Interview #95: Rabih Helou

Rabih Helou is one in a million.

If you work in East Liberty, it's probable that you know him. When I mention his name to a mutual friend, it's not uncommon for them to smile and say, "I really like that guy." 

Rabih has the much covetable ability to "think big" and not get stuck in the details when a project is taking shape. He and his business partner Matt Ciccone have grown their coworking space, The Beauty Shoppe, tenfold since opening their doors in 2010. 

Rabih has a knack for creating beautiful spaces for people to connect. He mentioned that he liked to give handwritten welcome notes to new Beauty Shoppe members. I'm a big fan! 

If I've got an ambitious collaboration idea, he's always one of the first people I email as I really respect his perspective. (Sorry Rabih, I don't think this is going to stop anytime soon.)

Although he moved to Pittsburgh kicking and screaming, Rabih has decided this is the place for him to settle and grow roots. I'm glad he chose to make this city his home. 

Enjoy Rabih's Q&A! 

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Name: Rabih Helou

Job title: I don't know. I don't have a job.

Twitter: @rhelou, @beautyshoppepgh

Blog: thebeautyshoppe.org

Neighborhood you live in: Highland Park

Coffee Shop Drink of Choice: Zeke's. Blue collar, black coffee. 

Current Shampoo Preference: I'll keep using whatever my wife has lying around until I lose all my hair. I think it's shampoo. Not sure. Definitely losing my hair.

Why do you choose Pittsburgh as your home?
I wasn't thrilled about moving here in 2009, but my love for the city has grown. We very recently decided to make PGH our home for good. Main two reasons: quality of the people we meet, and the opportunity to grow with the city - Pittsburgh is at the beginning of a very exciting period of its history, and we want to be a part of it. Could we be entering Pittsburgh's golden age? Maybe.

Who do you spend your time with?
When i'm not at work, i'm with my family or alone. The world's most introverted extrovert.

What are your favorite aspects of your job?
Without question, having the privilege of being surrounded by the city's best and brightest.

Do you have a soul food?
Hummus. It's chick peas. It's healthy. Not really.

What are some of your recent personal goals?
Solo, unassisted handstand. To sleep better. I prefer giving things up more than setting goals. A reductionist goal setting philosophy. My goal is to have less. Be less. Think less. Thanks to input from Leah Lizarondo, I was able to tame my decade-long acid reflux problem by giving up meat and dairy. Although I cheat. A lot.

What are your favorite Pittsburgh restaurants?
We enjoy Dinette quite a bit. I love Salt of the Earth, and I think Spoon may be delivering the best all-round drink-food-service quality in the city.

Describe your ideal day.
Wake up to my not-yet-2-yr old daughter planting kisses on my face yelling 'baba.' Fast-forward to a quiet dinner at home, perhaps a walk up to Highland Park and a few laps around the reservoir around sunset. What happens in between is less critical. 

What is the most memorable live show you have seen in Pittsburgh?
The Moth - is that a show? It was live.  Brilliant stuff.

What do you think Pittsburgh will be like in ten years? What do you love most about the city? Pittsburgh will be less affordable and more densely populated. Sorry folks. I love that it's in change-mode, and I can't wait to see what it'll become, and where we're all be - you included - in ten years.