Start-up of the Week: MZN founder proves teaching and running a business can coexist

Updated 19 September 2018

Start-up of the Week: MZN founder proves teaching and running a business can coexist

  • The transition from a house business to a workshop helped me take the business more seriously and helped us to find better opportunities
  • The greatest challenge for Ashgar was time management between her job, home, and the business

DHAHRAN: “Seize any opportunity. Also, learn how to prioritize your time; we can achieve so much during the day if we manage our time well. And don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.”
That is the advice of Muzon Ashgar, founder of MZN body care. MZN is a natural skincare product handmade in Saudi Arabia. The founder of MZN said that the high-quality products are available at affordable prices.
Ashgar said when designing any of her products, the MZN brand keeps in mind the Saudi user, what they need, what do they like and what they are looking for in a product.
She said that her business came about by chance.
“I wasn’t planning on changing my profession at all. I invited my friends to a spa-themed party at my house and I made small giveaways to go with the party theme. I made scrubs, lip balm, hand lotion and such for them to take home; all created from scratch in my kitchen. But being a designer, I had to label them so, with the help of my friends, came up with the name of the ‘brand’ and designed labels for the products. They loved the products and some of them asked for more. At that time the trend of ‘outdoor family events’ had just started so they convinced me to participate as a brand,” Ashgar said.
Ashgar, who is also a lecturer at Imam bin Abdulrahman University teaching photography and graphics design, said the products sold out the first and second day, making her think that there was a chance of starting a full-fledged business.
“So, I started looking into the possibility of starting a business. At that time, I was still a lecturer in college and running a business so I didn’t change professions. I just added one.
“After one year of running the business from home, I rented a workshop space in the Prince Sultan Fund for Women incubators in the industrial city, and started to get the proper licenses and permits for the brand. We now have the manufacturing and the Saudi Food and Drug Authority licenses.
“I’m still a lecturer and run the business at the same time. I have staff that helps me run both the administration and customer service and the manufacturing,” Ashgar said.
Two years ago, Ashgar traveled to London to take courses to hone her craft. She enrolled in a soap boot camp course in April of 2016. She also attended courses in cold-process soap-making liquid- and cream-soap making, cosmetics regulations, labeling and compliance. She also gained a diploma from the School of Natural Skincare in June 2016.
She said she also took courses in business. “The transition from a house business to a workshop helped me take the business more seriously and helped us to find better opportunities for sales and distribution,” she said.
With some time management, I was able to give both jobs or “careers” the attention they needed.
“With the help of my husband, Basil, and a good family friend, Feras, who runs his own family business, I was able to figure out a lot of the ins and outs of running a business,” Ashgar said.
“We also faced challenges from sourcing the raw materials, the cost of equipment and rent, to developing new products,” she said.
The MZN brand launched in March 2015, and the greatest challenge for Ashgar was time management between her job, home, and the business. She said that it created a lot of issues at the beginning but now she is more in control.


Diplomatic Quarter: Envoys extend Eid greetings to Saudis

Updated 28 May 2020

Diplomatic Quarter: Envoys extend Eid greetings to Saudis

RIYADH: Foreign ambassadors to Saudi Arabia have been passing on their Eid Al-Fitr greetings to the government and people of the Kingdom.

The US Mission in the Kingdom, tweeted: “The US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Abizaid on behalf of all Americans living and working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia greeted saying, I would like to take this opportunity to wish Eid Mubarak to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and all our Saudi friends and colleagues as you celebrate this special holiday.

“May your Eid be joyous, even in this challenging time as we work together to fight (the) coronavirus (disease) COVID-19.”

In a tweet, the Australian ambassador in Riyadh, Ridwaan Jadwat, said: “Wishing everyone celebrating the end of Ramadan a joyous Eid Al-Fitr on behalf of my family and our embassy team: #EidMubarak!”

Posting a video message to the Saudi people, he added: “May I say on behalf of my family and the team here at the Australian Embassy in Riyadh, I hope that you have a safe, happy and blessed Eid Al-Fitr.”

Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, said: “May you all be blessed with #Peace, #Joy and #Love on #EidUlFitr and always! #EidMubarak to you and your families.”

Eid Al-Fitr celebrations this year have been curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The holy month of Ramadan and the festival of Eid in 2020 will be remembered as a time when traditions had to be broken to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

In a message addressing Saudis, the Pakistani community in the Kingdom, and Muslims around the world, Pakistan’s consul general in Jeddah, Khalid Majid, said: “This year, we are celebrating Eid in a very simple and somber manner. Undoubtedly, the world is passing through one of the most difficult times due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, which has badly affected our socio-economic life.”

He added that many people had already lost their lives to the disease while large numbers were still battling with it.

“Besides, the death of around 100 of our Pakistani brethren in a recent PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) plane crash at Karachi has also left us sad and gloomy. My sincere prayers are with all those who lost their lives and also with their bereaved families. At the same time, I also sincerely pray for the good health and speedy recovery of all the COVID-19 patients.

“My deep appreciation and prayers for continued success also goes to all our frontline soldiers including doctors, paramedics, law enforcement agencies and all other involved departments, who are fighting against this deadly virus, at the risk of their own lives.

“I take this opportunity to convey my deepest gratitude to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for taking very effective measures against the COVID-19 pandemic. Provision of best health facilities and efficient other services across the Kingdom are instrumental in effectively tackling the situation. It is evident from these steps that the recovery rate in the Kingdom is one of the highest in the world,” Majid said.

“I advise all Pakistanis living in Saudi Arabia to continue abiding by all local health and safety instructions, including those relating to social distancing, so that we can all be safe and play our part in strengthening the efforts of the Saudi government in defeating this pandemic.”