8th July, 2022
With Hijabs by Zazz and The Hijab Outlet, Zazz Fakih proves how applying a passion in unexpected ways can lead to business success.
When Zazz Fakih styled hijabs for fun, business was barely a blip on her radar.
“My cousin is a makeup artist, and I used to hang around and watch her do makeovers,” she says.
“When the women were done with their makeup, I’d offer to do their scarves.
“I thought it was ridiculous to have hijab styling for a wedding. It was only hair styling and makeup back then. We did our hijabs ourselves.”
The 26,000 followers Hijabs by Zazz now has on Instagram would naturally disagree. But at the time, turning a talent into a business was a new frontier for Zazz.
A healthy amount of encouragement from close supporters was the push Zazz needed to get going.
“My family started my Instagram page. My sister-in-law pushed me to promote it.”
Empowered by her network, Zazz embraced her new venture.
“I kept on posting and stayed consistent. I’d get my cousins or friends to come over to style them and create some content to post on my website.”
And with every bit of effort sunk in, Zazz received matching returns.
“It just kept getting bigger and bigger; people just started calling me, asking me to do hijab styling and I even got messages from people who just wanted advice.
“I went from booking three people through Friday to Sunday, to five bookings a day with groups of eight.
“I don’t run ads anymore – I’ve built my clientele. People find me, which is great. That’s what you want when you build a business.”
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Assuming social media ensured Zazz’s success would be doing her a disservice. In reality, it was her unwavering determination that made Hijabs by Zazz thrive.
“When I started styling, cost wasn’t important to me. I was travelling 40 minutes to an hour and charging only $20 to style scarves.
“I volunteered to work photo shoots for modest businesses and offered to do Hijab styling for girls at my cousin’s studio.”
Zazz’s success was well-deserved, but in her eyes the hard work served an arguably more important purpose.
“What I hope to teach my two kids about my business is that I worked hard to get there,” she says. “I want to show them that if they want to do something, to keep pushing. Because the end result is worth it.”
Zazz also thinks it’s an invaluable consideration for business owners facing uncertainty.
“There were times where I took a break and felt like it wasn’t going anywhere, but even when it feels like you’re getting nowhere, just keep trying.
“If it’s something you love, it’ll be worth it.
“When I pop the veil on and see the smile on their face – then the smile on their parents’ and siblings faces – it just makes me feel so good.”
Being in a highly competitive market, Zazz needed to constantly adapt based on customer needs. After countless requests to include makeup as a service, she ran with it despite makeup artistry not being a part of her professional skillset.
“I’ve always been interested in doing my own makeup, but I’d never tried it on others. So, I took a course.”
To Zazz’s surprise, the move paid off in ways she hadn’t even considered.
“People started to notice who I was. I even started to do makeup for girls who are aren’t Muslim.”
Next, with all sorts of new business learnings under her belt, she tackled an even loftier goal.
“I’ve always known that I wanted to run a retail business.
“I hated working for someone else. My skills were going to waste.”
The Hijab Outlet, established with Zazz’s sister-in-law, leaned into the quality-first formal style established by Hijabs by Zazz to fill a prominent gap in the retail market.
“It’s a big thing to match your undercap with your hijab. It’s hard because one is chiffon, and one is cotton. When we get them with the same colour, sometimes you can’t get that perfect match.
“I went back and forth with samples and fabrics and pushed myself to make sure everything was perfect before we launched in 2019.”
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Besides hard work, Zazz’s secret business formula relies on a key ingredient: investing in her customers.
“Make sure you’re interacting with them online and answering their questions – and don’t keep them waiting,” she says.
It’s also important to consider what customers need in your specific line of work. To minimise customer stress in high pressure situations, Zazz even sorts out payments in advance with her accounting software.
“It’s annoying to ask someone on a wedding day, ‘Send me your screenshot. Don’t forget.’
“It’s not something they want to be thinking about.”
But her last – and most important – tip for nurturing customers is one she applies to every aspect of her life.
“It’s important to treat others the way you’d like to be treated.
“Be consistent, present, honest, and kind.”