TheFace: Muzon Ashgar is the founder and CEO of MZN Bodycare

Muzon Ashgar. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 09 November 2018
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TheFace: Muzon Ashgar is the founder and CEO of MZN Bodycare

  • She now works to help other entrepreneurs achieve their career goals, as a member of the Chamber of Commerce board for Youth Women Entrepreneurs

Muzon Ashgar is the founder and CEO of MZN Bodycare, the first Saudi handmade skin care brand.
When she was growing up in a family that appreciated arts and crafts, her mother, an art teacher, instilled in her a love of handmade products. Ashgar fondly remembers completing craft projects with her mother for school assignments, to create home accessories and for family events.
After leaving school, she attended the College of Architecture and Planning at King Faisal University, from where she graduated top of her class with a degree in interior architecture. She then began working in the college as a teaching assistant.
After getting married in 2008, Ashgar traveled to the UK with her husband where she undertook a master’s degree in design with learning and teaching in higher education. She returned to Saudi Arabia and went back to work at the college, this time as a lecturer.
A social event changed the course of her life. After inviting friends to a spa party, Ashgar decided to make them gifts that matched the theme. After doing some research online, she decided to create some DIY skin care products. She began to search for the raw materials and packaging with a degree of interest and detail that she could not explain at the time. Because she is a designer, she also created an “MZN” logo for the gifts and designed labels. The party was a hit, and her friends were so happy with their gifts that they asked for more.
When she heard about new family bazaar events, where artisans can sell their handmade items, she decided to have a go at selling the skin care products she had created with her newfound hobby. Her stock sold out at her first bazaar, and when on her second attempt she again sold everything, she knew that this was something she wanted to explore further to see where it could lead.
Ashgar ran her fledgling brand from home, taking over the family kitchen, which was filled with different kinds of butter, essential oils and empty containers. She signed up for skin-care formulation and soap-making courses, while continuing to sell her products at bazaars and markets until she received several offers from local pharmacies, boutiques and online stores to sell them.
None of this came easy; there was lots of hard work and long hours to prepare the products, design labels and to stand and sell her products at the bazaars. But being a working mother — Ashgar has two children, Lara, 7, and Muhammad, 5 — is not easy, and when you add even a small project on the side it can become almost impossible at times. As a result, she put MZN on hold for a few months but after talking to her family about life choices, it was clear where her passion lay.
Ashgar returned to working on MZN, which now has a licensed factory and its products are available in pharmacies nationwide. For her success, she first thanks Allah and then the support of her husband and family. She now works to help other entrepreneurs achieve their career goals, as a member of the Chamber of Commerce board for Youth Women Entrepreneurs.


Misk Global Forum: UAE Higher Education Minister aces ‘job interview’

Updated 26 min 14 sec ago
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Misk Global Forum: UAE Higher Education Minister aces ‘job interview’

  • ‘You need a core major. Academic background is still important’

RIYADH: The opening session on the second day of the Misk Global Forum began with a brain teaser – how many golf balls can you fit in a school bus? – as part of a job interview, but not just with any applicant.

Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al-Falasi, the UAE’s Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, talked about higher learning and his career in the format of a job interview, conducted by moderator Razan Alayed, an advisor to the Education and Human Resources Council in the UAE.

Al-Falasi said he was surprised that even though he went to very good schools and had a PhD in engineering, he got rejected when applying to many companies because they said he was overqualified. He realized he was underqualified in consulting, so he started to work on that. His learning? “People appreciated the skills I had, not my education.”  

Still, Al-Falasi said it’s important to have a specialization in higher education. “You need a core major. Academic background is still important.”  

To be successful, he said a person needs to be confident and passionate, and that it’s important to have skills of negotiation and articulation.

“I’m not the smartest person,” he said, rather modestly. “If I have to pick one skill, it will be my capacity to adapt.”

Al-Falasi said technology is helping education evolve: “Today with technology, you can have access to the best classes in the world. Data is also important, many say. A lot of technology is built on understanding.”  

At the end of his interview, when Al-Falasi was asked about his salary expectation. Without pause, he said if it’s for a job at Misk, the figure doesn’t matter.

“We all feel very passionate and positive today, especially with what’s happening in Misk,” he said. “All eyes are on Saudi Arabia today.”