Make the most of International Women’s Day, and make a mark by supporting a female entrepreneur’s dream. “It’s now more important than ever to support female-founded businesses,” says VOGUE Arabia’s Beauty Editor, Michaela Somerville. “Running a small or start-up business takes a lot of determination, energy, and perseverance, especially in the highly competitive beauty and lifestyle spaces. While Arab women benefit from the love and support of their communities, it’s still tough to breakthrough in a market dominated by Western brands. I encourage those looking to try a new skincare range, pair of leggings, or even a bakery, to reach out to female-run businesses, where your support means everything to an entrepreneur.
Whether looking for a sweet treat, niche new fragrances, or comfortable gym kit, these founders are following their visions for success.
Born in the UAE, this all-natural skin and personal care brand was founded by three Emirati friends, including Lina F. Yousef and Sarah F. Yousef. Made with native extracts, the eco-friendly range is designed to nourish and heal where needed, using the best of local ingredients.
Elaf Patel’s bite-sized babycakes, with the eye-catching miniature cupcakes coming in a range of classic and contemporary flavors named for pop culture icons – try the locally-inspired Date Moss. The Dubai-based entrepreneur has since expanded into full-sized cakes, with her surprise-filled gender reveal and celebration cakes standing out on Instagram feeds.
After making her name as an in-demand makeup artist, Natasha Zaki has branched out into cozy lifestyle fashion with Glossy Lounge. Go from the gym to breakfast with friends in eco-friendly leggings, sweats, and shorts made from GOTS-certified organic cotton and breathable bamboo.
Inspired by the natural beauty and vibrant culture of her Oman, Sheikha Hind Bahwan’s fragrance house, Ojar, celebrates specific ingredients from the country – highlighting frankincense, honey, musk, oud, rose, and sandalwood. The latest launch, a hydrating body oil mist, infused with prickly pear oil and cactus water to leave the skin beautifully scented all-over.
Created by sisters Nidhi and Rashi Sethi, Skin Story specializes in clever multi-tasking makeup, with their multisticks headlining the range. Cruelty-free, non-toxic, and vegan, they add a swipe of natural color to skin, lips, and eyes, and are ideal for sensitive skin types.
Based on a concept called ‘warm science’, Whind is a luxury skincare brand which combines Morocco’s centuries of traditional skincare know-how with scientifically proven actives. Founder Hind Sebti has incorporated her Moroccan heritage to create a range which nurtures skin while resolving issues like dullness and uneven texture.
Mina Al Sheikhly
Named for its interior designer-turned-beauty entrepreneur founder, this makeup brand launched with two buildable mascara formulas in early 2021. Now the Iraqi Al Sheikhly has expanded further, with four total mascaras formulas available to curate the lash you want.
The first CBD brand to be introduced within the Middle East, Juana Skin was founded by namesake Juana Martini, and her son. With a holistic approach, the inclusive range offers a one-two punch of anti-aging benefits plus ache and pain relief due to the CBD potency.
Founded by former Amazon exec Anisha Oberoi, Secret Skin is an online platform specializing in sustainable beauty, with a special focus on niche brands making an impact. With the mantra ‘people, planet, and purpose’, Oberoi now stocks brands including Ilia, Grown Alchemist, and Lola Lee.