Fustany is one of the largest fashion and lifestyle publications today, and founder Amira Azzouz had some inspiring knowledge to impart to our readers. Keep reading to find out how Amira so successfully built her own business empire.
At first glance, Fustany might not seem like much more than a fashion and lifestyle portal, but the mission behind it is much bigger than just that. Amira explains to us that “when women give themselves the needed time, attention and care, it will reflect positively on everything they do. In other words, when you look good you’ll feel great-and I don’t mean that in a shallow way whatsoever”. Fustany’s mission is to empower women to live a life that is full of creativity, through the little things. Fashion and beauty have been used as a form of self-expression for decades, and they are far from having to be shallow.
Amira started Fustany when she was still in college, in 2009. While working on her graduation project, (which had nothing to do with fashion) she remembers sitting in the lab working on a control system for elevators, and putting everything together to launch Fustany on the side or during breaks. Azzouz demonstrated that passion cannot be stopped and that the right time does not always come; you have to make the time to pursue what you really love.
Working hard and playing even harder are the things that keeps Amira going and full of energy to give even more to work and perform to the best of her abilities. “Also, surrounding myself with my amazing family and friends is the main source of motivation and positivity anyone could ever wish for”, Amira tells us.
With a successful business comes some inevitable challenges. However, Amira doesn’t see any specific challenges or drawbacks to opening a business as a women entrepreneur in Egypt. “The challenges I face are similar to what a young company would face in Turkey. It mostly comes down to scaling and market penetration, in addition to staying ahead of the game”, she confides.
Although Fustany is doing brilliantly at the moment, Amira has not had enough just yet. “Our vision for Fustany is to build a legacy, we’re planning to go beyond content and build a fully fledged platform where Arab women feel like it’s their very own support system; a place where they can head to for advice or entertainment, where they can get inspired, speak to like-minded women, interact, shop and for Fustany to become a world-wide recognized digital brand.”
We were surprised to see that Amira cherishes the simple, everyday positive success moments more so than the big milestones. A positive reader comment, ticking off everything on her to-do list, and finding a great way to tackle an internal problem are all little things that motivate her to keep working harder everyday. She says that, “because starting and maintaining a business is challenging, I can’t really hang on to one favorite moment. I have to make lots of everyday moments as special as possible”.
We know that it is not always rainbows and butterflies when it comes to business, so we asked Amira about any mistakes she had to overcome along her work journey. “There are constant ups and downs when it comes to running a business, but one of the mistakes I previously made was being too stubborn to see things from other perspectives than my own. When at some point I hit a wall, I had to look for an alternative, aka a plan B. Now, I’m much more flexible to hear what other people have to say. Being flexible and making changes when things don’t go as planned is very important and something that I only learnt with practice”, Amira tells us.
Now, away from business and moving on to Amira’s area of expertise, we asked Amira what her fashion trend projections were for the upcoming period. “Some of the main fashion trends for the spring and summer of 2016 include stripes, sparkly sequins, bomber jackets, romantic style inspired garments (think ruffles, delicate details and light colors), florals all the way (be it regular or digital prints and embroidery), off-the-shoulder tops and dresses, the color pink and dyed garments. My favorites from the above would be sparkly sequins, florals and bomber jackets. One trend that’s going to be big this year, yet I dislike it a lot, are bedroom inspired garments!”
Of course we were also eager to know about Amira’s healthy habits. We were happy to see that alongside her successful business she set time aside to focus on her health. “I do yoga at least three times a week, I read as often as I can, and I take coconut oil and honey on a daily basis”. Moving on, Amira told us that she wants to “sleep earlier, stick to strict working hours and make a conscious effort to eat well while at work, in addition to drinking enough water”. We hear you!
To finish off our inspiring interview, we asked Amira to give us one motto which she lives by:
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do” – Rob Siltanen.