Brick and mortar shop, or online store? These days it seems more and more people in the UAE, the majority of them women, are opening up their own online shops using social networks like Instagram, Souq or Etsy. Tempo came across Maha Al Ajmi who opened her shop “Maha’s Closet” to offers a unique take on the turban-hijab. Maha talked to Tempo about her unique formula.
TEMPO: What makes Maha’s Closet special?
Maha: I named my shop after myself, however, my Instagram account is called Mahascloset. For now, my shop offers well-made fashionable ladies turbans with great fabric and at an affordable cost. The turbans aren’t found easily in the market; they are simply designed, unique, and practical. It is also comfortable, easy to wear, comes in different styles and most importantly is easy to remove and put back on again – and that makes it convenient for our busy lives.
TEMPO: How were you able to come up with your business idea?
Maha: I like these turban hijabs myself and I always struggled to find them in the market. And if I do they are either not the right shape, colour, fabric or just not that comfortable. My biggest inspiration was my auntie who started a home business herself a few years ago designing ladies clothes and nowadays she offers her collections in Harvey Nichols. I am very proud of her and hope to reach her success one day.
TEMPO: Who is your product aimed at?
Maha: The turban is a growing trend among modern hijabis. It is something that I hope will appeal to the new generation because it allows you to put your own personal touch on the way you dress. The turban covers your hair the same as a to a normal hijab but it is also a fashion accessory.
TEMPO: Tell us about your background.
Maha: I am Saudi, grew up in Riyadh, and lived in the UK for a few years during which time I got a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s in Business Management. Now I live in Abu Dhabi with my husband.
TEMPO: How have people reacted to your product?
Maha: They love it, and that has made me even more confident to continue!
TEMPO: Which famous entrepreneur inspires you?
Maha: There are few to be honest, but my favourite is definitely Dina Torkia who is a British designer as well as lifestyle, fashion and beauty v|blogger.
TEMPO: How has your life changed after you launched your business?
Maha: I would say I have become more confident in my ability to start a business. I have learned more about fabric, suppliers and how to market myself. I love being able to experiment with different ideas and strategies, and the freedom to run the business in my own way.
TEMPO: Any future plans that you would like to share with the community?
Maha: I want to become available on different social media platforms. There will be an account on Etsy coming soon, and I also have some ideas to introduce modest clothing for daily casual wear.
TEMPO: Maha, what would be the advice you’d give to young people who want to follow in your footsteps and become entrepreneurs as well?
Maha: I would say believe in yourself and your capabilities – you can achieve anything you want once you put your mind in it and don't listen to anyone who puts you down. I’d also tell you not to be afraid of failure as it will only give you more experience to build your future. Later on, you won’t regret your failures, you would only regret not pursing your dreams.
CONNECT WITH MAHA’S CLOSET:
Instagram: @mahascloset or email email@example.com