to dance? “Of course! One of my most memorable and hilarious moments was watching the dance Boldijarre Koronszay and Michael Tompkins did at conference a few years ago. I have known both of them for 20 years or so, and it was such a fun, authentic, uplifting way to celebrate.” A bit like celebrating that first job!


I had decided to take the startup plunge and much as I loved it, Beirut wasn’t an ideal place for entrepreneurs.