1. What’s inspired you to open a business?
In the bigger scheme of things I suppose I have always wanted to run a business out of fashion which is why I went to school pursuing fashion design. It was always the goal. But finding the right fit of people to work with and complement the areas that I was weaker in – that was the challenge. A lot of things happened at the right time, at the right place, with the right people to spur me into setting up what I loved to do as a business. Without them – there would be no business.
2. As an entrepreneur, what motivates you?
I am always motivated by the knowledge that I get to do what I enjoy on a daily basis. I get to see how my designs have been embraced by my customers. I know that there is something more than I can offer the modest fashion world in improvements in my designs and material selections. Fashion, in and of itself, is ever changing and evolving and I feel that is also true of how we perceive modesty. A hundred years ago women in the United Kingdom wore headwear that very much resemble hijabs but now they would associate weakness and oppression to wearing a headscarf. Perhaps one day it will change again and maybe I get to be a part of that.
3. What are the challenges you face?
Challenges? Where to begin?! From the day we started our company we faced multiple challenges at the same time. Raw Materials, Manpower, Quality Control, Shipping, Customer Relationship Management, Social Media, Advertising. The challenges don’t go away over time but you get better at dealing with them. Things that used to cause you sleepless nights can be solved with a few phone calls. One of the biggest challenges today would be to communicate to our consumers the value of our products is not in how cheap they are but in how much value we provide in the quality of the materials and workmanship, in the way we continuously send out our products on time every time and in the level of service we provide. How do we tell the story of the brand that believes in paying a living wage to our line workers and providing a safe and clean working environment so that our customers understand and value that proposition? This is the biggest challenge we face today.
4. What’s your most valuable lesson as a business owner?
As as business owner, the most valuable lesson is that I must conduct myself in a way that is collaborative as opposed to confrontational with the people we do business with – even if they are our competitors. There is nothing to be gained from giving someone the cold shoulder if they wanted to create a brand and enter the market. I believe that God will provide for everyone. Competition is not something to despise and hate – certainly not something to lose friendships over. Competition is a driver for us to increase our capabilities and serve our customers with ever more unique experiences.
5. What future plans do you have for the business?
There are specific goals that I have for the business and namely I wish to introduce clothes as an extension of my brand on a regular basis as opposed to only seasonally. I would also like to take my brand globally and work with people all across the Muslim world and share with them what we have to offer from our Little Red Dot.
6. What are you most proud of today?
There are many things that I am proud of in the time we have been running our business but by far the thing I am most proudest of is the support we receive from our employees. Till this day no employee has been let go. Everyone comes to work because it is a job yes but more importantly they feel that they are continuously contributing to the company’s growth and their own growth. In a company that has existed organically we are dependant on the goodwill of our customers but more often than not – the company is only as good as the employees are loyal and I am proud of them.