As Arabs, it’s not every day that we see ourselves represented in the media and when we do, a lot of the time, it’s not shown in a positive light. Behind the scenes, we’re growing, building, learning and helping each other grow whether it’s in fashion, beauty, tech or any other industry. We’re entrepreneurs, brand managers, stylists, event planners, artists, beauty moguls and everything in between. There are so many Arab women-owned businesses around us and it’s time we recognize and empower each other.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, I thought it was only appropriate to spotlight some amazing female powerhouses. The list is in no particular order and it definitely doesn’t include everyone (not even close), so I’ll keep adding to it as I go along. I hope you take the time to look through these Arab women-owned businesses and see how you can support them, especially during this time. Happy reading + shopping!
I learned about The Silk Labs, a silk goods company, and its founder, Jenna Labiak, recently on none other than Clubhouse and I love everything about what the brand stands for. You may have come across The Silk Labs on blogTO, Flare, The Kit and Vogue Italia or seen their signature silk scrunchies all over Instagram, but Jenna takes the most pride in the quality of her products. If you’re nostalgic for the 90’s, look no further for some beautiful silk scrunchies, headbands, claw clips, hair oils and even pillowcases. P.s. all their silk items are sewn ethically in Toronto so what’s not to love?
1day beauty’s IG is all of my dewy and glowy goals in one page. As a beauty brand that celebrates diversity, inclusion and representation, 1day beauty’s products shine bright on every skin tone and complexion. Led by Corinne Haddad, the brand is not only inclusive, clean and cruelty free but they’re also community-driven. She’s passionate about representing underserved demographics in beauty and it shows. If you’re looking for a quick but beautiful fix, check out their 3-in-1 tint for the eyes, lips and cheeks – and don’t forget to take a look at their skin dew and lip dew while you’re at it. Also, 1day beauty is giving away a free lip dew on all orders over $70 in honour of International Women’s Day. So, what are you waiting for?
Introducing one of my favourite Arab women-owned businesses: Top Dough – the cookie dough brand that I can’t get enough of. If you’ve ever craved eating your cake batter but knew better not to, Hana and Farrah Ela of Top Dough created a safe alternative to your cookie dough cravings. The twin duo’s products have been seen in the workplaces of Adidas, Nike, Shopify, Hershey’s and YouTube to name a few, so you know the buzz is real. Their current product selection includes a 2-pack offer of flavours including birthday cake, chocolate chip and cookies & cream. Brb while I go snag a few more!
Craving some cake? Hadil’s Cakehouse got you. Whether you’re looking for custom cakes or treats like cakesicles (yes, that’s a thing – get on it), breakable hearts or hot chocolate bombs, Hadil’s creations are not to be slept on. Also, make sure to check out Hadil’s BTS time lapses, they’re so satisfying and fun to watch – and slightly addictive (don’t say I didn’t warn you).
We all know that haircare is different for everyone so why not go to a specialist who can elevate your hair in every way possible? HairbyReema is your one-stop shop for all things hair, who also stocks some of my favourite Aveda products that have completely transformed my hair over the past year. The salon founder, Reema Jaber knows what she’s doing when it comes to hair. As a professional hairstylist & colourist, Reema, along with her team of world-class stylists, bring your hair to life in whichever way you envision it to be. You’ll leave their beautiful hair salon not only looking good but feeling refreshed and confident as well.
Sometimes home is not a place, it’s a feeling. And Nadia Rassoul, founder of Noomi, is bringing that feeling to you through her lifestyle brand that showcases the beauty of Middle Eastern culture. More than the products she offers, Noomi stands for a meaningful message – to empower each other, stand together and maintain peace. You can find a variety of products on Noomi from Arabic calligraphy shirts and sweaters to punny beanies and cute pins. Happy shopping!
If you’re looking for some fire lash sets, book @lashlabprofessional for your next visit. Here’s the kick though – Lash Lab Professional, founded by Lulu Lange, isn’t only a lash studio. They also offer facial analysis to provide a custom lash set for every customer along with special products like their signature Lash Adhesive and the Dopamine Tweezer. Lulu’s background in biotechnology means that innovation is top of mind for her as she’s always improving and refining her products and services, so you know that you (and your lashes) are in the right hands.
Mejuri’s fine jewelry has stolen the hearts of women and men all over the world. But what makes me feel the proudest is knowing that an Arab woman is behind it all. Noura Sakkijha’s story of how she modernized an age-old industry for women, from finding the brand 6 years ago to raising $23 million while seven months pregnant in 2019, is inspiring to say the least. I’ve picked up a few Mejuri pieces over the past few years and I love all of them. Mejuri’s pieces are timeless yet modern and luxe, and with a new collection drop every Monday, there’s something for everyone.
Settling in a new country as an immigrant comes with its set of challenges and Scale Without Borders is a non-for profir organization making it easier for newcomers to build their businesses through their programs and community in Canada. Scale Without Borders, founded by Nouhaila Chelkhaoui, is a social venture dedicated to supporting newcomers in tech and entrepreneurship. If you are a newcomer or know one, consider signing up for SWB’s programs as they continue to host virtual masterclasses and event series during this time. Even their IG is empowering as they share different stories of tech trailblazers and entrepreneurs. If you find yourself listening to founder stories, reading Elon Musk’s book or lurking Jeff Bezos biography, I know you’ll enjoy Scale without Border’s content.
Bringing Islamic geometry to life? Yes please. Naqsha Designs offers hand-painted designs that add meaning and sophistication to everyday items. One of my favourite things about Naqsha Designs, founded by Yasmine Youssef, is that your purchase makes a difference. You’re not only buying beautiful art but a percentage of the proceeds of each purchase will go towards art therapy programs for men, women and children in shelters and refugee camps. How beautiful is that? That includes their phone cases, stationery, accessories and home decor – the options are endless. Grab yourself an item or two from Naqsha Designs today and thank me later.
Now more than ever, it’s so important to shop and support local. I read a quote that said “when you’re supporting a small business, you’re supporting a dream” and that couldn’t be farther from the truth. As a small business owner myself, I know what it’s like to give your business everything you’ve got and then some. As Arabs, we might be dispersed across the globe but what I know for sure is that we come together in times of need. Let’s utilize the power of our community for good and keep these Arab women-owned businesses afloat and successful during this time.
By Hiba Traboulsi