Meet Saudah Saleem, the interior designer making a name for herself on Instagram

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Saudah Saleem is known for her sense of style when it comes to clothing and interiors. (Supplied)
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Saudah Saleem is known for her sense of style when it comes to clothing and interiors. (Supplied)
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Saudah Saleem is known for her sense of style when it comes to clothing and interiors. (Supplied)
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Saudah Saleem is known for her sense of style when it comes to clothing and interiors. (Supplied)
Updated 13 August 2019

Meet Saudah Saleem, the interior designer making a name for herself on Instagram

  • The African American is known for her fashion, styling and curated spaces
  • She is one of a few visibly Muslim designers in the US industry

LONDON: Saudah Saleem, the founder of her own award-winning interior design firm, is not your average entrepreneur. 

“I am an African American Muslim,” said the woman behind Saudah Saleem Interiors, who wears a hijab without compromising elegance and freshness. 

“I have always felt that being stylish and maintaining a Muslim identity are not mutually exclusive,” she explained. “There are few visible Muslims in the interior design industry in the US. As such, my hijab style has become sort of my calling card,” she stated.

She sometimes refers to her hijab style as “fashion meets faith.” What is equally interesting is Saleem's personal style.

“I am well known for my eye for fashion and styling and enjoy creating beautiful curated, vibrant spaces tailored to exceed my clients’ expectations and unique lifestyle needs. I love using pattern, texture, vivid color, and a mix of elegant and eclectic design elements to create an aesthetic that is both sophisticated yet approachable.” 

Typically, she dresses in layers with statement pieces like a bold-printed hijab or a vintage Chanel handbag. Saleem uses a classic piece combined with eclectic elements to create a sophisticated yet practical look.

“Dressing modestly in a society and culture that emphasizes the concept of ‘less is more' does require a bit of ingenuity,” she said.

She said that the fashion industry caters more now for modest clothing because of demand, but not necessarily and “specifically for Muslims.”

Her design career began when she was a newlywed designing her first apartment. “I became acutely aware of my ability to make impactful changes in my space and loved it,” she recalled.

It was then that Saleem realized she wanted to become an interior designer and is now aiming to expand her services globally.

The ingredients to her success, she said, are faith, resourcefulness, perseverance and courage. Influenced by her love of art, history and world culture, she is inspired by the Muslim women in her community who maintained their unique heritage during a time in the US when Islam was still seen as quite foreign. 

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I love that my clients weren’t afraid of mixing prints, colors or materials to achieve a fresh look for their living space. . . One of my favorite pieces in this modern family living space is this contemporary glass and wood end table. I love the mix of materials! It allows for a blending of styles, provides great storage and makes for a pretty cool conversation piece. . #realestate

A post shared by Designer Fashionista BossMom (@saudahsaleeminteriors) on

Saleem has had to overcome some challenges as a mother of five and business owner. “It is important to me to ensure that I am spending time with family as well as cultivating and maintaining client relationships,” she explained.

As for her advice for those seeking to become entrepreneurs, Saleem offered this: “Firmly ground yourself in your beliefs, invest in your passion and persevere.” 


Startup of the Week: Saudi baker and chef winning hearts of food lovers

Photo supplied
Updated 26 min 39 sec ago

Startup of the Week: Saudi baker and chef winning hearts of food lovers

  • Working over 15 hours a day and being self-taught was just the start; Essam is the interior and graphic designer, the marketer, the CEO and the chef at White Mountain

A Saudi bakery and restaurant business specializing in pastries is finding its way into Saudi hearts with a delectable selection of fine Italian, French, and Swiss foods.
Ahmad Essam, 28, a self-taught baker and chef, left a productive family business to create what is now one of the most prestigious bakeries in Alkhobar.
Essam set up his bakery and restaurant while working as a production engineer, selling tarts and cakes to his friends.
He was overwhelmed by the encouragement he received, and little by little Essam, his dream of running his own company emerged.
Working over 15 hours a day and being self-taught was just the start; Essam is the interior and graphic designer, the marketer, the CEO and the chef at White Mountain.
Baking French pastries such as croissants, macarons, mille-feuille, eclairs and tarts require a true artisan. Essam described the glory he feels when he bakes, saying: “Dealing with precise tips to get the real essence of French pastries and reaching a level to bake without recipes is a matter of experience and good knowledge. Being a real baker requires a lot of learning as it’s not only about mixing water and flour; its trick lies behind the process of fermentation that sometimes lasts for days.’’
Every once in a while, the young man distributes membership books to loyal customers. “On Valentine’s Day, we distributed 3,000 roses,” he added.
Essam is very passionate, and dreams of opening a cooking academy in Saudi Arabia so he can inspire other amateur bakers; he told Arab News about his future 12,000-square-meters cooking village project that he is aiming to create in Riyadh, “including a library that collects all cookbooks, a seasonal spice shop, a great lake garden, a pizzeria, glossary shop and more, all of which falls under one theme: Cooking.”
For him, business is an obsession and profession. “Chefs have their egos. They are dealing with a tricky job and they know what they are doing exactly. They do not accept comments or advice from other chefs,” he explained.
You can follow him for more information on White Mountain on Instagram: @wm.bakery.