These stylish Saudi women entrepreneurs mean business

Updated 29 April 2013

These stylish Saudi women entrepreneurs mean business

Jeddawi fashionistas and beauty gurus recently attended a women-only event, in which three Saudi female entrepreneurs got a complete makeover that aims to make them look their best when doing the job. The occasion was to celebrate the Women Appreciation Month (WAM), which was initiated in 2011 by leading Saudi fashion brand Femi9.
The event was organized by, which was also celebrating its one million views on its website.
Saudi women entrepreneurs were asked to apply through the WAM website during March 1-15 to an awards contest called the “Growing Initiative Awards.” The awards is an activation fully dedicated to support women in the start-up phase of entrepreneurship. This concept revolves around taking proactive action toward ambitious women who are trying to effectively contribute to society.
The judging panel for the Growing Initiative Awards comprised Dr. Arwa Al-Aama, vice mayor of Jeddah Municipality; Eyad Mashat, CEO of Femi9; and Abdulla Al-Ghaddooni, member of Glowork. The three winning newly started initiatives will now receive funds, business consultation and professional makeover along with other key support.
The criteria for the applicants was to come up with a new and creative project, based and running in Saudi Arabia, lead and initiated by a woman and the business should be either static or at a growing phase. “The three women who won the prize went through a process of a makeover where they competed against each other with a businesswoman look. The point of this event was to help those women to look their best when doing the job,” said Youssra Elawi, head of marketing at Femi9. “We want to give them the chance to feel good inside out with a look that fits a woman with a busy schedule. The judges were fashion and beauty experts,” she added.
Each of the three entrepreneurs had the chance to pamper herself in the Jeddah-based Eve Salon. They were treated to a package that included a massage, hair color/cut and styling, facial and nails. To get the final look Femi9 provided them with stylish clothing, while some Jeddah-based designers sent over abayas to complete the look for each applicant.
The final round of the competition was held at a venue in Tujar Jeddah. The event was private, with only 30 women in attendance. All these women displayed a strong passion for fashion. They also enjoyed a photo booth by celebrated photographer Reem Bajabaa and a makeup booth where famous makeup artist Inas Hammoud offered makeup tips to the attendees. A lucky draw was held in which a few happy women took home beauty- and fashion-related gifts.
The Saudi businesswomen were judged by TV presenter Dina Ali Reda, fashion guru Marriam Mosalli, beauty expert and editor in chief of Jeddah Beauty Blog Nilo Haq, fashion designer Yossra Ifaoui, fashion photographer Reem Bajabaa and makeup expert Inas Hammoud. The winner of the best makeover category was Nahed Al-Hubail, who is the owner of Sky Touch, a creative gift-wrapping business.
Beauty expert Haq of the Jeddah Beauty Blog said this was a great opportunity for businesswomen to learn how to look beautiful, stylish yet professional throughout a typical busy day. “The winner deserved the title as she was genuine and showed great enthusiasm,” she said.
“Her look was actually something you would wear to work and to a meeting and it suits an entrepreneur,” Haq added.

Celebrity-loved brand By Far finds success in region amid pandemic

Updated 13 July 2020

Celebrity-loved brand By Far finds success in region amid pandemic

  • Bulgaria-based accessories label By Far has managed to remain unscathed from the ongoing pandemic
  • The accessories label has seen a surge in sales in the Middle East amid the health crisis

DUBAI: To say that the fashion industry has been negatively impacted by the coronavirus disease would be an understatement. But one brand that has managed to remain unscathed from the ongoing pandemic is Bulgaria-based accessories label By Far.

The A-list beloved brand, founded by twin sisters Sabina Gyosheva and Valentina Bezuhanova, alongside their best friend Denitsa Bumbarova in 2016, notes that it has actually seen a dramatic increase in sales in the Middle East during the crisis, exceeding pre-pandemic figures — in spite of all of the regulations put in place to slow the spread of the disease.

“Middle Eastern countries took harsh measures to control the outbreak, but it didn’t seem to weaken discretionary spending,” said the brand to Arab News, citing a massive rise in sales during April and May — the peak of the pandemic.

By Far was founded in 2016 by twin sisters Sabina Gyosheva and Valentina Bezuhanova, alongside their best friend Denitsa Bumbarova. Supplied

The brand credits the Muslim holidays of Ramadan and Eid for contributing to sales, revealing that the label’s “Tanya” shoes, as well as its “Mini” and “Miranda” bags, proved to be the best-sellers among their Arab clientele.

According to By Far, they witnessed a 400 percent increase in sales coming from the UAE and a whopping 800 percent increase in sales in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The figures are impressive, considering that retail sales plummeted worldwide, leading to closures of many fashion brands who failed to meet their targets.

The globally-recognized brand has been picked up by influential retailers like Ounass, Net-a-Porter, MyTheresa and Moda Operandi. Supplied

The reason for the success, its founders believe, is that the brand has never relied on physical spaces. Buying activity has largely moved online due to retail spaces closing, and By Far has always been a digital brand with a massive online community.

The globally-recognized brand is sold in influential retailers like Ounass, Net-a-Porter, MyTheresa and Moda Operandi in addition to its own e-commerce platform. Additionally, its Instagram account boasts a following of 371,000 users.

“In times like these, when we needed to support each other and stay connected more than ever, we really relied on our digital skills,”By Far told Arab News. “The situation definitely gave us a new perspective and we had the time to re-evaluate and re-structure some of our processes so that we can improve for the future.”

The Bulgaria-based accessories brand is extremely affordable and sustainable. Supplied

By Far even showcased its most recent Cruise 2020/2021 collection of shoes and bags via a virtual showroom. “We strongly believe that digital is a huge part of the future of fashion, and it is something that we will surely continue to develop,” the brand revealed.

At a time when sustainability and financial restraints are at the forefront of people’s minds, it also helps that By Far is extremely affordable and sustainable as far as luxury fashion goes. Every pair of shoes is priced between $200 and $600, and is created out of dead-stock fabrics (which helps keep the prices low) gathered from Italian factories.

“Sustainability has always been one of our top priorities in By Far. It has never been a question of whether we should do it or not. We have always tried to integrate sustainable practices as much as possible,” it said.

The brand has found fans in everyone from Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid to Beyonce and Selena Gomez. Supplied

The new collection includes playful pieces with colors custom-made in Tuscany. “We really had a very precise idea of what we want —cool lagoon blues, pomodoro red, grass green in combination with latte, khaki and matcha green hues to evoke calmness and a lightness of touch,” they explained. “We wanted to bring the collective spirit of optimism, joy and liberation with a euphoric palette.”

Chances are, you’ve already seen the chic new pieces on your favorite blogger or celebrity on Instagram. The brand’s designs have been sported by everyone from model Gigi Hadid to superstar Beyonce. As for who they would love to see wearing their creations next? “It would be a dream to see Queen Rania  (of Jordan) in By Far,” said the trio.

Perhaps she is one of the “fabulous Arab women” who inspired the brand’s forthcoming new collection, which is being specifically designed for this region.